Research in the Centre for Cultural Studies


Goldsmiths’ Centre for Cultural Studies is a postgraduate teaching and research centre. A great deal of our research is in writing substantial works in cultural theory.

Research in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths

Recently published books include Luciana Parisi’s Contagious Architecture (MIT Press 2013), Matthew Fuller’s co-authored Evil Media (MIT Press 2012), and Scott Lash’s co-authored China Constructing Capitalism (Routledge 2013). Bernard Stiegler, probably the world’s leading media philosopher with some 20 books to his credit, was a part-time professor at the CCS for a half decade.

The work of Julia Ng, who joined our staff after completing a post-doc at Harvard, combines archival and philosophical sources on the relation of mathematics, literature and political philosophy, particularly in the work of Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem, and more broadly in Continental philosophy (in journals such as MLN (Modern Language Notes) and Philosophy and Rhetoric). Cultural Theory is thus a key focus of the centre and like all our research feeds directly into teaching.

We are engaged in practice and design-based research; for example the work of Graham Harwood, whose politically-infused conceptual and media art is commissioned by Tate and collected by Centre Pompidou amongst others, exemplifies art as a form of enquiry. We develop research with computer scientists, statisticians, architects, artists, global NGOs and urban planners.

We see research not just as analysis but as making. We see it, at the same time, as a political intervention in an expanded mode of action research. Our research “outcomes” are texts, technological art, novels, software, architecture/planning interventions, historical and literary texts, contributions to zine cultures, blogs and online forms, as well as books. We work in the areas of postcolonial study, philosophy, software studies, critical theory, subaltern studies, new media, technology and creativity.

The Centre for Cultural Studies has a focused research specialism in emerging global geo-politics as evidenced by Scott Lash’s research on China.

We host the Digital Culture Unit, which brings together researchers at the Centre who have a special expertise in digital culture in the broadest sense. Here the focus of our research is using empirical, inventive and speculative methods to take part in and understand the changes computing is making to all forms of life. We have one of the highest concentrations of internationally-reputed scholars in the digital culture field in the UK making it ideal for both Masters and Doctoral students aiming to work in a research intensive environment. 

CCS also co-hosts the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought (CPCT), jointly governed with Sociology and co-directed by Julia Ng (CCS) and Alberto Toscano (Sociology). CPCT's work draws on those traditions that view the practices of critique and criticism as central to the definition of philosophy, and consider reflection on philosophy’s complex relationships with other disciplines and forms of thought as constitutive of philosophical activity itself. The centre aims to create a space for rigorous intellectual dialogue and production which aligns with a trans-disciplinary orientation of philosophy, challenging rigid divisions between analytic and Continental, the contemporary and the historical, the theoretical and the practical, while emphasising historically marginalised areas of investigation.

At CCS we have seen, in just over ten years, some 40 PhDs to completion and have a community of over 100 postgraduate students presently enrolled. Our funded research projects have been world-leading initiatives, bringing substantial networks of scholars to the college, on Borders, Metadata, Emerging Global Economies, Global Culture Industries, and Software Studies.

Individual profiles

Dr Josephine Berry-Slater is editor of Mute magazine and works on the relation between art, aesthetics and biopolitics with a special expertise on culture and urban space. She is co-director of the Post-Media Lab, a European Regional Development Fund project, at Leuphana University, Germany.

Professor Matthew Fuller works in software studies, art, fiction and media and cultural theory. He currently holds a collaborative research grant from the ESRC analysing the material practices of code-sharing commons in large-scale software repositories.

Graham Harwood is part of the artist group YoHa. Exhibited internationally and winner of numerous awards, their work is often made with collaborators such as scientists, fishermen, miners, free software activists and midwives. A persistent concern of Harwood’s work is the political, social and aesthetic effects of the relational database as a form of governance.

Dr Julia Ng works on Benjamin’s mathematical revision of Kant, and on the idea of “posthumous life.” Her new project on ‘Mathematics, Philosophy, Literature’ brings together literary and political theorists, philosophers and intellectual historians in discussion of the operations of the ‘mathematical’ in concepts of history, objectivity, power, and signification.

Dr Luciana Parisi's is interested in the philosophical and scientific theorisations of matter, cognition and perception in the context of digital culture. She works on Leibniz, Whitehead, Peirce and Deleuze. She focuses on cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories. Her recent work addresses the tension between thinking, logic and automation and looks at the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

Other staff researchers in the Centre include a number of visiting researchers, postdoctoral researchers and community activists. More details can be found in our Staff section.

Recent externally funded research projects

  • ESRC Rising Powers: The Social Bases of Economic Change (2009-2011)
    Professor Scott Lash of CCS, working in conjunction with Professor Michael Keith of Oxford University's Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), was awarded one of eight ESRC network grants. Our project explored social externalities in China, India and Africa. Workshops took place in China in October 2010, India in February 2011 and London in June 2011.

  • South x South London 
    This project supported Contemporary Africa on Screen, curated by CCS's Dr Jennifer Bajorek, and the South London Gallery, in partnership with Juma Bah, Community Action Southwark.

  • BBC Sports Live! (2009-2013)
    How did technologically minded football fans all over the world follow the Fifa World Cup, using all sorts of different media technologies, from radios to mobile phones? In our research project ‘Sports Live! Mediated Liveness of Global Sports Events’ we conducted ethnographic research in 11 countries: the UK, India, South Africa, Japan, Kenya, China, Tanzania, Nigeria, Brazil, US and Germany. This BBC (FM&T, Sport and Global News) funded research project is applied and straightforward: the result is a global ethnography of mediated sports consumption that explores liveness as a patchwork of practices, looking at their rhythms and their support through various technologies and social media. We worked with a team of 21 ethnographers. Principal investigators were Goetz Bachmann and Scott Lash; Hiroki Ogasawara was an advisor.

  • Creativity Beyond Borders (2008-2010)
    Professor Hutnyk was awarded an AHRC Beyond Text Research Network Grant to bring together researchers in India, the UK, Germany, Denmark and Sweden around the theme of Creativity Beyond Borders.

  • Metadata in the Age of Ubiquitous Media  (2007-2010)
    The Centre for Cultural Studies was responsible for Project Two in Goldsmiths' Media Research Programme, funded by The Leverhulme Trust. This project researched and designed new metadata-rich applications on the internet in China, South Korea and the UK.
  • Risk Cultures in China: An Economic Sociology  (2006-2009)
    This project formed part of the ESRC's World Economy and Finance Programme. Over three years (2006-2009) the project extended the Centre's work internationally, focusing particularly on the forms of social and economic change in contemporary urbanism in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
  • Broadband: Interactive Media in a Cross-Platform Environment 
    In this project, funded by DTI/ESRC, Goldsmiths' Centre for Cultural Studies joined forces with three London based media companies to produce new forms of television, tailor-made for IPTV (Internet Protocol based TV). CCS researchers focused on how the partners worked together to make the programme; how a study-group of households used or viewed the programmes and IPTV in general; and interviews with technology experts about likely future developments in broadband and related media technologies.