Animation, Media and the Arts Research Group


The Animation, Media and the Arts Research Group undertakes interdisciplinary creative research and investigative practice into many areas including film making, fine art, comics and graphic novels, animation, illustration, performance, computer games, journalism and creative writing amongst other disciplines, often supported by complex use of digital technologies and media.

We are based in the School of Computing, Media and the Arts which offers an exciting and unique environment for projects thrive. Staff work across blurred boundaries with writers and historical experts collaborating with virtual reality practitioners and performers investigating computer games combined with award winning film makers, visual effects specialists and artists.

Members also contribute to Creative Fuse North East, which is a multi-disciplinary, multi stakeholder action research project focused on the strength, diversity and nuanced nature of the North East’s creative, digital and IT sector, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and are also represented on the AHRC Peer Review College.

Research Activities and Current Projects

  • Simon Mckeown. “The Carrying of Passengers is Forbidden” – Invalid Carriages and their Heritage – (2018-2019) Supported by the Heritage Lottery Foundation |
  • Samm Haillay. Island of the Hungry Ghosts (Film - Ger/UK/Aus) supported by the BFI/NRW/MMB |
  • Jennifer Essex. “Space Rebel Princess”, performances in 2018 to include Stockton International Riverside Festival and DN Festival |
  • Dr. Antje Glück . “Emotionality and Rationality in Journalism”. Publication activity.
  • Fionnuala Doran. Book chapter entitled “Alone amidst X-men: Does Rogue Problematize or Challenge Archetypes of Sexuality and Mental Illness?” in “Sexuality and Mental Illness in Comics”
  • Tara McInerney. "Doujinshi: What we're missing out on." - Articles and Documentary Film
  • Julian Lawrence. "The Transversality Hub: Towards a New Mode of Learning for Community Arts Practice" - SSHRC, Canada

Previous Projects

  • Jennifer Essex: “Space Rebel Princess, an interactive dance theatre performance for children and families”.  Performed at festivals across the UK summer 2017.
  • Julian Lawrence "Pedagogical Assemblage: Building and Sustaining Capacity through Mentoring Programs in British Columbia" - SSHRC, Canada
  • Dr. Jared Pappas-Kelley – “Liberate yourself from my vice like grip”, joint exhibition produced Broken Grey Wires |
  • Lesley Hicks. “The Imaginary Museum: Monuments and Landmarks”. 2 June- 30 Sept 2015, Leeds City Art Gallery as part of the Heritage Show + Tell, Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage at University of Leeds.
  • Sabrina Schmid "Abstract Iterations II", Animation film, 4 min. 21 sec, colour, sound, digital movie HD) Film selected for international film festivals: London International Animation Festival 2015 UK; New York City Independent Film Festival 2016 USA; Sydney Film Festival 2016 & Melbourne International Animation Festival 2016 Australia and many more.
  • Simon Mckeown. “Seal Boy the Game” – Simon Mckeown (2016-2018) supported by the Wellcome Trust |
  • Lorraine Smith. “Nightfall 2016”, Middlesbrough. Stellar Projects Commission.
  • Simon Mckeown. “Cork Ignite” – Simon Mckeown (2015) supported by Cork City Council, Arts and Disability Ireland and Arts Council Ireland |
  • Samm Haillay. “LiIGHT YEARS” - Feature Film, Fiction (UK)  2015 Funded by BFI, Creative England, Films@59, Wounded Buffalo, Finite Films with a world Premiere: Venice Film Festival  and the UK Premiere: London Film Festival |

Staff Members

  • Simon Mckeown – Reader and Research Group Lead -
  • Dr. Sarah Obrien
  • Dr. Michael Lent
  • Dr. Pappas-Kelley
  • Dr. Antje Glück
  • Lesley Hicks
  • Samm Haillay
  • Alex Crowton
  • Chrisoulis, Konstantinos
  • Doran, Fionnuala
  • McInerney, Tara
  • Julian Lawrence
  • Jennifer Essex
  • Lorraine Smith
  • Catherine Dixon
  • Ronan Paterson
  • Mick Stockton
  • Sabrina Schmid
  • Katherine O’Connor
  • Shewhorak, Satish
  • Ian Sturrock

PhD Students

  • Isabel Lima: Broken Chords Can Sing A Little: A practice-based investigation into how the migration influx in Europe is critically engaged, through socially engaged art
  • Vici Wreford-Sinnott: Disability Art – An investigation into its history, significance and practice in relation to Contemporary Art ('the mainstream and its ideas of 'radical and alternative art')
  • Paul Grace: Traumatic Potential and Counter-Representation
  • Paul Stewart: Art and Commitment, reclaiming pedagogy: Assessing the role of the artist when instrumentalising practice against western formations of neo-liberal capitalist hegemony
  • Bethany Savage: Critical Theory and Alternative Practices (Practice-based PhD)
  • Linda Stannard: A Practice Based Research into the Effects of Modernism and Modernity on the Lives of the Inhabitants of the Jewel Streets in Middlesbrough between 1886 to 2016.
  • Kaye Elling: Good grief: Deviant behaviours and consumer choices of perceived-minority gamers.

