Organising Committee 2019

The organising committee at Newcastle University are available for any questions you may have about the conference in the coming weeks.

Dr Bethany Usher

Lecturer in Multimedia Journalism

  • Email:
  • Telephone: 0191 208 8131
  • Address: M1.33 Armstrong Building
    Newcastle University
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 7RU

Dr Bethany Usher is a journalist who has written and worked as a staff correspondent for a number of national and regional newspapers. Her research area examines relationships between news, politics and celebrity culture.

She is an experienced leader in Learning and Teaching and the development of innovative pedagogy for journalism, media and creative industries.

Her current research and creative practice is focused on the development, manifestations and societal consequences of the relationships between journalism and celebrity.

Areas of expertise

  • Multimedia and networked journalism
  • Politics and persona
  • News and celebrity cultures

Dr Darren Kelsey

Head of Media, Culture, Heritage

  • Email:
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6474
  • Address: School of Arts and Cultures
    Room 2.81 Armstrong Building
    Newcastle University
    NE1 7RU

Darren Kelsey is Senior Lecturer and Head of Media, Culture, Heritage in the School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University.

Darren has a BA (Hons) in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting, an MA in Political Communication, and a PhD from the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC) at Cardiff University. His research and teaching combines theoretical approaches from media and cultural studies with those of journalism studies and Critical Discourse Analysis. Darren is a mythologist who conducts research on mythology and ideology in contemporary media, culture and politics.

Darren’s recent monograph, Media and Affective Mythologies synergised approaches to critical discourse studies with the work of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and other mythologists. His psycho-discursive approach explores the depths of the human psyche to analyse the affective qualities of storytelling.  This work provided a timely political insight to show how mythology plays an affective role in our lives. Brexit, bankers, institutional scandals, the far right, and Russell Brand’s “revolution” are just some of the topics covered through Darren’s innovative and interdisciplinary research. Darren believes we need to understand more about the power of mythology in modern society and through his research shows how we can begin to engage with this principle.

Darren’s other research interests focus on the role of media and journalism in society and the relationships between media, culture and politics. His has conducted research and published papers on the role of moral storytelling and ideology in relation to a number of topics, including the London riots, the banking crisis, financial discourse and austerity. Darren has also published research on power, surveillance and national security on social media. This work saw Darren developing critical theoretical frameworks around discourse, ideology, context, affect, gender and surveillance to help us understand more about digital media cultures from socio-political and discursive perspectives.   

Dr Gareth Longstaff

Lecturer – Media and Cultural Studies & Head of Teaching and Learning – Media, Culture, Heritage

Gareth is extending his research around the critical use of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis in relation to contemporary representations of gender, masculinity, sexuality, and desire in pornographic and digital / networked media.  He is also interested in emerging transformations, and circulations, of the categories of ‘personal’ and ‘impersonal’ which are reconfiguring how we think about representation and self-representation. In particular, his most recently published work and work in preparation attempts to critically connect these practices with online and offline modes of desire and signification. 

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