Staff linked to the Centre are currently engaged in supervising a number of PhD students, and the Centre’s first affiliated PhD was awarded in 2017, to Sophie van de Goor. Sophie’s PhD is entitled Fan Cultures from ‘Panoptic Sorting’ to ‘Imaginary Communities’, and uses extensive survey data to explore how fans feel about their online communities, and how they relate to practices of filtering such as the tagging of content.


Other ongoing PhD projects affiliated with the Centre include:

  • Fatema Al-Doh – The Use of Media Technology among Sudan’s Rashidi Tribe
  • Jilly Evans – App Development: Intervening in Audience Studies & Digital Ethnography  
  • Bethan Jones – Cult TV Revivals and Fandom
  • Camila Monteiro – Poverty and Fandom
  • Robert Samuels – Digital Engagement and Theories of Value
  • Joe Smith – Ageing and Sports Fandom
  • Brenton Spivey - Furry Subculture Online and at International Conventions 

External Funding:

The Centre is hosting an AHRC Collective Doctoral Award, worth approximately £50,000, for our doctoral student Jilly Evans to work with a commercial app-development company. The project aims to design and create an innovative “TV diary” app that can be used to survey digital audiences about their TV consumption. The project combines this technical activity with an ethnography of the app’s research, development, production and implementation. 

Recent Centre publications have included:

Wrestling in Britain: Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences, Routledge (2018), by Benjamin Litherland

At the intersection of sport, entertainment and performance, wrestling occupies a unique position in British popular culture. This is the first book to offer a detailed historical and cultural analysis of British professional wrestling, exploring the shifting popularity of the sport as well as its wider social significance.

Arguing that the history of professional wrestling can help us understand key themes in sport, culture and performance that span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it addresses topics such as: attitudes towards violence, representations of masculinity, the media and celebrity culture, consumerism and globalisation. By drawing on a variety of intellectual traditions and disciplines, the book explores the role of power in the construction of popular cultural forms, the ways in which history structures the present, and the manner in which audiences construct identity and meaning through sport.

Wrestling in Britain: Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences is fascinating reading for all students and researchers with an interest in media and cultural studies, histories and sociologies of sport, or performance studies.

  • Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World - Second Edition (2017), Edited by Jonathan Gray, Cornel Sandvoss, and C. Lee Harrington.
  • ‘Fandom and Psychoanalysis’ (2018), by Matt Hills, in The Routledge Companion to  Media Fandom, edited by Melissa A. Click and Suzanne Scott.
  • ‘Implicit Fandom in the Fields of Theatre, Art, and Literature: Studying “Fans” Beyond Fan Discourses’ (2018), by Matt Hills, in A Companion to Media Fandom and Fan Studies, edited by Paul Booth.