In Progress

Catherine Baker

Catherine holds a First Class Honours Degree in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin, where she also worked as a research assistant in the Trinity Institute of Neuroscience. She is researching gender-based targeting and harassment online, including the “incel” online subculture. Her research is funded by the Online Civic Culture Centre (O3C) at Loughborough University.

Lewis Brown

Lewis is researching the changing media influence strategies of think tank organisations in the UK, the USA, and Canada. He is funded by a 1+3 studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council’s Midlands Doctoral Training Partnership at Loughborough University.

Simon Collister

Simon’s title is “Hybridity, Materiality & Choreography: Towards a Theory of Mediated Power in a Networked Communication Environment.” Simon studies part time. Following a period as Senior Lecturer in Communication at the University of the Arts, London, Simon has recently returned to professional public relations practice with Blackbook London. Follow Simon on Twitter.

Declan McDowell-Naylor

Declan’s project examines, through ethnographic methods, the processes of “public making” in the development of driverless car technology. His thesis is entitled “The Participatory, Communicative, and Organisational Dimensions of Public-Making: Public Engagement and The Development of Autonomous Vehicles in the United Kingdom.” I co-supervise his project (externally now that I have moved to Loughborough University) with Professor Ben O’Loughlin.

Ellen Watts

Ellen is researching celebrity and popular culture and how this influences political engagement. Here thesis is entitled “Celebrities as Political Representatives: Explaining the Exchangeability of Celebrity Capital in the Political Field.” She is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council South East Doctoral Training Consortium and I co-supervise her project (externally now that I have moved to Loughborough University) with Professor Ben O’Loughlin.

Recently Completed

Dr Nick Anstead (2009)

Nick’s thesis, which was nominated by Royal Holloway’s Department of Politics and International Relations for the European Consortium for Political Research’s Jean Blondel Prize, was concerned with how structural differences between the British and American party systems shape political uses of the Internet during election campaigns. Nick is currently an Associate Professor in Political Communication in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. See Nick’s blog.

Dr Aaron Bastani (2015)

Aaron’s thesis was entitled “Strike! Occupy! Retweet!: The Relationship Between Collective and Connective Action in Austerity Britain.” He is co-founder of Novara Media and a contributor to the Guardian, the London Review of Books, the New York TimesViceLeft Foot Forward, and Open Democracy, among many other outlets. Follow Aaron on Twitter.

Dr James Dennis (2015)

James’ PhD was entitled “It’s Better to Light a Candle than to Fantasise About a Sun”: Exploring Social Media and “Slacktivism.” His research provides an extended critique of the popular idea of “slacktivism,” and he sets this out with a radical and highly innovative multi-method research design consisting of ethnographic fieldwork, media consumption diaries, and a series of lab experiments. He was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council South East Doctoral Training Consortium and I co-supervised him with Professor Ben O'Loughlin. James was awarded his doctorate in November 2015 and from June 2016 he is a permanent Senior Lecturer in Journalism in the School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies at the University of Portsmouth. His dissertation was awarded the American Political Science Association Information Technology and Politics Section Best Dissertation Award, 2017. For more information about his research and teaching, see his website.

Dr Christopher Frazier-Crawford Boerl (2012)

Christopher researched the internet’s role in civic engagement, mobilization and social capital, based on an analysis of the role of religious organizations in US politics. Dr Boerl was communications manager for Mike Williams for Congress 2012 and currently works for Teach for America, a U.S.-wide educational nonprofit.

Dr Yenn Lee (2009)

Yenn Lee’s thesis focused on mobilisation and civic engagement on the Internet, on the basis of a case study of the Nosama movement in South Korea. Yenn blogs at She is now a Lecturer in social science research methods at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Dr Amy P. Smith (2018)

Amy examined elite control of political communication in the hybrid media system. Her thesis was entitled “Commodification and control: news media agenda setting during the 2015 United Kingdom general election.” She was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council South East Doctoral Training Consortium. I co-supervised her project with Professor Ben O’Loughlin. Amy is currently a lecturer in politics at the the Unversity of Sheffield. Follow Amy on Twitter.