Karen Cross

Research activity per year

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Personal profile



I am currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Culture where I convene the BA Media, Culture and Identity and BA Mass Communications programmes. I also convene the module ‘Media and Memory’ on the MA programme Media, Communication and Culture, and I have experience in supervising PhD projects linked to my research.


My research is situated broadly within the field of media and cultural studies but takes a particular interest in theorizations of memory and 'the everyday' from feminist, psychoanalytic and philosophical standpoints.

Over time I have written particularly on the topic of amateur forms of photography, including shifts in education and training practices for the amateur, cultural appropriations of amateur forms, especially family snapshots, as well as ‘found photography’ and other artistic methods of appropriation.

I have also written on more broadly on the role of the amateur within the emergence of new digital participatory cultures focusing especially on ‘citizen witnessing’ and the remediation of community and everyday life within the frame of Instagram. This aspect of my work is currently culminating in the production of a monograph entitled Social Photography: Memory, Materiality and the Everyday.

Alongside this, my research has taken a newer direction exploring more directly the value of psychoanalytic perspectives in theorizing play and creativity within digital culture. This represents an area of new and emerging research that focuses on the children’s animation Toy Story and I currently have another monograph under contract to Karnac Press exploring this topic. 


PhD Cultural Studies (The University of East London, fully funded university scholarship)

MSc Research Methods with Distinction (The Open University, fully funded university scholarship)

MA(Econ) Women's Studies and Feminist Research (The University of Manchester)

Research interests

I am interested in supervising projects relating to my research and am happy to take informal enquiries. 

Current PhD Supervision

Elif Grant, Shifting spaces of activism and social media in protest.

Jo-Ann Cruwagen, The capacity to be alone in the presence of media screens.

Vasiliki-Ioanna Alexopoulou, A digital home for the Greek diaspora (practice).

Completed PhDs

(2017) Theodora Thomadakis, On the Couch with Makeover TV: Psychoanalytic approaches to reality television, gender and audience.

Peer review

I have reviewed articles for various journals, including: Photographies, Visual Studies, Information, Communication and Society (iCS) and Free Associations for which I was Reviews Editor. I have also reviewed monograph proposals for Palgrave Macmillan and Bloomsbury on topics relating to my teaching and my research. 

Professional affiliations

In 2019 I became a Founding Scholar of the British Psychoanalytic Council (a scheme recognising academic and scholarly contribution to the advancement of psychoanalytic thinking).

Member of the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy