Staff in ICCE

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We have an international cohort of 13 students researching a wide and diverse range of topics. From cultural taste in Ireland, musical theatre in China and NGOs in Jamaica, to urban mobilities, acting careers and the role of recording in cultural diplomacy, among other subjects and geographical locations.

Read below and find out more about the research carried out by MPhil/PhD students in ICCE

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Edward Dixon

MPhil/PhD student, ICCE
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Charities from Below: Cases of Charitable Individuals and Foundations in the Creative and Cultural Industry in Jamaica.

My research explores the emergence, evolution and developmental role of charitable individuals and organisations in the Creative and Cultural Industry in Jamaica. The research seeks to fill a gap in the understanding of how philanthropic actors have negotiated the resource constraints of the Post-Cold War era, using a meso/micro-level analytic lens.

Research interests: Sustainable community development, Post-Colonial Social Theory, Community-based organisation, non-governmental organisations, charitable and philanthropic organisations and the role of the social and solidarity economy and social enterprises in a developing country context.

Research History: Edward holds a BSc in International Relations and MSc. in Social Policy from the University of the West Indies. Apart from academics, Edward has experience in youth and community development, and social research at various levels and non-governmental organisations addressing crime and violence reduction, youth social participation and alternative livelihoods.

Supervisor: Richard Hull and Michael Hitchcock

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Evgeniya Kondrashina

MPhil/PhD student, ICCE
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Sounds from beyond the Curtain: Music Recordings and Cold War Relations

Evgeniya’s thesis critically investigates the role of recordings in state cultural diplomacy of the Soviet Union during the Cold War and how these grew into a network of production, distribution and listening in the West, with a focus on the UK, beyond Soviet state-envisaged cultural aims. It demonstrates the multifaceted relations between private and state British and Soviet systems, where individuals, corporations and the actual objects amplified and distorted the cultural diplomacy goals of the Soviet state. Evgeniya considers the three channels through which the Soviet sound reached the UK: firstly, imports of Soviet records, followed by a large licensing agreement between EMI record company and the USSR, and finally, recordings of Soviet soloists in the West. Her research analyses the recordings as cultural objects and the impression of Soviet music in British eyes shaped by the mass dissemination of recordings across the country. She considers the perceptual biases around Soviet music which manifested themselves in the choice of repertoire, imagery, sleeve notes and press reviews.

Research interests and history and any other profession information:

Evgeniya is an AHRC CHASE-funded PhD student. She holds an MSc in Management from the London School of Economics and an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy from ICCE. Evgeniya is currently an Edison Fellowship at the British Library Sound Archive. She is interested in all aspects of the recording industry and the cultural production and consumption of music.

Supervised by: Dr Carla Figueira (ICCE) and Dr Tamsin Alexander (Music)

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Ka-Hin Tsang

MPhil/PhD student, ICCE
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Experiencing Public Transport in Metropolitan Cities

Mobilities is recognized as an emerging area of inquiry. Kevin’s study seeks to expand the discussion of ‘automobilities’ in the context of metropolitan cities, London and Hong Kong. The term ‘automobilities’ is popularized chiefly referring to the private cars. However, with growing environmental and sustainability concerns, it is argued that the private cars are no longer tenable in cities while the intelligent use of various modes of public transport and the proliferation of sharing schemes are the way to go. The “auto” should, therefore, go beyond necessarily involving private ownership of the means of movement to exert ‘autonomy’ in mobility. On top of the conventional discussion of public transport, usually with functional use and utilitarian perspectives, Kevin analyzes public transport with the focus on the experience and attempts to argue for a position of the aesthetic in the multi-modal movement in the metropolis. Pushing this further, Kevin seeks to pursue that while paying fares, navigating in the city should be considered a consumer culture that entails tastes, style, knowledge and tactics, connecting ‘rights to the city’ with ‘consumer rights’, in affirming the ‘rights to mobile experiences’ amidst the copious transport modes.

Research Interests and history:

Kevin did a MPhil in Sociology at the University of Cambridge, thesis titled “The London Bus as Icon – Experiencing the City Beyond Mobilities and Modernities”. He studied the cultural dimension of the London buses through the controversial “New Bus for London” project proposed by Boris Johnson, in terms of material culture, spectacle, nostalgia, city branding and tourism. Prior to that, Kevin graduated from the University of Hong Kong with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Social Sciences (double major in Sociology and Comparative Literature). Kevin is interested in mobilities and cities, particularly in travelling experience, urban navigation, consumer culture and aestheticization processes.

