Here you can find information about my research and teaching.
Current Position: I am currently a Reader in Media and Politics at the University of Westminster where I jointly lead the MA in Media, Campaigning and Social Change. I am also Co-Leading the Arts, Communication and Culture Research Community that fosters interdisciplinary research across the university. Between 2015-2019, I was Deputy Director and then Co-Director of the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), a leading centre of media and communications research in the UK that is home to around 30 researchers and 65 doctoral students.
Research Interests: My research interests include the relationship between online tools, advocacy groups and social movements. I am particularly interested in the role of the internet in processes of organizing, decision-making and collective identity formation, as well as in how online tools affect the activists’ interaction with the media and with the targets of their campaigns.
Main Project: I am currently writing up research on the role of the internet in economic justice activism, and the Occupy Movement in particular, in the USA and the UK. The study was funded by a Mid-Career Fellowship by the British Academy. As part of the fellowship, I was a visiting researcher at the University of Washington, at New York University and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Other Projects: Other research projects, currently at the writing-up stage, include a rethinking of counterpublic theory (together with Thomas Poell) and some work on the use of the media by environmental movemements (together with Doug Specht).
Past research has focused on organizations like Avaaz, Amnesty International and 38 Degrees, as well as the Indignant Movement in Greece (with Orsalia Dimitriou). For my doctoral research, which I completed in 2007 at the University of Westminster, I investigated the use of email lists and the web by activists involved in the Global Justice Movement in Europe.
PhD Students: I am/have been Director of Studies of PhD students whose research focuses on a wide range topics, including the use of Facebook by the Purple Movement in Italy, the impact of the internet on women’s empowerment in China, the role of internet memes in the Crimea conflict, the use of messaging apps and social media in political campaigns in Belarus and Russia, the role of Weibo in Han nationalist movements in China, the use of digital platforms in development, as well as the role of mobile media for the protection of human rights in Zimbabwe.
I have taught both on the BA and the MA level on a variety of topics including communication theory, new media theory, activism and campaigning.
From September 2014 I am co-directing the MA in Media, Campaigning and Social Change.
Modules I am leading in the academic year 2019/20 include:
Critical Issues in Campaigning: a core module for the MA in Media, Campaigning and Social Change students focusing on the role of media in campaigning for social change, including sessions on mobilization, tactics, theories of change, storytelling, and power analysis. The module is fusion between theory and practice and I am teaching it with Michaela O’Brien.
Media, Activism and Politics: a core module for the MA Media, Campaigning and Social Change which examines the role of media in political mobilization, social movements, dissent, and political and social crises. I am teaching this module together with Doug Specht.