Selected Publications


  • Ronan Paterson. “The Percy in his Border Heartland” book chapter, “Shakespeare in The North and Scotland”, Edinburgh University Press,2019


  • Ronan Paterson. “Send In The Clowns” book chapter, “Shakespeare In Between”, Bratislava, 2018
  • Antje Glück. “Do Emotions Fit the Frame? A Critical Appraisal of Visual Framing Research Approaches”. In: Jomec.
  • Ronan Paterson. “A Shilling a Week” book chapter on Shakespeare in comics, 2018, University of Lodz
  • Lorraine Smith. The Costumographer: A Tool for Embodied Practice (Paper presentation), Conference of Embodied Practice and Performance in the Arts, Canterbury Christ Church University, 05-06/04/18.
  • Jennifer Essex. Selected to speak on the subject of caring for audiences in interactive performance at Critical Care: Audience in Immersive, Interactive and One-on-One Performance at London Southbank University. Published “With a Little Help From My Alien Friends” in The Dance Current (Canada) on the making of the production.
  • Kaye Elling. Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA), is the association for academics and professionals who research digital games and associated phenomena. Kaye will be leading to pedagogical round table presentation during the 2018 conference.
  • Dr Sarah Obrien. Conference Paper - Theatre and Migration – Theatre, Nation and Identity: Between  Migration and Stasis IFTR World Congress, Belgrade, 9 – 13 July, 2018.
  • Simon Mckeown. “Crashes permitted but no passengers allowed”. Invalid Carriages of the UK – a historic dichotomic anomaly. Keynote presentation for “Tagung vergangenheiten | vielfältig | vergegenwärtigen - Geschichte und Historisches Lernen inklusiv”, 5. bis 7. März 2018 – Hildesheim University, Germany.


  • Lorraine Smith. Elizabeth and The Three Sisters (Video & Photography), Cabinets of Costume Exhibition (Parkside Gallery), Culture Costume and Dress Conference, 10 – 12/05/2017, Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, Birmingham City University
  • Tara McInerney. Conference paper - Unoriginal Sin : what can Japanese learning methods tell us about the success of Doujinshi? The Graphic Justice Conference, 3-4 July 2017, St Mary's University Twickenham, London, UK
  • Ian Sturrock. "Total Global Domination" chapter in Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming, Harrigan & Kirschenbaum (eds.) (MIT Press 2017).
  • Julian Lawrence. "The Adventures of Drippy the Newsboy Vols. I & II", Conundrum Press.
  • Jennifer Essex. Selected to speak on the subject of caring for audiences in interactive performance at Critical Care: Audience in Immersive, Interactive and One-on-One Performance at London Southbank University. Published “With a Little Help From My Alien Friends” in The Dance Current (Canada) on the making of the production.
  • Simon Mckeown. “The Cultural Representation of Disability” (Book Chapter) in “Kultur – Geschichte – Behinderung. Die eigensinnige Aneignung von Geschichte”, 2017
  • Ronan Paterson. “Viel Lärm Um Nichts” encyclopedia article, “The Literary Encyclopedia” “The Transformative Wilderness”, article, “Theatre International”, Kolkata, 2017


  • Jennifer Essex. 'Good Vibrations: How mentorship can deepen University learning and how dance can begin to answer the primary social and psychological needs of people living with dementia'  at Well-Being 2016: The third international conference exploring the multi-dimensions of well-being, 5-6 September 2016, Birmingham City University.
  • Michael Lent. Courting Dissolution Adumbration, Alterity, and the Dislocation of Sacrifice from Space to Image. Published by Transcript.
  • Fionnuala Doran. “The Trial of Roger Casement”, chronicling the contested life of Irish rebel, revolutionary and gay icon, Sir Roger Casement, September 2016 published by Self Made Hero.


  • Ian Sturrock. "Love for Dice" chapter in Game Love: Essays on Play and Affection, MacCallum-Stewart & Enevold (eds.) (McFarland 2015)

Additional Material

Example Press from various projects and research group members

Example Research Group organisational membership

  • HEA
  • AHRC (Arts and Humanities Peer Review College)
  • Canadian Comics Scholars (CCS) and the National Art Education Association (NAEA)
  • EAVE
  • ACE
  • ISAN