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Personal profile


I have been a Lecturer in Media with the University of Hertfordshire since March 2023. My main research interest is in fandom, ageing and identity. I was awarded a PhD in communications, cultural and media studies from the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Participatory Culture. My teaching covers both analytical and technical modules, across media and cultural studies, journalism and public relations. I have a degree in sports journalism and worked as a media professional with the Rugby Football League before retuning to university for postgraduate education.

Research interests

My main research focuses are fandom, ageing, identity and participatory culture. I was awarded a PhD in communications, cultural and media studies in March 2022 for the thesis "Sports Fandom in Later Life: The Everyday, Nostalgia and Home" (external examiner: Prof. Denise Bielby, University of California, Santa Barbara; internal: Prof. Matt Hills, University of Huddersfield). Straddling the boundaries of fan studies and cultural gerontology, my PhD thesis was based on in-depth interviews with 35 later-life sports fans (average age 72.5 years). I used a broadly psychodynamic approach (with an emphasis on Winnicottian object-relations psychoanalysis) to explore how older people use textual (fan) objects as anchors of identity whilst navigating the often turbulent later life phases.

Latest Research

Smith, J.A. (forthcoming). "Reconstructive Nostalgia in Later Life Fandom", Journal of Fandom Studies, vol/issue tbc.

Teaching specialisms

My teaching covers both analytical and technical modules. The “analytical” modules I have taught on include cultural, media and journalism studies, as well as research methods modules across undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. I also draw on my practitioner background working in the sports media industry to teach practice-based technical modules like journalistic writing, public relations practice and corporate communications. I am also a supervising tutor for master’s dissertation projects. Topics I have supervised include:

  • Digital media cultures of China-based Premier League football fandom.
  • Racism and racist discourses in UK football fan culture.
  • Fitness influencer fandom and the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Anti-vaxxers, identity and social media.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe fandom.
  • The role of Instagram in the globalisation of NBA.
  • E-commerce and Taobao culture.
  • Purchasing behaviours of K-Pop fans based in China.
  • UK Twitter discourses of veganism and vegetarianism.

Education/Academic qualification

Communications, Cultural and Media Studies, PhD, Sports Fandom in Later Life: The Everyday, Nostalgia and Home, The University of Huddersfield

Award Date: 31 Mar 2022


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