Current Research Students:

Julie Benson – Title: The Representation of the Female Action Hero in Multi-platform Narrative.
Supervisors: Dr Márta Minier, Dr Deirdre Russell, Dr Jesse Schwenk


Gareth Bonello – Title: Hanes y Cymry a’r Casi mewn Alawon – Ymchwiliad Creadigol a Rhyngddiwylliannol.
Director of Studies: Professor Lisa Lewis
Supervisors: Professor Paul Carr, Dr Rhiannon Williams

I’m studying for a PhD in the music of the Khasi Hills, a region of North East India in the State of Meghalaya. The PhD is part of a larger research project examining the connection between the Calvinistic Methodist Community in Wales and the Khasi people. In 1841 the Welsh missionary society sent its first missionary, Thomas Jones to evangelise in the Khasi hills. So began a relationship between the two communities that continued unbroken until 1969, when the mission was belatedly abandoned following Indian independence. Adopting a methodology based on ‘practice as research’ I will be studying the traditional music of the region and examining the relationship between Welsh and Khasi culture both past and present. As a practicing songwriter and musician I will be collaborate with artists from within the Khasi community to produce new material in response to my research.

Rydw i’n astudio ar gyfer PhD ar gerddoriaeth bryniau Khasia, ardal o Ogledd Ddwyrain India yn nhalaith Meghalaya. Mae’r PhD y rhan o brosiect ymchwil fwy sydd yn edrych ar y cysylltiad rhwng Methodistiaid Calfinaidd Cymru a’r bobol Khasi. Ym 1841 anfonwyd Thomas Jones, cenhadwr cyntaf Cymdeithas Genhadol Gymreig i efengylu ym mryniau Khasia. Dechreuodd perthynas rhwng a ddwy gymuned wnaeth para hyd at 1969, pan adawodd y cenhadon olaf o ganlyniad i annibyniaeth India o’r ymerodraeth Brydeinig. Trwy addasu arddull ‘ymarfer trwy ymchwil’ mi fyddai’n astudio cerddoriaeth draddodiadol yr ardal ac yn archwilio’r perthynas rhwng diwylliant Cymraeg a Khasi, o’r gorffennol hyd heddiw. Fel cerddor ac yn ysgrifennydd gydag ymarfer broffesiynol fyddaf yn cyd-weithio gydag artistiaid o’r gymuned Khasi i gynhyrchu deunydd newydd sydd yn ymateb i fy ymchwil.


Alex Brady – Title: Celebrity in Small Nations.
Director of Studies: Dr Rebecca Williams
Supervisors: Dr Lesley Harbidge, Professor Ruth McElroy

Though the term ‘cultural intermediary’ has been used for over 30 years, to describe professions responsible for the presentation and representation of goods and services, the diversity of professions this term covers and the range of contexts within which they work means much remains unknown about their actual professional practices. This includes what role cultural intermediaries play in selecting and creating national representatives, like celebrities, and how they contribute to debates on national identity and culture. Through examinations of promotional biographies, as produced by celebrity agents and managers, and newspaper articles about Welsh celebrities, produced by journalists, this research will uncover what characteristics of Welsh celebrity national identities intermediaries include in public Welsh celebrity images, what practices intermediaries use to form these images and how the Welshness of celebrities contributes to them. In answering these questions, this research will contribute to the studies of cultural intermediary practices, how intermediaries contribute to debates on national culture and identity, the study of Wales as a small nation, the formation of public celebrity images, the position of celebrities as national representatives and the visibility and representation of Wales within the media.


Matthew Chilcott
Supervisor: Emeritus Prof Hamish Fyfe


Richard Chua – Title: Formulating a conceptual framework for establishing an academic programme related to entertainment arts – A case study of the first entertainment arts diploma programme in Malaysia. (PhD by Portfolio)
Director of Studies: Professor Paul Carr
Supervisors: Inga Burows, Dr Hilary Ramsden

Performing arts students find it difficult to enter employment into the entertainment scene in Malaysia, which led to the establishing of an academic programme called the diploma in entertainment arts in a private university in Malaysia in 2011. 5 years on, a critical evaluation and analysis of the programme is necessary, from which, in its 3 distinctive project components within the academic programme, a conceptual framework could be formulated to assist institutes of higher learning in their consideration of establishing an academic programme in/related to entertainment arts.


