Centre for Culture in Society
The Centre for Culture in Society focuses on interdisciplinary research relevant to practice communities, policy-makers, and wider society. It aims to explore the in/exclusionary relationships in the creative industries, examine the intersections between communication and culture, engage with diversity in cultural memory, develop creative practices, and interrogate social justice issues surrounding voice, representation, and agency.
Formerly the Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies (CCCMS), it was renamed the Centre for Culture in Society in 2023 to reflect more accurately the research and knowledge exchange members are undertaking as part of innovation, consultancy, and grant-funded projects. The new Centre title better expresses the impactful and applied nature of our world-class and internationally excellent work.
Our Research & Impact
The Centre for Culture in Society aims to explore the in/exclusionary relationships in the creative industries, examine the intersections between communication and culture, engage with diversity in cultural memory, develop creative practices, and interrogate social justice issues surrounding voice, representation, and agency. It focuses on interdisciplinary research relevant to practice communities, policy-makers, and wider society.
The Centre aims to question and to deliver innovative exploratory and reflective research, with direct application and relevance to culture, communities, policy and practice.
The Centre’s character reflects its basis in the humanities, focusing on human imagination, creativity and criticality with a view to the greater understanding of the human condition thus making a contribution to society and meeting Queen Margaret University (QMU)’s mission to improve the quality of life.
Critical theoretical research is clustered around cultural policy, production and consumption; professionalised applied communication practices; textual analysis of film; adaptation; representation.
Our work has tackled themes such as cultural spaces and cultural intermediaries, identities, lifestyles, discourse, spectatorship and audiences.
The Centre aims to focus on:
- cultural and creative industries including cultural policy/ arts management/cultural participation;
- communication management and applied communication;
- critical approaches to culture/ communications/media including cultural production and consumption; and
- cultural memory, representation and voice
Centre staff have expertise in arts management and cultural policy, professional communities and practices in arts, culture and communication; film and media analysis; the music industry, digital media and communication management, cultures and histories (heritage).
This project responded to the need identified by the Scottish Government following its establishment of the Scottish Youth Commission on Alcohol (SYCA). The Commission articulated the need to promote and evaluate peer education approaches and the desirability of young people acting as ‘co-designers of alcohol and education packages’.
This project, known as the AlcoLOLs, addressed these recommendations directly producing a range of outcomes. This intervention has generated a new model of communication practice to deal with sensitive issues and risk behaviours. The project adopted the methodological approach of action research to help young people to change their practices of learning about alcohol (focusing on three types of knowledge: reflective, relational and practical) through a peer-led collaborative approach. The intervention was designed to create learning and self-reflection and was carried out through pupil led dialogue groups working in six high schools in Edinburgh with diverse groups of pupils aged between 14 - 18 years old. This intervention programme provided evidence of self-realisation, self-esteem and personal growth benefits amongst the pupils from these six schools. The programme also had an impact on the thinking of the Scottish policy community in relation to public health communication approaches on the issue of young people and alcohol.
The Centre focuses on three cross disciplinary research themes:
Culture and cultural /creative industries
- Cultural policy and the relations between cultural production and consumption
- Arts management and cultural participation
- Critical approaches to festivals, film, and new media
- Cultural memory, representation, and voice
Communication and culture
- Digital media and journalism
- Informational justice and political cultures
- Critical dialogue
- Creating knowledge through doing
- Drama, Theatre, Film, Visual Art, and other expressive forms
- Reflection and development of practice as a research tool
These broad areas are tackled from a range of disciplinary perspectives; (cultural studies, anthropology, geography, history, education, literature, political science) and theoretical and methodological approaches (cultural theory, critical theory, textual analysis, discourse analysis, ethnography).
We welcome enquiries and applications relating to any of the areas of current activity. Consistent with the critical focus of research conducted within the Centre, we welcome applications for research that combines theoretically robust critique with an interest in practices, be they creative, discursive or institutional in nature.
Initial enquiries can be made to Professor Rebecca Finkel, or to individual members of the Centre who are engaged in the relevant area of research.
Centre for Culture in Society - Doctoral Student Profiles
The doctoral students in the Centre for Culture in Society are studying a range of innovative topics which address societal issues by utilising theory-driven approaches and employing creative methodological techniques. Meet the Doctoral Students in the Centre for Culture in Society