We aim to develop and produce creative and innovative research as a core activity at Bath Spa University.
As today’s media industries become steadily transformed by social movements like #MeToo – with public debate and policy increasingly recognising interrelationships between issues of gender, the environment, and the media – it is crucial that film and media play a significant role in rethinking the media as a force for change.
The Centre for Media Research instils precisely this thinking in its approach to research excellence and innovation. Based in the Bath School of Art, Film and Media and Bath School of Design and comprising staff from its subject areas of Film, Media and Computing and Digital Creativity, the Centre puts film, media and computing at the heart of social, community and environmental dynamics that affect daily life. Its core membership brings together media artists and researchers, filmmakers, game and app developers, and well as researchers from Sociology, Theatre and Heritage.
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 unit’s research strategy until 2030 focuses around the development of excellence and innovation in socially engaged media research. We aim to creatively rethink what film, media and computing can achieve in diverse communities, driving forward innovative approaches to collaboration across theory and practice, public engagement, and community/industry 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.
The Digital Ecologies cluster, led by Dr Charlie Tweed, develops practice-based research interrogating the environmental and social conditions of contemporary digital culture. The cluster explores the connection between the physical and the virtual using experimental arts practices and creative technologies. Explore the Digital Ecologies symposia series, a biennial symposium exploring relationships between contemporary digital technologies and human life.
The Film and Social Context cluster, led by Dr Ruth Farrar, aims to creatively examine contemporary transnational questions of gender, community and culture. Seeking to unearth the sorts of representations that go beyond the reach of the mass media, such as research into small nation cinemas and diversity in the global film industry, researchers in this cluster also explore the shifting relationships between such representations and filmmaking, translating social content via documentary and environmental film. Read about the cluster’s multimedia (In)fertility and the Media project in In Media Res.
The Play and Multiplatform cluster, led by Dr Matthew Freeman, concentrates on the development of innovative, community-targeted multiplatform and game-centric media strategies. This cluster explores the creative and technological opportunities arising from participatory and playable convergences between multiplatform storytelling and gameplay interfaces, between social media channels, story apps and mobile media, for example in multimedia histories. Watch the cluster’s Prof James Newman presenting on issues of videogame preservation at Stanford University.
In order to facilitate our research activity, the Centre runs a highly innovative three-stage ‘research production process’ for driving forward collaborative projects that encompass socially engaged collaboration across theory and practice, public engagement, and impact.
- The first stage in the strategy is Thinking Out Loud, our work-in-progress seminar series (led by Dr Jamie Steele), where researchers pitch ideas for and gain feedback on new research projects.
- The second stage is We Make Stuff, our Centre-led public engagement event series (led by Public Engagement Champion, Claire Levy), where up to 50 people from the local creative sector are invited to engage and collaborate with our research.
- The third and final stage is Let’s Make Stuff, our-Centre led hackathon series (led by Centre co-directors, Dr Matthew Freeman and Dr Charlie Tweed), which sees staff and students working with a creative industry partner to prototype research-led media content.
An example of this Centre-led activity includes our partnership with Bathscape, a Heritage Lottery-funded organisation who attended an earlier We Make Stuff event about new ways of using multiplatform media to narrate stories of place and community. Staff and students then came together for a two-day Let’s Make Stuff hackathon at Bath City Farm in 2019 to prototype research-informed film, 360-degree video and social media content, all of which was published on the Bathscape website.