Our digital culture research group examines aesthetics, digital humanities and political economy across diverse media practices including games, online advertising and digital politics. The group has attracted a wide range of national and international funding (AHRC, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, British Council) and produced significant monographs, such as Ensslin’s interdisciplinary The Language of Gaming and McStay’s The Mood of Information, as well as a journal (Gaming & Virtual Worlds).
A cross-disciplinary Digital Economy Network brings together researchers from across Bangor University to share expertise on digital cultures, broadly conceived. Staff investigate areas such as computer gaming; virtual worlds; digital fiction; digital advertising; and surveillance and sousveillance (watching from below) in web-based participatory media (Web 2.0). Many real-world issues are grappled with here, such as: What does analysis of computer game discourse tell us about language ideologies in new media? How are people trying to manipulate the digital environment for political and commercial gain? What are the core features of the digital advertising environment? How can literature be taught in such a way as to make it relevant for an increasingly hypermedia-oriented readership? How are disruptive technologies changing methods of creative production? How is the new, ubiquitous nature of computing changing our relationship to the physical world? How are global media being absorbed into local cultures? What are the implications of corporeality in digital text reception?
Our focus on media and persuasive communication is seen in our staff’s engagement with historical and contemporary media forms (from film to social media), cultural practices and social consequences arising from manipulating information and discourse for political, ideological or commercial gain. Well-supported by grants from the AHRC and ESRC (Nathan Abrams, Vian Bakir, Andy McStay), The British Academy (Abrams), and other funders, significant outputs (monographs) include: Nathan Abrams’ The New Jew in Film and Norman Podhoretz & Commentary Magazine; Vian Bakir’s Torture, Intelligence & Sousveillance in the War on Terror, Gregory Frame’s The American President in Film and Television and Andy McStay’s Privacy and Philosophy: New Media and Affective Protocol.
This research group also runs one journal (Jewish Film & New Media), several research networks (British Jewish Contemporary Cultures; Organised Persuasive Communication; PSST (Privacy, Security, Sur/Sous/Veillance, Trust), and is core to the university-wide inter-disciplinary Network in Media and Persuasive Communication.
We ask questions like: How can civil society hold political-intelligence elites publically accountable? What is the impact of digital technology on government’s strategic political communication of war, terror and insurgency? How are concepts of ownership and copyright changing in the era of the open commons and the law of code? What are the origins, ideas and intellectual pedigree of US neo-conservativism, and how is this reflected in their leading magazine? To what extent are films challenging stereotypes? What are the new and changing depictions of Jews, Jewishness and Judaism and what does this say about our confidence or anxieties about Jewish identity and history? Why are fictional US presidents everywhere on screen and how do these constructs relate to our understanding of the US presidency as an institution and the United States as a nation? What regulation do we need concerning technologies that capture our emotions in order to persuade us? What is privacy is a digital age?
This research group looks at creativity in theory and practice. Our staff are engaged with questions relating to cultural and creative knowledge and economy. This is exemplified by our expertise in advertising that asks questions about contemporary and nascent forms of advertising, predicated on dataveillance and the commodification of subjectivity. Such notions invite questions about privacy and the balance between regulation and legislation. Our focus on cultural and creative economy is seen further in our expertise in screenwriting and adaptation and our close links with the Screenwriting Research Network, and the Association of Adaptation Studies. We ask questions like: What is the role of the screenwriting process in the re-imagining of literature? What is the changing status of the film script, and how does this affect readings of films? How can a story be adapted for multiple modes of consumption (screen, page, hypertext, game)? Do multimodality and interactivity change the ways that creative practitioners engage with their audiences?
This group’s interests in practice-as-research are shared across the College of Arts and Humanities. The intersection with theory and practice is reflected throughout our postgraduate taught degrees, and many of our PhDs, as well as in the research interests of staff members, particularly in their explorations of creative writing; and of space-time in performance and in digital artifacts. Such explorations enable the creative and the critical to be mutually informing, opening up diverse and innovative lines of inquiry and insight into areas such as dance performance, digital writing, writing for the stage and screen, adaptation, creative writing and documentary practice, with relevance both to academia and the world of the Creative and Cultural Industries. We ask questions like: what happens to the choreographer’s authorship in site-specific dance? How are the spatial orientations of dancer and audience disrupted when the tools of dance and rock-climbing are combined? What are the potentials for movement in virtual worlds, and what sorts of spaces do these open up? How are professional journalistic strivings towards objectivity compromised in documentary practice? How does writing for multiple communication modes affect the writer's process and perspective with regard to story?