arch India-UK Creative Industries at 75

Professor Rajinder Dudrah (Principal Investigator, BCU), Dr Vishal Chauhan (Co-Investigator, PGDAV College University of Delhi) and Dr Julia Szivak (BCU) successfully completed their 9-month AHRC and Innovate UK funded project ‘India-UK Creative Industries at 75: Opportunities and Challenges’ (1 Feb – 31 October 2022, £49,400).

The project culminated in new networks of research and creative production between Birmingham City University, PGDAV College University of Delhi, and over 30 India-UK creatives working across the screen industries, live performance, and fashion.

Over 15 new creative outputs have been produced (short films, a podcast, music videos, a documentary, dance, presentations on the fashion industries, tribal tattoos & more) and they can be accessed on the project’s website.

The illustrated end of project reports are also available as free downloads. The summary report has been translated into 6 Indian languages (Bangla, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu). Where relevant, please share these with your creative networks, researchers, teachers, students, parents, policy wallahs etc.


arch Midlands4Cities AHRC funded 2023 PhD Studentship recruitment

Midlands4Cities PhD studentship recruitment launched on Monday 17th October. The M4C website displays all the information applicants will need on the ‘Our Offer’ and ‘Apply’ pages. The link to the Survey Monkey Apply portal is live, this where all applicants must submit their application supported by two references by the 11th of January 2023 deadline.  

For 2023 entry Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership is offering up to 60 fully funded PhD studentships for eligible students in arts and humanities through the Open Competition and 13 Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA). The CDA projects provide diverse and unique project opportunities with national, regional and local partner organisations. New for 2023, the Stuart Hall Foundation (SHF) Scholarship will support at least two studentships a year for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates to undertake doctoral research in arts and humanities. You can find out more about SHF here.

Application writing workshops are being delivered in each of the four M4C cities for details and registration visit 

The deadline for AHRC funding applications is 11 January 2023 – 12.00 hours (UTC+0) applicants must also have applied for a place to study at one of the eight M4C universities. 

The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University is inviting applications from students whose research interests connect with our fields of expertise in:

Creative Industries

  • Alternative and marginal economies
  • Cultural labour and entrepreneurship
  • Cultural policy and media regulation
  • Craft making and production practices
  • Equality and diversity

Cultural Theory

  • Migration and refugees
  • Old and new ​Racisms
  • Populism and nationalism
  • Feminist and queer politics; African feminisms, masculinities
  • Postcolonial theory; imperial legacies
  • Posthumanism
  • Higher education institutions as sites of producing and resisting neoliberalism
  • Social movements
  • The politics of voice and listening
  • The politics of time; rhythm, speed/slowness
  • Practice-based research, including artistic and curatorial practice

Game Cultures

  • Historical game studies
  • Video game narratives and adaptation
  • Posthumanism and video games
  • History and (video)game communities, including fan cultures
  • Video games and cultural policy
  • Games and national/transnational identity

Gender and Sexuality

  • Sexualised masculinity
  • The histories of adult film production across Europe
  • Gay men’s use of dating apps
  • Digital intimacies
  • Sex in cinema
  • Fetish communities
  • Drag Cultures

History, Heritage and Archives

  • Media as historical source
  • Historical work in fan communities
  • Media archives and the challenge of the digital for media historians and archivists
  • Refugees, migrants, media history and archives
  • Commemoration and everyday media memory
  • The archive, amateur film and place

Jazz Studies

  • The cultural meaning of jazz
  • Studies of jazz as a transnational practice
  • Improvisation and cultural practice
  • Jazz on television and radio
  • Archives and documentation
  • Mediation and technology
  • Jazz and philosophy
  • Festivals

Media and Place

  • Media and conflict
  • Hyperlocal media narratives
  • Media, populism and nationalism
  • Community media practices and the politics of space
  • Digital media and feminism
  • Media, migration and displacement

Popular Music Studies

  • Popular music consumption
  • Songwriting
  • Music scenes
  • Heritage and cultural memory
  • Mediation and representation
  • Media and technology
  • Music industries
  • Material cultures
  • Experimental writing

For further information, please contact Midlands4Cities Site Director Dr. Oliver Carter


arch New issue of Makings journal is out

We are excited to announce the release of the new issue of Makings journal. The contributions to this issue address the theme of ‘Disruption’, in line with the BCMCR’s 2021/22 research theme.

The issue consists of eight peer-reviewed articles, which explore wide-ranging disruptions faced by various stakeholders in the cultural and creative industries. In addition, the journal’s response to the theme includes three Studio contributions. Although not peer-reviewed, the Studio pieces are designed to encourage debate via shorter think-pieces, observations, and experimental works.

All articles and the editorial can be found here, and the Studio pieces are available here.

The editorial team of Makings would like to thank all authors for their contributions and peer reviewers for their time and helpful feedback.

