Dr Shawn Sobers

Position: Associate Professor: Lens Media

Department: Film and Journalism, Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education (ACE)

About me

My academic teaching roles are;

– BA (Hons) Photography

– MA Research Practice module

– PhD supervisor and examiner

I am an Associate Professor of Lens Media for the department of Film & Journalism, and convenor of the UWE Photography Research Group.

Professionally I’m a filmmaker, photographer and writer.

My work in film and photography is primarily people-based, rooted in personal narratives, hidden histories and untold stories.  As a researcher my work has spanned a wide range of topics, including; community media, creative education, Trans-Atlantic slave trade, disability & walking, and Rastafari culture.

I have chapters and articles published in peer reviewed journals and books, and have spoken and exhibited at a wide range of conferences and events, nationally and internationally.

I co-founded Firstborn Creatives production company in 1999 with Rob Mitchell, and made programmes for BBC 1, ITV West and Channel 4.

A collection of my work can be found at www.shawnsobers.com 

I am currently External Examiner for Ffotogallery / Cardiff Metropolitan University for their Continuing Education Award Photography and Digital Media courses – 2014 – 2018.

I am a member of;

UWE Photography Research Group – convenor


Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC)
Centre for Moving Image Research (CMIR)
Visual Culture Research Centre (VCRG)
Creative Media Research Centre (CMRG)
Visual Social Science Network

Area of expertise

Research Projects – current

Ethiopian Echoes on a British Landscape (2017 – 2018)
AHRC Research Network funded project exploring themes relating to the legacies of Emperor Haile Selassie I, and His family and advsors, living in Bath city from 1936 – 1941.  

Face Value – Portraiture and Self-portraiture in the Dialogic Moment (2015 – 2017)
Exploring notions of voice, power and agency in two bodies of photographic work – the ‘Over The Hill’ portrait studies of Tim Andrews, and the self-portrait work by myself. Funded by CMIR Journal writing bursary.

Research Projects – previous (selected highlights)

Media, Community and the Creative Citizen
Co-Investigator – 2013 – 2015
Media, Community and the Creative Citizen was a research council funded project (AHRC Connected Communities and EPSRC) exploring the value of creative citizenship. www.creativecitizens.co.uk
Walking Interconnections
Co-Investigator – 2013 – 2014
Walking Interconnections was an AHRC Connected Communities research project using walking as a way to identify and make visible the everyday, embodied knowledges of disabled people.
Hidden Presence
Academic Consultant (and original idea) – 2013 – 2015
Exploring creative responses to the presence of Black populations in Britain before the end of the 19th century.  Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council Wales in partnership with Ffotogallery and Chepstow Museum.  http://hiddenpresencewales.tumblr.com/
Co-Investigator – 2007 – 2008
Research the connections between the Transatlantic Slave Trade and National Trust Properties, utilising creative media methods.  Heritage Lottery Fund.  In partnership with National Trust and Firstborn Creatives
Participatory Arts and Media development research
Co-Investigator – 2008 – 2010
Researching and developing resources for participatory arts practitioners in the region through CPD provision.
Making it work: An enquiry into how companies in the community media sector recruit and retain skilled freelancers
Co-Investigator – 2007
Researching the needs of personnel working in the community media sector.
Report, in partnership with Ella Blisset Johnson, Calling the Shots and ABI Associates.
St Pauls Education Research Project
Co-Investigator – 2005
Working with young people, using creative media to research attitudes and opportunities towards education in the St Pauls area of Bristol.  In partnership with St Pauls Unlimited and Firstborn Creatives

PhD, PG Cert, PGCHE, BA (Hons)