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Current Research

Research is a rich, central and essential part of the School of Communication, in which both staff and students are involved. Our Research Degrees are grounded firmly in research theory and methods, while maintaining and encouraging a high degree of creativity and experimentation. The School welcomes research applications to contribute to the development of an innovative research environment, including practice-based (a project grounded in research) and practice-led (written thesis, drawing from practice) MPhil and PhD Degrees, which are joined by our new offering, MRes (Communication Design).

We have a vibrant research community comprised of staff and Research students whose work, both through practice and scholarly publishing, spans the full range of contemporary design and media environments. Research-active staff also contribute to media and contextual practices through publication, exhibition and curation of their own work and that of their peers and colleagues nationally and internationally.

There are three thematic areas for developing research in the School, linking our students, staff and knowledge exchange activities across disciplines:


Our research into the transformation of publishing and content distribution focuses reciprocally on making public and public making, encompassing the development of future models for publishing and cultural institutions, the critical practices of writing, designing and publishing, the possibilities of new digital technologies and their effects on readership, distribution and the experience of published materials.


Our research into the construction of identities spans public and private contexts, from developing identity design strategies for commercial and social enterprises to shaping new thinking in commercial, social and cultural communication. Our researchers are active in producing physical and digital interactions to support areas such as mental and emotional wellbeing, alternative economic strategies, learning and community coherence. Their research includes activities such as visualising public and private digital activity, mapping speculative bio-digital human futures, and documenting narratives of immigration and national identity.


Our research into the shaping of experience seeks to better understand how people create experiences from information and materials in everyday contexts, and to enhance human and user experiences through speculative, inclusive and critical design. Drawing on human computer interaction, architecture and spatial design, pedagogy and data visualisation, our experience research crosses cultural, social and commercial contexts resulting in, for example, the development of cultural learning environments, interactive devices and structures, and digital applications and media.

Research students, who are often professionally engaged in teaching, writing and exhibitions, contribute to the research culture by progressing their own original topics, and by active involvement in critical seminars and forums. We encourage researchers to associate with more broadly with relevant programmes offered in the School, and to take their work and ideas out into the wider world through external conferences and symposia, as well as to actively engage in developing work for the gallery, print, the environment, digital and other forms of media and dissemination.

"Advancing the field of communications in the widest contexts, research in the School of Communication is seen as a conduit for new ideas, methodologies and practices." Tom Simmons

School Research Leader

Type Diversity Poster, Karen von Ompteda
Type Diversity Poster, Karen von Ompteda