arch Recording of Dr. Chris Hill’s talk ‘Nuclearising Empire and Historicising the Nuclear Past: A Researcher’s Guide’ now available


arch Recording of Dr. Vicky Ball’s talk ‘Disruptive femininities in ‘Play for Today’: Still Waters and Not for the Likes of Us’ now available


arch Recording of ‘“Grab them by the pussy”: The Sexual Politics of Touch in The Handmaid’s Tale & Contemporary American Culture’ now available


arch Call for Papers: The seventh Rhythm Changes Conference, Jazz Then & Now

The seventh Rhythm Changes Conference, Jazz Then & Now, will take place at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from 25 to 28 August 2022. This conference marks the twelfth anniversary of the Rhythm Changes project.

Lucas Dols, double bassist and founder Sounds of Change Foundation: Opening lecture
Rhythm Changes Then & Now: Plenary panel on twelve years of the project
Prof. Charles Hersch, Cleveland State University: Closing address

We invite submissions for Jazz Then & Now, a four-day multidisciplinary conference bringing together leading researchers across the arts and humanities and others interested in jazz studies. The event will feature academic papers, panels, and roundtables.

Jazz is an urgent music that responds to or addresses contemporary crises. Its history is inseparable from struggles over civil rights, racial and gender identities, cultural politics, social hierarchies, artistic significance, and new technologies. The music has defined itself through debates around inclusion and exclusion, exemplified by iconic phrases such as ‘This Is Our Music’ (Ornette Coleman) or ‘What Jazz Is – and Isn’t’ (Wynton Marsalis). The sounds of jazz have often been heard as strident, edgy, unexpected, demandingly presentist – as urgent. Or is jazz perhaps more about its ‘then’ than its ‘now’ once we move outside circles of scholars, musicians, and fans? Jazz Then & Now seeks to critically explore how this sense (or absence?) of urgency plays out in jazz and how it contributes to our most compelling contemporary debates.

We welcome papers addressing the conference theme from multiple perspectives, including cultural studies, musicology, cultural theory, music analysis, jazz history, media studies, and practice-based research. Within the general theme of Jazz Then & Now, we have identified several sub-themes. Where relevant, please clearly specify which sub-theme you are referring to in your proposal.

Jazz in pandemic times
How can Jazz Then & Now not address or acknowledge the world’s changing situation? What forms of jazz are there now in our reduced times, and are or can they be creatively innovative? From the multiple closures of jazz clubs to lockdowns on touring and festivals, live music has suffered intensely. In its urgent presentism, is jazz especially vulnerable or vital now? How far are we living a fermata? How will jazz from before the pandemic (the pre-Covidium, which was ‘then’) relate to jazz in the imminent post-Covidium? We may dream in compensation of a Second Jazz Age – à la post-1918 flu pandemic Roaring Twenties – but if our infrastructures fail and our elders fade, where, when, and with whom will we improvise? Or are improvised solutions our best cultural hope?

Environment and sustainability
Circularity, sustainability, no-waste festivals, ‘climate songs’, the ClimateMusic Project, Musicians for Future: This theme explores ways in which climate emergency and environmental debates might shape the production, dissemination, and experience of jazz. How do current jazz practices pose short and long-term threats to the environment? (How) can we think of jazz practices to make them more ecologically sustainable? What of its materials (ebony, ivory, reeds, skins)? We invite papers focusing on how artists, critics, audiences, producers and makers respond to current climate debates.

Museums, galleries, even our universities have been at the forefront of interrogating their own pasts, digging into their foundations, archives, and collections to uncover uncomfortable, hidden narratives of complicity. Could or should jazz, as an urgent or heritage music of the Black Atlantic forged in the experience of the transatlantic slave trade, have been helping to lead such debates? In what ways has jazz, including its studies and institutions, involved itself in decolonising cultural practice and consumption, and are they adequate?

Jazz Now?
Jazz, as studied today, is successful: it flourishes in academia, where researchers produce a constant stream of publications, and it thrives in music education, where students are admitted after competitive entrance exams. Nevertheless, the student numbers both in academic and vocational programmes seem out of balance with the marketplace. Does that affect the relevance of these programmes? What does it mean to be a jazz performer in relation to the major debates of our time? Has jazz education a responsibility to consider such issues?

Jazz Then, and Now
Jazz is a global musical form with a complex history of more than a hundred years. As an innovative and improvisatory style of music, it has become a significant form of cultural expression with changing soundscapes, not least due to hybridisation with other musical traditions. Connected to various social and political movements, the meanings, perceptions, and reception of jazz have been changing as well. This theme addresses jazz from different historical positions, from different perspectives and fields in past and present to explore possible meanings of jazz then and now. Or does jazz inherently occupy an ahistorical position, a celebration of the improvisatory moment?