The journal is currently co-edited by Kateryna Sivak and Vincent Obia, two of the Centre’s postgraduate researchers. The next issue is already under way, but the journal remains open to submissions – both standard scholarly articles and Studio pieces – that are situated within cultural and creative industries research. Please visit our website for more details on the journal’s focus and contributor guidelines.


arch ATINER Conference on Communication and Mass Media, 2022: UK Radio’s Response to COVID-19


The Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER) is an independent association established in 1995 to provide academics and researchers with a forum to “exchange ideas on their research and discuss the future developments of their discipline”. In May 2022, I delivered a presentation at ATINER’s 20th Annual International Conference on Communication and Mass Media, held in Athens, Greece. My online session was titled “UK Radio’s Response to COVID-19: A Reappraisal of Radio as a ‘Crisis’ Medium through the Exploration of a Production Case Study”.

My talk discussed radio’s reputation for reliability and value in times of crisis. While new technologies may have challenged the medium’s status as an entertainment provider, radio continues to play a crucial role in disaster management systems around the world. The presentation focused on the medium’s capacity to build a sense of collective community during ongoing emergencies, by considering UK radio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. According to Radiocentre CEO Siobhan Kenny, radio helped listeners to stay connected during the UK’s first wave lockdown. She commented, “we are all finding our own ways to cope during the pandemic, and it’s great that radio is proving such a consistent source of comfort and trusted news to so many”. I explored the various industry initiatives developed by UK radio programmers and producers to address the isolation many listeners felt during the pandemic. As a case study, I considered the production of a series of radio documentaries, created by Birmingham City University in partnership with the Greatest Hits Radio network, to demonstrate how the pandemic impacted on radio production techniques. This project, titled Cities of Sound, was funded by a ‘Coronavirus Support’ grant from the UK’s Audio Content Fund, a Govt supported initiative to “improve lives during COVID-19”.

The series utilised the talent of radio students and graduates from Birmingham City University, Sunderland University, University of the West of Scotland, Manchester Metropolitan University, and De Montfort University, to create COVID-19 related content for audiences across the UK. These are the regions / broadcast dates for each episode.

  • 1 Birmingham: 29th July 7 pm (Repeated 2nd August 9 pm)
  • 2 Liverpool: 5th August 7 pm (Repeated 9th August 9 pm)
  • 3 Glasgow: 12th August 7 pm (Repeated 16th August 9 pm)
  • 4 Newcastle: / Sunderland 19th August 7 pm (Repeated 23rd August 9 pm)
  • 5 Sheffield: 9th September 7 pm (Repeated 13th September 9 pm)
  • 6 Manchester: 16th September 7 pm (Repeated 20th September 9 pm)
  • 7 Cardiff / Swansea: 23rd September 7 pm (Repeated 27th September 9 pm)
  • 8 Leeds: 30th September 7 pm (Repeated 4th October 9 pm)

I drew on my previous research into the production of music documentaries by unpacking the technical challenge of creating radio documentaries in lockdown conditions and showcased relevant audio clips from the series. As Norris and Stevens (2008) observe, radio has a resilience that is “as strong, and perhaps stronger, than that offered by other media”. In my presentation, I concluded that UK radio’s response to COVID-19 served as a timely reminder of the industry’s key strengths and underscored radio’s ongoing relevance as an electronic medium.



arch Book launch for ‘Reappraising Local and Community News in the UK: Media, Practice, and Policy’ now available


arch The 2022 Charles Parker Day at Birmingham City University

On Friday the 8th of April, Birmingham City University hosted the 19th Charles Parker Day, an annual event run by the Charles Parker Archive Trust to honour his contribution to British radio. Charles Parker was an innovative BBC radio producer whose work on the “Radio Ballads” documentary series (1958 – 1963) helped to advance the radio documentary genre through its creative use of music and authentic voices. While COVID-19 postponed previous opportunities to hold the Charles Parker Day in person, Birmingham City University was pleased to host the 2022 event in the Parkside Building of the City Centre Campus, while simultaneously streaming it online (a recording is available here). Parker spent a great deal of his life living and working in Birmingham and the University is home to one of his personal tape editing units along with a collection of equipment used by Brian Vaughton, an associate of Parker’s who worked with him on the Birmingham Ballads series (1961 – 1962).

This year’s event was hosted by Kellie While, from independent production company 7Digital Creative, and featured contributions from Monica Whitlock, Jon Nicholls, Sean Cooney, Steven Rajam, and Sara Parker. I took the opportunity to pay tribute to Brian Vaughton, who passed away in Sept. 2020, and played excerpts from his documentaries “Cry from the Cut” and “The Jewellery”, along with a section from an interview I conducted with him in 2014, which discussed working with Parker.

Each year the Trust celebrates the work of students studying radio and awards a prize to the best student audio feature which “capture some of the timeless originality that Charles Parker brought to his programmes”. During the event, Simon Elmes, the chair of the judging panel, introduced this year’s nominees and announced Talia Augustidis as the overall Gold winner for 2022. It was also an opportunity to publicly recognise the work of previous award winners, Alex Morgan (2020) and Magdalena Moursy (2021) who won their Gold awards during the pandemic. In July 2022, the work of this year’s finalists will be broadcast as part of BBC Radio 4’s New Storytellers series.

At the conclusion of the event, the attending students took part in a Masterclass which focused on the use of music in radio / podcast production. This session featured contributions from Sara Parker, Steven Rajam, Monica Whitlock, Jon Nicholls, Simon Elmes, Richard Power, and Andy Cartwright.