Supervisor: Mike Featherstone and Richard Hull

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Kerry McCall Magan

MPhil/PhD student, ICCE
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The Social Life of Cultural Taste in Ireland

This research locates the experience of cultural participation in Ireland as a contemporary and emergent cultural capital. Among two generational cohorts, this research explores the logic of Bourdieu's (1984) distinction and the logic of Peterson's (with Simkus, 1992) cultural omnivore. Supporting the view that while there has been a decline in highbrow cultural participation as a mode of status domination, the social structuring of cultural consumption remains “remarkably steadfast…across time” (Jarness, 2015, p.76). The field may be characterised by “multiple and divergent forces,” including the proliferation of genres and modes of cultural engagement (Bellavance, 2008, p.212). However, the logic of distinction today, is “knowing the rules of the game” and knowing how to use these rules (Lareau et al, 2016, n.p.; Sullivan, 2007). New forms of distinction have emerged, and are emerging. These integrate reflexivity, playfulness, eclecticism and a cosmopolitan disposition along with the capacity to juggle and transpose a rarefied aesthetic disposition across, and between, a multiplicity of genres. What we are witnessing is “actually the content of elite culture… being remade” (Friedman et al, 2015, p.3).

Research interests and history and any other profession information:

Kerry is co-founder of the Cultural Policy Observatory Ireland(CPOI): an all island research network, a founding editor of the Irish Journal for Arts Management and Cultural Policy, a co-organiser of the Arts Management Research Studies Stream (RS01) in the European Sociological Association, and Affiliate Faculty to LEAP Institute for the Arts, in Colorado State University, USA, Kerry works closely with national and international higher education partners in furthering arts management and cultural policy research. A key contributor to cultural debate and advocacy in Ireland, Kerry has been a member of the Steering Committee and Research Working Group of the National Campaign for the Arts(NCFA), Director of The Sculptors’ Society of Ireland (now Visual Artists Ireland) and was invited to the Expert Committee of Culture2025: a national cultural policy for Ireland. Recently, Director of Academic Affairs in University, a creative arts consortium of higher education partners in Ireland, north and south, Kerry has previously lectured in University College, Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design, and Queen’s University Belfast and specialises in teaching cultural project management, leadership, arts management and cultural policy.

Supervised by: Victoria Alexander and Dr Dave O'Brien

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Mahsa Alami Fariman

MPhil/PhD student, ICCE
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The Porous City: A Societal Approach into the Design of the Open City.

This research aims to expose the notion of open city where physical and social side of the city work together. Over-determination of forms to heightened the function of the city lead people to not experience complex conditions to take advantage of unforeseen and accidental opportunities. In this regard, my research will help to find out how opening up cities physically can help people become skilled in managing complex conditions of life.

Research Interest: Urban Theory, Urban Systems (open and closed), Architecture History, Social Theory, Urban Sociology, Globalisation and Post-modern Theories

Researcher History: Mahsa is an architect who holds BA in Architecture from Iran and MA in Architecture (Cultural Identity and Globalisation) from University of Westminster, London. Alongside her studies, she also worked for five years as an architect in different architectural firms in Iran.

Supervised by: Mike Featherstone and Tomoko Tamari

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Steven Sparling

MPhil/PhD student, ICCE
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Sustainability and Acting Careers

My research focuses on proactive and reactive strategies used by UK actors to guide their careers towards sustainability and the relationship of these strategies to resilience. It also looks at portfolio and protean working models amongst mid-career actors.

Research interests: Cultural Economics, Cultural Studies, Creative Entrepreneurship, Resilience, Portfolio Careers, Performing Arts.

Research history: Steven holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada) and an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship from the University of East Anglia. He was a Senior Lecturer at the London College of Music, University of West London from 2010-2018 and was Co-Course Leader for the BA (Hons) Musical Theatre programme from 2015-2018. Prior to academia, he was a professional actor for 25 years in Canada and the UK. 

Supervisors: Gerald Lidstone and George Musgrave

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Xiao Lu

MPhil/PHD student, ICCE
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The Musical Theatre Encounter: The Chinese Consumption of a Western Form of Entertainment

My research focuses on exploring how musical theatre makers have addressed cross-cultural differences and enabled the productions to face Chinese audiences. The research seeks to fill a gap in the understanding of the way of Chinese audiences consume musical theatre known as a Western genre.

Research interests: Cultural consumption; Arts marketing; Audience development; Intercultural theatre; Theatre space; Urban cultural policy; Creative and cultural industries.

Research history: BA in Theatre Literature from China National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts; Certificate in Cultural Leadership from Tianjin Conservatory of Music; MA in Media and Advertising from the University of Leicester.

Supervised by: Michael Hitchcock and Gerald Lidstone

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Debora Alleyne De Gazon

MPhil/PhD Student, ICCE
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Shades of Carnival: The impact of education in support of culture led regeneration of Caribbean style carnival.

Debora’s research explores ‘what impact will innovative and creative educational approaches have on renewal of carnival arts within Trinidad and Tobago and the Notting Hill Carnival communities’. The research methods to be employed will be qualitative and quantitative analysis and action research.

Debora has been privy to experience some opportunities, challenges and changes of both Trinidad and Tobago and Notting Hill Carnival. These experiences were attained firstly as a national of Trinidad and Tobago and secondly as the creative director of Notting Hill Carnival.

