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Personal profile

Biography

Tom is a Lecturer in Humanities in the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities. 

His research interests include the study of online fandom, audience and reception studies, and the cultural, economic, and political concerns of the UK videogames industry. Tom is currently writing a monograph on performance, promotion, and fandom within women's professional wrestling, considering case studies from the UK, US, and Japan. 

Prior to working in IIH, Tom was a Senior Research Associate for CREATe, the RCUK funded Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy, contributing to Work Packages at UEA and the University of Edinburgh. Tom studied at UEA, achieving his BA and MA before completing his AHRC-funded PhD thesis (‘Fandom and Beyond: Online Community, Culture, and Kevin Smith Fandom’) in 2013.



Key Research Interests and Expertise

Broadly speaking, Tom's research concerns the production and reception of popular media.

In terms of production his work focuses on the videogames industry in the UK, examining the contexts in which games are made and distributed, particularly at the independent level. This work is chiefly shaped by the input of industry professionals via interviews and workshop discussions. This has led to outputs examining issues affecting the contemporary sector such as cloning, free-to-play business models, cultural value, and transmedia planning.

Focusing on reception, Tom is interested in media audiences, particularly the study of fandom and fan culture. His work is frequently concerned with online communities and their responses to popular culture, and he has researched the new media contexts of a variety of fan cultures, including fans of professional wrestling, Star Wars, and Kevin Smith.

Research Group Membership

Tom is currently affiliated with CREATe, the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy, based at the University of Glasgow. CREATe is funded jointly by the AHRC, EPSRC, and the ESRC. He has previously contributed to two work packages, and is currently undertaking a literature review on the value of videogames tax relief.

Tom was also affiliated with the Tracking IP Across Creative Technologies project (TRI-PACT), based at the Universiy of Brighton and funded by the AHRC. He contributed to the videogames strand of the project, which broadly aimed to facilitate knowledge exchange across a cross-disciplinary spectrum of partners and stake holders, from film, broadcast, and games domains.

Teaching Interests

Now working primarily on the Humanities Foundation Year, Tom has teaching experience across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, including modules in Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies, and the School of Art, Media and American Studies. 

Current Teaching

Videogames: Theory, Practice, and Reception

Introduction to Visual Cultures

Previous Teaching

New Media and Society

Reception and Audience Studies in Film and Television

Film, Television, and New Media

Analysing Film and Television

Humanities: The Key Concepts

Creative Industries

External Activities

Fan Studies Network

Tom is the co-founder and co-chair of The Fan Studies Network, an international collective of scholars working in the study of fandom and fan culture. Formed in 2012, the FSN was created with the idea of cultivating a friendly space in which scholars of fandom could easily forge connections with other academics in the field, and discuss the latest topics within fan studies.

Since 2013, Tom has helped organise seven FSN conferences, three of which were held at UEA (2013, 2015, 2016). In addition, under the FSN banner Tom co-edited a special issue of Participations journal, featuring work from members of the Network.

Norwich Gaming Festival

In 2016 Tom received a UEA Engagement Award for his work with the Norwich Gaming Festival. Running since 2014, the festival is a major celebration of the cultural importance of videogames and highlights the local creative sector as part of this growing industry.