Further information
Please submit your proposal (max. 250 words), including a short biography (max. 50 words) and institutional affiliation, as a Word document to Loes Rusch and Walter van de Leur (Conference Directors), at

The deadline for proposals is 15 February 2022; we will communicate outcomes to authors by mid-March 2022. The conference committee consists of Loes Rusch, Walter van de Leur, Christa Bruckner-Haring, Nicholas Gebhardt, George McKay, Catherine Tackley, Sarah Raine, and Tony Whyton.

Jazz Then & Now continues to build on the legacy of the research project Rhythm Changes: Jazz Cultures and European Identities (2010–2013), funded as part of the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) Joint Research Programme. In the spirit of Rhythm Changes, the project team continues to develop networking opportunities and champion collaborative research in transnational jazz studies.

Updates on the conference and information about travel and accommodation will be available on our website and Facebook.

An international congregation for a conference, postponed twice, on the cultural topic of then and now, including liveness, presentism, and urgency; is this a symptom of jazz madness? We prefer to think of it more as a statement of faith in jazz studies as a creative, intellectual community, where ideas and interaction are our currency and lifeblood. We expect that we will be able to gather in Amsterdam, and we tremendously look forward to meeting you there, onsite, in person. We will comply with any measures in operation at the time, which we will let you know in advance.


arch Recording of ‘Young people and digital intimacies’ now available


arch Call for Proposals: BCMCR Book Series ‘New Directions” in Media and Cultural Research

The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research’s ‘New Directions’ book series aims to advance research and teaching in the broad range of media and cultural studies and to serve as the focal point for a community of scholars who are committed to critical inquiry and collaborative practice. Books in the series engage with developments in the field, showing how new theoretical approaches have impacted on research within both media and cultural studies and other related disciplines. Each volume will focus on a specific theme or issue, as well as exploring broader processes of social and cultural transformation. The series is committed to producing distinctive titles that challenge traditional disciplinary boundaries and question existing paradigms, including innovative scholarship in areas such as the creative industries; media history, heritage and archives; games studies; gender and sexuality; screen cultures; jazz and popular music studies; media and conflict; songwriting studies; and critical theory. The editors are also keen to encourage authors to experiment with non-standard approaches to academic writing.

Series Editors: Oliver Carter, Kirsten Forkert, Nicholas Gebhardt and Dima Saber.

For more information about the series or to submit a proposal please contact Nicholas Gebhardt:

To propose a manuscript please send a completed Author/Editor Questionnaire. The form can be downloaded from the Publish With Us page.


arch AHRC Midlands4Cities Collaborative Doctoral Award: Re-imagining the arts festival in times of crisis

Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) are co-designed between an M4C university and an external partner organisation. CDAs offer a project with established research aims, responding to particular needs in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors. The supervisory teams are pre-established and are made up of academics from a Midlands4Cities university and a member of the external partner organisation. A Collaborative Doctoral Award allows you to:

-produce a quality thesis under expert academic and partner supervision
-gain first-hand experience of partner organisations outside the university environment
-enhance employability and skills.

The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University is inviting applications for students interested in a CDA entitled “Re-imagining the arts festival in times of crisis.” This research will be undertaken in association with the British Arts Festivals Association (BAFA) and supervised by Profs Nick Gebhardt and Tony Whyton. For full details about the project and applying please visit:


arch AHRC Midlands4Cities PhD funding for UK and International Applicants 2021-2022

AHRC Midlands4Cities PhD funding for UK and International Applicants 

The AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the professional and personal development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. M4C is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, Coventry University, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.

Through our Open Doctoral and Collaborative Doctoral Awards Midlands4Cities will fund and support outstanding research for 109 doctoral researchers across the breadth of Arts and Humanities starting in October 2022.

There are 93 PhD studentships available through an open competition and M4C is also awarding 16 Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) which provide diverse and unique project opportunities with national, regional, and local partner organisations. UK, EU, and International applicants are eligible for both routes for 2022 entry.  Further details on the funding provided are available on the M4C website.

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 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 neoliberalisation but also resistance to it
  • 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

History, Heritage & Archives

  • Media as historical source
  • Media archives and the challenges online archives pose 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 & 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

Screen Cultures 

  • Marginal, subcultural and cult modes of screen production and consumer
  • practices.
  • The gendering of media audiences and the gendered processes of fandom.
  • Film festival and distribution activities in screen research.
  • Documentary filmmaking as production research perspectives.
  • The history and developments of sexual culture through screen media.
  • National and transnational traditions of cinema beyond Hollywood.