Simon Dancey – Title: International Cultural Policy.
Director of Studies: Dr Phillip Mitchell
Supervisor: Dr Robert Campbell


Jeanette D’Arcy
Supervisors: Dr Márta Minier, Dr Rachel Grainger


Vanessa Dodd
Supervisor: Dr Coral Houtman


Faye Hannah
Director of Studies: Professor Ruth McElroy
Supervisors: Dr Rebecca Williams, Michael Carklin


Abdel Wahab Himmat – Title: The Sudanese Communist Party.
Director of Studies: Dr Ruth McElroy
Supervisors: Emeritus Prof. Hamish Fyfe, Prof. Sharif Gemie


Chris Inglis – Title: To What Extent Does The Genre Of Electro Swing Resurrect, Remix And Recontextualise The Past?
Director of Studies: Professor Paul Carr
Supervisor: Dr Rob Smith

My PhD is on the development of the electro swing genre, a fairly recent style within popular music, which has shown a considerable level of increasing popularity across Europe over the last 10 or so years. This style, as the name suggests, combines the two existing styles of swing (or jazz or any style considered ‘vintage’ in a much broader sense), and electronic dance music. As far as this subject is considered academically, little attention has been paid to its roots, evolution, or its place in global cultural landscapes. Therefore, I plan on investigating the genre through a number of different ways of critical engagement, and to present a comprehensive account of this new and significant area of popular music.


Sean Tuan John – Title: Uglyism: Towards a new critical framework in the contemporary arts and dance.
Director of Studies: Professor Lisa Lewis
Supervisor: Dr Jodie Allinson

My practice as research PhD investigates the historical, philosophical and social contexts of dance and whether by constructing an 'uglyist’ framework we may be able to initiate new discourses on the form, which can question and illuminate both the aesthetical and conceptual frameworks within which dance operates. By the examination of theories of the grotesque, the transgressive and the carnivalesque and the re- alignment of these conceptual frameworks into the allied arts of cinema, visual arts and theatre, through this I have sought to re-evaluate contemporary dance’s relationship to these specific developments and question why the history and analysis of dance has consistently avoided and ignored the topic of the ugly. Though explicitly dance has been historically aligned with radical and excessive movements and developments in other associated art forms, the central problematic for dance remains and resides in the foregrounding of the body and, in particular, the dancer’s body which paradoxically seems to limit the possibilities to explore alternative discourses and practices that embrace or embed 'uglyist’ agendas.


Laura Jones – Title: The family home as a space to revisit children’s television: Intergenerational memory, nostalgia and The Clangers.
Director of Studies: Professor Ruth McElroy
Supervisor: Dr Rebecca Williams

This research explores how children’s remake television is viewed in the family home by different generational groups. Through a mixed methods approach of online surveys and ‘text-in-action’ research, it focuses upon family intergenerational interactions and television in the home. The observational text-in-action method actually takes the researcher into the family home to observe the re-creation of memory using the stimulus material of The Clangers. The research captures moments that are shared by the family such as romanticised memories of childhood and nostalgic behaviours.


Denis Lennon – Title: Breathing through the text: Investigating the Role of Breathing Work in Anglophone Shakespearean Traditions of Acting, from the 1960’s onwards.
Director of Studies: Michael Carklin
Supervisors: Dr Márta Minier, Dr Jesse Schwenk


Sabina Macciavelli: Radio Drama in the UK and Italy.
Supervisors: Dr Geraint D’Arcy, Dr Márta Minier


Geoffrey Moore – Title: ALIVE IN TIME: The work of MOVING BEING 1974 – 1988. (PhD by Portfolio)
Director of Studies: Professor Paul Carr

This submission comprises an analysis of and reflection on three productions by the mixed media theatre company Moving Being.
Part One. ‘Dreamplay’, based on Strindberg’s play and made by the Company at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff in 1974, before touring widely in the UK for two years.
Part Two. 'Brecht in 1984’, commissioned by the Stchting Toneelraad in Rotterdam in 1981, and subsequently toured in Europe and the UK.
Part Three. 'In Dusseldorf and Nebraska’, a Performance in memory of Joseph Beuys. Made in 1988 and performed exclusively at the Company’s base, St Stephen’s Theatre Space.