In consideration of the views of many that a Caribbean style carnival has a range of values and means different things to different people, Debora’s hands-on experiences and interaction with diverse cultures at these two renowned events has enabled her to recognise despite the evolution of these carnivals, they have become a parody, not as an anecdote but a cliché of themselves. This has created an imbalance for a meaningful fusion of business and creativity hence the disappearance of significant carnival values and the degradation of the carnivals’ holistic delivery and creative industry.

Research Interests: Culture Led Regeneration, Entrepreneurship, Education, Arts Integration, Leadership, Creative Industry.

Researcher History:  Diploma in Education from Valsayn Teachers’ College in Trinidad and Tobago; Advisory Education Teacher for Dance and Drama and arts integration in schools both in Trinidad and Tobago as well as in the UK; Diploma in Sociology from the Open University; Post Graduate Diploma in Arts Education from UCL; MA in Arts Administration and Cultural diplomacy from Goldsmith; former Creative Director of the London Notting Hill Carnival;  Creative/ Carnival Consultant.

Supervisors: Gerald Lidstone and Jonathan Meth

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Musa Igrek

MPhil/PhD student, ICCE
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Book as a form of cultural diplomacy

Musa’s research explores the role of culture in foreign policy and tries to understand how cultural products, particularly books, were used by the UK in foreign affairs during the Cold War. As a case study, Musa focuses on the role of the British Foreign Office’s secret Information Research Department (IRD), its involvement in cultural production and distribution and its close relationships with intellectuals, publishing houses and the British Council.

Research Interests: Cultural diplomacy, cultural policy, propaganda, cultural Cold War, state-private networks in cultural diplomacy, foreign cultural centres, the British Council, cultural exchange programmes, government-funded cultural products, cultural policy and cultural diplomacy in the Middle East.

Research History: Musa holds an MA in Cultural Policy and Management from Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Apart from academics, Musa has been working as an arts and culture journalist.

Supervisor: Dr. Carla Figueira and Dr. Sarah Maitland

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Karen Megranahan

MPhil/PhD student
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Arts in Health as a treatment for Substance Misuse

Karen’s current research is focussed on the effectiveness of creative arts as an intervention treatment for substance misuse. By exploring the use of arts in the UK NHS substance misuse treatment programmes and seeking the methods employed a model of best practice is sought for this group.

General research Interests: Non-pharmacological treatments for embedded long-term substance misuse with untreated trauma and drug induced psychosis.

Researcher history: Business entrepreneur who holds an MSc in Addiction Studies from Kings College London UK. Publication ‘Do creative arts therapies reduce substance misuse? A systematic review’ DOI: 10.1016/j.aip.2017.10.005.

Supervised by Gerald Lidstone

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Gemma Grau Pérez

MPhil/PhD student, ICCE
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Knowledge Transfer in Creative Hubs: A Catalyst for Cultural Ventures

The purpose of the proposed research is to study knowledge transfer within and amongst several creative hubs, internationally. The work will investigate the practices and analyse the formal and informal processes, all aimed at assessing the modeling of knowledge flows as generators, enablers or facilitators of the connections amongst enterprises, cultural and creative stakeholders and communities. The analysis would define the specific rules and principles according to which the source knowledge, in its multiple dimensions, is acquired by the different stakeholders and have an impact on the development of innovative products, services and the creation of alliances within the creative hubs framework.

Research Interests: Creative Economy, Cultural and Creative Industries, Sociology of Organisations, Cultural Hubs, Modelling of Knowledge Flows, Network Society, Arts Management for Social Innovation, Sustainable Development Goals and Cultural Policy.

Research History: Gemma holds a Degree in Business Management and Administration from the University of Barcelona. She also holds a BA in Art History from Birkbeck College, University of London and has recently completed a Master in Cultural Management at The Open University of Catalunya and University of Gerona. She is a qualified Six Sigma Master Black Belt professional and has worked for several years as a Consultant and Business Process Improvement Director in both cultural and non-cultural sectors.

Supervisor: Dr. Victoria D. Alexander

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Jeordie Shenton

MPhil/PhD student, ICCE
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Substance Use Amongst Working Musicians

Jeordie’s research is a combined psychological and sociological study into the use of psychoactive substances by musicians working in the music industry, with the aim of extending knowledge around the music profession and mental health.

Research Interests:
Jeordie is interested in the mental health of working musicians with an emphasis on risk taking and health behaviours.

Research History:
Jeordie holds a BPS accredited First Class Honours BSc Psychology and Sociology degree from the University of Suffolk and won the Best Degree (PSYC Routes) Prize. Jeordie also holds a MSc Research Methods in Psychology degree with Distinction from the University of Essex and co-authored an academic journal article.

Publication: Rolison, J. J. and Shenton, J. (2019) ‘How much risk can you stomach? Individual differences in the tolerance of perceived risk across gender and risk domain’, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. doi: 10.1002/bdm.2144

Supervisors: Dr. George Musgrave (ICCE) and Dr. Diana Omigie (Psychology)