The deadline for AHRC funding applications is 12 January 2022 – 12.00 hours (UTC+0).  Applicants must also have applied for a place to study at one of the eight M4C universities.  For full details of eligibility, funding, research supervision areas and CDA projects, and for dates of our November application writing workshops, please visit or contact .


arch Call for Papers: Regulation of Old and New Media Forms in Africa

Conference on the Regulation of Old and New Media Forms in Africa

Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research
Birmingham City University
May 2022
Location: Zoom

Conference Theme: Regulating African Digital Media

Increasingly more African countries are instituting laws, procedures, and policies, seeking to regulate the media ecosystem. Governments typically justify such approaches to regulation as a way to combat the negative consequences of online media usage, such as hate speech and mis/disinformation. This trend generally reflects the historical application of censorship laws that have targeted the critical press and journalistic autonomy (Obijiofor et al., 2016). The implications of this are considerable. What we are witnessing is the integration of two regulatory paradigms – for the traditional and digital media – into one, with the potential for state authorities to expand blanket censorship from media to citizen expression in ways that mirror the politics of regulation. A central issue at play here is the struggle over the appropriation and exercise of power over collective voices, with consequences for democracy, plurality, independence, dissent, and freedom.

No doubt, media and digital regulation have intensified in recent years across the globe in what has been described as the “regulatory turn” (Flew et al., 2021, p. 208). The aim, it seems, is to manage the disruptive effects of the usage of media technologies. What has been largely overlooked, however, is an overarching investigation of this trend in Africa. This is in spite of the reality that state interventions such as social media bans, which are becoming common on the continent, are disruptive in themselves. Meanwhile, the few scholarly collections which have examined separate angles of the subject have done so predominantly from the traditional media lens only (Chan-Meetoo, 2013; Sampaio-Dias et al., 2019). For instance, Chan-Meetoo’s (2013) edited collection considers how African journalists negotiate regulatory and ethical requirements demanded of them. Other works have looked at regional or linguistic peculiarities in traditional media regulation on the continent (de la Brosse and Frére, 2012; Limpitlaw, 2021). What has also been neglected is the fact that new media platforms are mainly domiciled in the West, bearing implications for digital sovereignty in Africa.

Furthermore, research centred on Africa has barely considered emergent regulatory practices that cover the traditional media, online harms, social media, blockchain technologies, privacy concerns, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the wider internet of things. This conference thus creates a space for researchers to build on previous scholarly work and to share, discuss and debate contemporary regulatory interventions in media technologies across Africa in attempts to regulate disruption, and their impact on societies. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Press and broadcasting regulation
  • Social media regulation and online harms
  • Online broadcasting regulation
  • The politics of regulation
  • Internet and social media bans
  • Regulation as disruption
  • Regulating/regulated disruption
  • Platform governance and self-regulation in Africa
  • Regulatory frameworks, methods, and methodologies
  • Online privacy and data concerns
  • Regulation, the balance of power, and digital sovereignty
  • Punitive media registration
  • African Union, multi-stakeholderism, and media regulation
  • Regulating artificial intelligence and other new media technologies in Africa

We also invite conceptual papers and reflections on alternative, and perhaps homegrown approaches that can be exploited at the national and/or regional level on the continent to address the challenges of media and digital regulation.

Abstract Submission

Please send a 300-word abstract proposal for a 20-minute presentation by 14 January 2022 to

Proposers will be notified of the outcome of the selection by 7 February 2022.

Abstracts should be in MS Word format and should include name, position, institutional affiliation, email address of proposer(s), and a 150-word biography.

Conference Details

Conference registration will open in early April 2022 and the conference schedule will be released afterwards. The conference will be held on Zoom and will be organised weekly in a panel format in May 2022. To make this work, a single panel (90 minutes long) will be scheduled for each of the Tuesday afternoons (UK time) in May 2022. Further details on timing will be confirmed to selected participants.

Special Issue Publication

Shortly after the conference, we will invite full papers based on the presentations for publication in a journal special issue to be announced. In your abstract submission, please indicate whether you would like your contribution to be considered for the special issue publication. Interested contributors should please note that full papers will be requested by September 2022.


The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) was established in 2009 to develop excellent research as a core activity within the Birmingham School of Media. Our team of independent researchers at Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) generates work of internationally excellent standard. BCMCR aims to produce distinctive, collaborative work within the field of media and cultural research.


Chan-Meetoo, C. (2013) Media Ethics and Regulation: Insights from Africa. Bamenda: African Books Collective.

de la Brosse, R. and Frére, M. (2012) Media regulation in sub-Saharan Africa: trends and stakes in French-speaking countries. Ecquid Novi: African Journalism Studies, 33(3), pp. 74-92.

Flew, T., Gillett, R. and Cole, R. (2021) Editorial. Journal of Digital Media & Policy, 12(2), pp. 207-214.

Limpitlaw, J. (2021) Media Law Handbook for Southern Africa. Johannesburg: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Obijiofor, L., Murray, R. and Singh, S. (2016) Changes in journalism in two post-authoritarian non-Western countries. The International Communication Gazette, 0(0), pp. 1-21.

Sampaio-Dias, S., Mabweazara, H.M., Townsend, J. and Osman, I. (2019) Practices, policies and regulation in African journalism: mapping a research agenda. African Journalism Studies, 40(3), pp. 1-9.