For more information visit:


arch Call for Abstracts 1 June – Disruption, voice and listening (flipped) conference – to take place in October 2022

Organised by the Cultural Theory Cluster at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, at Birmingham City University, ‘Disruption, Voice and Listening’ is a 2-day online ‘flipped conference’ in October 2022, exploring the interplay between ‘disruption’, ‘voice’ and ‘listening’.

Download the CFP as a PDF at this link

Disruption, Voice, and Listening invites proposals that consider the critical role of disruption in shaping our contemporaneity, and its relationship to the politics of voice and listening. Through a range of contributions that will include presentations, articles, podcasts, or vlogs, we want to explore the narratives of continuity and disruption. Sited within a department whose research activities have been disrupted like those of many universities, the flipped conference will serve as a platform to consider issues including the breakdown of authority exposed by the pandemic, polarising ‘culture war’ tactics, the ‘crises’ of migration, rights and social movements. How do these relate to neoliberal ideologies and practices, and neoliberalism’s heroisation of ‘innovative disruptors’? Throughout, we want to pay attention to whose voices make up both the status quo and its interruption. Can we now think of the seismic events of the past two years as disrupting a set of otherwise continuous narratives? Who controls such rifts, and how? Whose voices are enabled by recent disruptions, and whose are silenced?

Bringing together ‘disruption’ and ‘listening’, our key questions include:

  • How can an ethics of listening be cultivated that is itself disruptive to conventions of authorized political discourse?
  • How can techniques of collective listening disrupt processes of mediating the public sphere determined by power?
  • Can listening as a political process challenge ‘culture war’ tactics which push people into taking one side or another?
  • How might we learn from activist and artistic practices, movements, and campaigns that have tried to create spaces for unheard, marginalised voices?
  • How do forms of disruption create space for marginalised voices, or alternatively, shut them down?

As a ‘flipped conference’, the speaker will deliver a 10-15 minute presentation (video and audio formats also welcome) complemented by a ‘position statement’. The position statement can be read by participants as a ‘conversation starter’, enabling a more dialogic presentation format. The ‘position statement’ can take the form of a classic blog post, a short podcast, or vlog (equivalent to 800-1000 words). These will be hosted on the BCMCR website (, and the Post Pandemic

University website ( Delegates will be encouraged to read ‘position statements’ before the event.

We also welcome alternative formats for presentation, including performances, artworks and poetry.


Disruption and politics

  • Disruption as intrinsic to neoliberalism and authoritarian populism: ‘innovative disruption’, spectacle, and ‘disaster capitalism’ (Klein 2008); states of exception’ (Agamben 2005).
  • Disruption as catalysing new ways of thinking: as ‘natality’ (Arendt 2004) and ‘acts’ (Isin 2012).
  • Forms of disruption (for example caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate emergency) that are tolerated by the state and capital.
  • Disruption as a performed narrative. The intended and unintended audiences for such narratives.

Disruption, voice, scales and social movements

  • Acts that emerge as a disruption (for example, protests, industrial action, etc).
  • The disruption of forcing issues into public debate
  • Disrupting the global North/South hierarchies.
  • Disruptions which create enabling spaces to marginalised groups to share their experiences and voice.

Disruption and temporality

  • Forms of ‘rhythmic unconscious’ (Alhadeff-Jones 2019) which the liminal space-time of a crisis/disruption conjure up.
  • The tempo and temporality of crisis.
  • The beginnings and ends of disruption, and its framing and narration.
  • Disruption as creating liminal spaces and the emergence of new possibilities but also as potentially shutting these spaces down.

Activist and art disruptions, disruptions in urban space

  • Interventions within urban spaces.
  • The potential for ‘innovation’ in disruptive artistic practices in the age of institutionallysanctioned socially engaged arts practice.
  • The institutional response/absorption/neutralisation of disruptive art practices (Charnley 2021).

Disruption, migration, and citizenship

  • How migration disrupts imperial legacies.
  • How migrant solidarities and migrant voices disrupt an anti-immigrant habitus and consensus.
  • How transversal solidarities (Yuval-Davis 1999) disrupt and transform authorized scripts of how to act as a liberal national citizen, and what ‘performative citizenship’ (Isin 2017) offers as a conceptual frame for examining this issue.

Disruption and the neoliberal university

  • The disrupted university (for example, teaching/learning during the pandemic) and attempts to learn from these or alternatively impose ‘business as usual’.
  • The fetishization of “disruptive innovators” within neoliberal academic cultures.
  • The emergence of alternative/para-academic institutions, industrial action in universities, disruptions of hierarchies within academic cultures.Timescales
    • 1 June CFP deadline; responses by mid-June 2022
    • 12 Sept deadline for blog posts, podcasts and vlogs
    • 5 and 13 October: Provisional online event dates

     Proposal submissionsPlease send submissions, including title, 250-word abstract and contact information to


arch Recording of ‘Platforms, Power and Cultural Production’ now available


arch Recording of So Mayer’s poetry reading for the xChange Festival 2022 now available