The three very different productions, made over a period of fourteen years, taken together articulate a comprehensive account of Moving Being’s conceptual, ideological and practical approach to theatre making. Commencing in London in the late 1960’s when new and younger audiences were being attracted to theatre as part of the then burgeoning energy of popular culture, the study charts Moving Being’s transition to Wales in the early 1970’s where the Company made a substantial contribution to the development of theatre and dance, and then work made in Europe before the acquisition of their own performance base in Cardiff Docks in the 1980’s.

The study looks at theatre making as a process of authoring, as practiced by Moore within the context of Moving Being who are acknowledged as pioneers in the use of technology in theatre and performance. Moving Being have witnessed and participated in an ever widening inter-disciplinary approach to theatre making and seen the absorption of many exploratory techniques into the mainstream. The Conclusion of the study looks at the ways in which the legacy of such experiments conducted by Moving Being and others in the late 20th century can be seen in the 21st century in the emergence of a number of individual theatre artists and creative companies working in relation to new technologies and re-defining performance practice and the dramatic repertoire in fundamental and evolutionary ways.


Brian Morrell – Title: How Music Creates Meaning. (PhD by Portfolio)
Director of Studies: Professor Paul Carr
Supervisor: Dr Rob Smith

My area of study concerns itself with ‘how music creates meaning’. Having written three books on film music, I am about to embark on a PhD to pursue this field of study by placing my research in more of an academic framework. The research in my existing books discuss harmony, composition, orchestration and production of music for film and television but the centre of gravity for the research is how music, and harmony in particular, helps and embellishes the narrative function of the film. I discuss how and why we have music in film, what the function of film music is and why it is so pivotal in making films communicate to audiences. The issue of how, why and under what circumstances music can be said to convey a sense of ‘meaning’ to listeners lays at the heart of my existing research and will form the basis of my PhD.


Sarah Pace: The Role of Artists in the Regeneration of Communities in South Wales.
Supervisors: Emeritus Prof. Hamish Fyfe, Dr Hilary Ramsden


Caroline Parsons
Supervisors: Dr Coral Houtman, Dr Márta Minier


Ian Rowlands
Supervisors: Professor Lisa Lewis, Dr Márta Minier


Leonie Sharrock
Supervisor: Professor Lisa Lewis


Ian Staples
Supervisors: Dr Márta Minier, Dr Rebecca Williams


Luke Thomas – Title: The ‘New Music Industry’ in Smaller-Language Cultures: An Investigation into Media and Broadcasting Policies in Wales and Beyond.
Director of Studies: Professor Paul Carr
Supervisors: Dr Rob Smith, Professor Ruth McElroy

This research will compare current circumstances in the Welsh popular music industry with those in other small nations, focusing largely on the tension between commercial success and the compromise of perceived cultural identity. In their 1984 study, Wallis and Malm looked at the changing music industry in twelve small nations, Wales among them, and investigated the balance between a ‘universal westernised pop’ and the ‘common soul’ of a country. This seminal study will be revisited in the context of a changed music industry, changed official protections of the various languages at issue, and a wider-reaching, mainstream, worldwide popular music culture, within which this is all happening. The research will offer an opportunity to look at ways of improving the economic stability of the Welsh popular music industry, while exploring the underlying threat to Welsh national identity, which for many, currently hinges on the language.


Sera Moore-Williams (PhD by Portfolio)
Supervisors: Professor Lisa Lewis, Sian Summers


For a list of current MRes students, please see here.