Postgraduate research students

Iwan Bala – Custodial Aesthetics
Director of Studies: Professor Lisa Lewis
Supervisors: Professor Mark Durden
Funder: University of South Wales

In 1999 I published a book called ‘Certain Welsh Artists; Custodial Aesthetics in Contemporary Welsh Art’ (Seren) in which I attempted to formulate a defining term for artists who were culturally, politically and historically aware of their Welsh identity, and who sought ways of expressingthis identity through their artworks. More than anything, it is issues of ‘Identity’ that gave me purpose in writing it, but twenty years later, it is still an unresolved issue that needs further exploration. What constitutes a ‘Welsh’ artistremains a perennial question. Which identity? Whose Identity? The aim of the research is to expand on the initial thesis of ‘Custodial Aesthetics’ and explore how and if it remains relevant twenty years on. The main question is; ‘Is Custodial Aesthetics relevant in Wales?’.


Faye Hannah – Talent Development in Welsh Screen Industries
Director of Studies: Professor Ruth McElroy
Supervisors: Dr Rebecca Williams, Michael Carklin
Funder: University of South Wales

Talent and talent development are terms which have become ubiquitous across creative industries. These terms apply to a very broad cross section of the workforce and have become increasingly visible to researchers and policy makers over the past twenty years. This research examines screen industries’ talent development and creative labour in the context of Wales as a small nation. It focuses on the impact of policy developments for creative industries as a priority sector and key contributor to economic growth. Fundamentally, it considers access to Wales’ creative screen industries as well as the role of higher education in developing creative screen talent in Wales. The Welsh experience is set in context through comparison with another small nation in Europe, namely Denmark. The study involves a mixed-methods approach, including qualitative interviews, analysis of existing policy and industry documentation and statistics as well as desk-based and ethnographic research to detail the triangulated perspectives of industry, education and workforce.


Luke Thomas – Towards a Ladder of Popular Music Support in Wales: the Musicians’ Experience
Director of Studies: Professor Paul Carr
Supervisors: Dr Rob Smith, Professor Ruth McElroy
Funder: University of South Wales

A report for the Welsh Music Foundation (Carr, 2011) identified that support for popular music from the Arts Council of Wales has room for improvement; and that participants in the Welsh industry give the impression they reach a plateau in their career, after which they either change career or move out of Wales. More recently, a music industry experts’ (e.g. John Rostron and Adam Walton) wishlist suggested that the prosperity of Welsh popular music requires improved engagement between Welsh Government and the popular music sector, and better support and training at grassroots level. Via a series of case studies, this research investigates how Welsh policymakers have valued popular music, and ultimately, how resulting initiatives have impacted the careers of popular musicians in Wales.


Gareth Bonello: Deialogau Diwylliannol Cymreig a Khasi: Ymchwil Trwy Ymarfer Creadigol (Welsh and Khasi Cultural Dialogues: Research through Creative Practice) (2020) PhD associated with the Centre for Media and Culture in Small Nations, funded by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and the University of South Wales. Director of Studies: Professor Lisa Lewis. Supervisors: Professor Paul Carr, Dr Rhiannon Williams.

Alex Brady: How is local celebrity created and managed in UK nations and regions? (2018) PhD. Director of Studies: Dr Rebecca Williams; Supervisors: Dr Lesley Harbidge; Professor Ruth McElroy

Nina Jones: Beyond the M25: BBC Television Drama in Wales and Scotland 2003-2013 (2017) PhD. Director of Studies: Professor Ruth McElroy; Supervisors: Dr Rebecca Williams; Professor Steve Blandford

Sian Powell: Adlewyrchu Datganoli: Y berthynas rhwng newyddiadurwyr a’r pleidiau gwleidyddol yng Nghymru ddatganoledig a’u dylanwad ar sylw rhaglenni newyddion y BBC yn ystod Etholiad cyffredinol ac Etholiad y Cynulliad 2011 (2017) PhD (Coleg Cenedlaethol Cymru-funded Studentship associated with the Centre for the Study of Media and Culture in Small Nations); Director of Studies: Professor Ruth McElroy; Supervisor: Professor Lisa Lewis

Rhiannon Williams: Y Capel Cymraeg: Cymdogaeth a Pherfformiad (2016) PhD funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol. Director of Studies: Professor Lisa Lewis; Supervisor: Professor Hamish Fyfe; Dr Sera Moore Williams