Research in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths

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Goldsmiths’ Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies is one of the oldest and largest media departments in the UK.

We're ranked 12th in the world (and 2nd in the UK) for communication and media studies (QS World Rankings by subject 2022) and second in the UK for 'world leading or internationally excellent research' (Research Excellence Framework 2021).'

It is also unique in its diversity of approaches to, and articulations of, the disciplinary conjunctures around media and culture. The Department has equal research strengths in media and communications and in cultural studies research, in humanities and in social sciences approaches, and in theory- and practice-driven work.

Its work spans a wide range of topics and modes of enquiry – from philosophical studies of technology and human life to sociological investigations of media production and use; from issues of identity, embodiment and becoming to post-feminism, queer theory and critical race studies; from global screen studies and transnational investigations of media and culture to news’ role in contemporary democracy. We are especially proud of our integration of critical and creative practices in audiovisual media and journalism. We were rated number one for research intensity in the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework audit.

Our current research centres are:

The Department’s research falls into five main strands which make up our research groupings:

  1. Media and Democracy: building on the work of the Leverhulme programme on the media’s contribution to democracy, including the changing nature of journalism and political communication; studying globalisation in relation to issues of diaspora and nationhood
  2. Economy, Culture and Communication: investigating communication and discourse in finance and financial media; everyday representations and understandings of the economy and economic life; creative labour, neoliberalism and organisational practices in the arts and cultural industries; the impact of the promotional professions (branding, PR, marketing) on the economy, culture and society
  3. Media Futures: bringing together humanities and social sciences approaches to understanding the changing role of media technologies and global media flows in society, economy and science
  4. Gender, Feminism and Contemporary Cultures: connecting the long tradition of work within the Department on culture, representation, embodiment and affect to its specific strengths in gender, race, sexuality and labour in national and international contexts
  5. Screen Cultures and Media Arts: consolidating the long-standing focus on screen cultures within the Department, as concentrated within the Leverhulme programme, combined with an exploration of media arts such as photography, video, digital imagining, sound and performance.

Many of the projects undertaken within the Department are collaborative in nature - such as the work conducted under the umbrella of Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre, funded with a 2006 Leverhulme grant to study the design and significance of various contemporary media spaces. Members of the Department have also received funding from AHRC, British Academy, British Council, Carnegie Trust UK, Council for British Research in the Levant, ESRC, EPSRC, Guggenheim Foundation, Higher Education Academy, Hong Kong Research Grants Council, JISC, London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange, Media Trust and Open Society Foundation.

As well as working on collaborative projects, members of the Department have published many books with high-impact international presses, on a diverse range of topics: affect and emotion, artificial intelligence, bioethics, the body and experience, branding, broadcasting, democracy, film history, the future of journalism, media geographies, the mediation of power, post-feminism, postcolonial politics, sound and video cultures.

Members of the Department edit leading academic journals, including Body and Society, Culture Machine and its sister project, Photomediations Machine), Global Media and Communication, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Subjectivity and photographies.

Outstanding results in REF 2021

In the latest 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), an expert panel judged the quality of research outputs (e.g. publications, films, exhibitions), their impact beyond academia and the environment that supports research. The Department of Media, Communication and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths came 2nd in the UK for research that was assessed at either 4* or 3*, with 96% of its research judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent. This research underpins our teaching and practice at all levels in the Department.

Overall, looking at Grade Point Averages (GPAs) and taking account of all levels across research outputs, impact and environment, the Department came 4th in the UK for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management. This outstanding result reflects the world-class, dynamic and engaged research for which the Department is famous.

The Department prides itself on undertaking research that is culturally and politically aware; that shapes artistic, cultural, political and economic debates nationally and internationally; that develops media and media art practices; functions in conjunction with various media industries; and forms a meaningful engagement with the world through research that encompasses the politics, problems and prospects of our times.