We aim to develop and produce creative and innovative research as a core activity within Bath Spa's School of Creative Industries
The Centre for Media Research is one of Bath Spa University’s School-level centres of research excellence. It develops creative and innovative research as a core activity within the School of Creative Industries. This involves supporting the development of early career researchers, sustaining existing researchers, nurturing academics with media and creative industry backgrounds to build upon their professional practice to become active researchers, as well as enabling public engagement and industry/community impact.
The Centre brings together filmmakers, app developers, media artists and researchers, sociologists and multi-platform publishers around interdisciplinary projects that showcase multi-perspectival research across Film, Media, Creative Computing and Publishing.
Promote collaborative, multi-perspectival and interdisciplinary research between scholarly academics and practice-based researchers.
Develop excellence in research-led digital media practice, specifically by bringing practitioners and scholarly researchers together in meaningful collaborations and partnerships.
Foster connections with the media industries and with other universities with a view to developing the profile and activities of our research centre as an instrument of socially engaged collaboration across theory and practice, public engagement, and related industry/community impact.
Attract external research funding by consolidating collaborative, multi-perspectival and interdisciplinary interests around themes related to digital materialities, film and social context, and play and multiplatform.
Contribute to the training of postgraduate students by fostering cross-disciplinary and creative practice-led supervisory teams across the wider University.
The Centre's strengths are across scholarly and creative practice, encompassing our established strengths in media studies, videogame preservation, gender and representation, and metal music cultures, with world-leading research in newer fields such as transmedia studies, small nation cinemas, and media art practices.
We have emerging expertise in practice-based research, in particular work that spans artistic and experimental categories, such as participatory, research-driven video production, innovative audience research through walking practices, multimedia installations, and the use of film festivals as public engagement.
"Our mission is to be a leading centre for excellence and innovation in research-led digital media practice, bringing together scholarly academics and practice-based researchers in ways that push forward new approaches to socially engaged collaboration across theory and practice, public engagement, and related industry/community impact."
The Centre operates around three distinct research clusters, each of which serve as smaller collaborative hubs whose objectives are defined and overseen by different members.
Led by Charlie Tweed, the Centre’s Digital Materialities research cluster has a particular focus on developing interdisciplinary practice-based research that interrogates the environmental, social and historical conditions of contemporary digital culture using new and emerging creative approaches.
Researchers share an interest in exploring the increasingly blurred line between the digital and physical world, and utilising technologies to transform physical and digital environments and communities.
The cluster is also interested in exploring the connection between the physical and the virtual using experimental arts practices, locative technologies, interactive documentary and new modes of storytelling in order to uncover technological and cultural histories.
Film and social context
Led by Dr Ruth Farrar, the Centre’s Film and Social Context research cluster aims to uncover and to critically interrogate a range of social and political issues and debates that permeate across our everyday social world.
Seeking to shine a light on contemporary transnational questions of gender, community and culture, the cluster uses film as its primary method for research.
As well as seeking to unearth the sorts of representations, ideologies and perspectives that go beyond the reach of the mass media, such as work on small national cinemas and issues of diversity in the media, researchers are also interested in the relationships between such representations and the art of filmmaking, translating social content via the lens of drama, documentary, environmental film and other forms of independent media practice.
Play and multiplatform
Led by Dr Matthew Freeman, the Centre’s Play and Multiplatform research cluster works closely with the creative industries and has a particular focus on developing innovative multiplatform and game-centric content strategies.
The cluster is interested in the creative, cultural and commercial opportunities arising from participatory, playable and audience-focused convergences between multiplatform storytelling and gameplay interfaces, between emerging immersive technologies and mobile media, and between social media and story apps, for example in experimental transmedia and games for social change.
Projects and process
While the Digital Materialities cluster interrogates the historical, environmental and social relationships with digital cultures, the Film and Social Context cluster explores political implications of trans-national societies and film practices. Meanwhile, the Play and Multiplatform cluster seeks to forge new creative content opportunities based on the participatory and playable convergences between platforms and industries.
Each of the Centre's three clusters provide a mechanism for initiating multi-perspectival, collaborative projects. This is achieved through the following methods:
- Thinking Out Loud research series, our cluster-led work-in-progress seminars where researchers pitch ideas for and gain feedback on new research projects. From there, we make use of an innovative ‘research-led production process’ for driving projects forward through collaboration across theory and practice, public engagement, and related industry/community impact.
- We Make Stuff, our Centre-led public engagement series, where the local creative sector and community engage and collaborate with our multi-perspectival research.
- Let’s Make Stuff, our-Centre led hackathon series, sees staff and students working alongside creative industry partners to prototype research-led digital media content. We recently partnered with Bathscape Bathscape to prototyped a research-led film, 360-degree video and social media content, all of which was published on the Bathscape and Bath City Council websites.