Audio Culture Research Unit

Audio Culture Research Unit is a platform for research exchange, faculty seminars and series of events that explore the sonic aspects of culture. ACRU is a School of Performance and Screen Studies (PASS) initiative, based at Kingston University in London, home to many great researchers working across the fields of philosophy, critical theory, music, dance, sonic theory, film and theatre. Grown out of such a transdisciplinary setting, ACRU promotes synergies between faculty members and graduate students, as well as between Kingston and other institutions (academic or art/ culture sector) based both in the UK and abroad. It is a space for the investigation of the speculative, creative and experimental aspects of sound and for cross-pollination between rigorous theoretical concepts and innovative art practice.

Creative Process Research Unit

The Creative Process Research Unit is a platform for sharing and developing research and practice about processes and practices of making. Situated in the School of Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University, it engages with theatre, performance, dance, film, TV, media and music.  Its main areas of interest are: creativity and culture, documentation and analysis of artistic processes, collaborative practices, inter-disciplinary dialogues, digital practices, performance, philosophy.

Members: Philip Chambon, Abbe Fletcher, Caroline Lofthouse, María Mencía, Alex Mermikides, Daniela Perazzo Domm, Fleeta Chew Siegel, Jackie Smart.

Contact: Dr Alex Mermikides or Dr María Mencía

Popular Culture Research Unit

The Popular Culture Research Unit (PCRU) is an interdisciplinary research group housed within the School of Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University, comprising scholars in the areas of both practice and theory from across Film, TV, Media and Communications, Dance, Drama and Music. The guiding principal of the group is to foster and support investigation into popular culture and performance in all is myriad forms by creating a space in which researchers and practitioners can share ideas within a multi-disciplinary environment, explore points of synergy and intersection, and find help and guidance from their peers. PCRU will foster the generation of new collaborations and plans, which can lead to innovations both in practice and theory.

Deliberately broad in its conception, like popular culture itself, PCRU encompasses stage and screen, art galleries and concert halls, still and moving images, publishing and performance, past and present, practice and theory. It explores artefacts and ideas, texts and contexts industries and audiences. It creates culture through the investigative act and examines the conditions of consumption. Above all else it tests, challenges and examines the values and ideas within our regional, national and global cultural landscapes. It’s purpose is not to define popular culture, but to discover it. A

PCRU’s areas of research include the following broad themes:

  • Film Studies and Film making
  • TV and Broadcasting
  • Dance and performance
  • Drama and performance
  • Music and performance
  • Installation and creative spaces
  • Creative writing
  • Media and publishing
  • Digital Media and Interactive Media
  • Transmedia forms
  • Photography
  • History, aesthetics and theory
  • Fandom and audiences

Through meetings, workshops and discussion groups, PCRU aims to bring together, disseminate, share and celebrate the ongoing scholarship into popular culture and performance within the School.

Latest from the Audio Culture Research Unit


Latest from the Creative Process Research Unit

Latest from the Popular Culture Research Unit

Lendl Barcelos

Lendl Barcelos is a, kataphysician, artist and philosopher. He is a researcher at the ACRU at Kingston University in London, UK. His work has appeared internationally via The Passive Collective, TATE Britain, OR Gallery (Berlin), V4ult, /V\inibar (Stockholm), Performing Arts Forum, MIT Press and Her Royal Majesty. He is also part of ASOUNDER and the collaborative artist 0[rphan]D[rift>].

Simon Brown

Simon Brown is Associate Professor of Film, TV and Media at Kingston University and the leader of the Popular Culture Research Unit. He has published extensively across a variety of subjects and his main research interests in film are early cinema and the development of the global film industry, British cinema, the history of colour cinematography, 3D, the horror genre and also adaptations. His book on early British cinema, Cecil Hepworth and the Rise of the British Film Industry 1899-1912 was published in 2016 by the University of Exeter Press, and he is currently working on a book on film and TV adaptations of the works of Stephen King. Within TV studies he is interested in 3DTV and also contemporary American television, and has written about a number of key series including Alias, Dexter, The X-Files, Supernatural and Under the Dome.

Philip Chambon

Philip Chambon studied music and recording on the BMus Tonmeister course at the University of Surrey. He has extensive professional experience as a composer, producer and performer in the music and TV industries. He has been signed as an artist to Warner Bros and Sony record labels. He has had songwriting publishing deals with United Artists, Island Music and ATV Music. He has composed many Film and TV scores, as well as music for visual art installations, marketing campaigns and library music labels.

Daniela Perazzo Domm

Daniela Perazzo Domm is a Lecturer in Dance at Kingston University. Her research interests revolve around questions of subjectivity and collectivity in contemporary choreography and dramaturgical processes, with particular attention to the notion of the ‘minor’ in interdisciplinary and experimental performance practices. She received her PhD in Dance Studies from the University of Surrey, funded by a university scholarship. Her doctoral research constructs a poetics of the work of the British choreographer Jonathan Burrows. She holds an MA (with distinction, AHRC funded) in Performance and Culture from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She contributed to Decentring Dancing Texts (Lansdale, 2008), has published in academic journals (Contemporary Theatre Review, Choreographic Practices) and dance periodicals (Dance Theatre Journal,Danza & Danza). She is a founding member of the cutting-edge performing arts festival ‘Uovo’ (Milan, Italy).

Isabella van Elferen

Isabella van Elferen works at Kingston University London, where she is Professor of Music and Director of Research for the School of Performance and Screen Studies. She is Division Head of Visual and Performance Arts and Audiences for the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts. Isabella’s research areas include film, TV, and videogame music; musical critical theory; Gothic, horror, SF and fantasy; and baroque sacred music. Her last book is Gothic Music: The Sounds of the Uncanny (2012), which won the Alan Lloyd Smith prize for best book in Gothic Criticism 2011-2013.

Abbe Fletcher

Abbe Fletcher is a filmmaker and practice-based researcher. As senior lecturer at Kingston University, she supervises practice based PhDs in film making and co-founded the MA in film making in the school of Performance and Screen Studies. She is a founding member of (women’s independent collective) films. Her research interests include experimental and documentary film practice, the intersection of filmmaking and family life and the films of Rose Lowder, Dziga Vertov, Kurt Kren and Stan Brakhage. She is particularly interested in investigating the processes of filmmaking, printmaking, drawing and textiles and the importance of play in creativity.

Recent outputs include:

Film maker in the Family, a curated screening at the BFI (September 2016). Essay on 48 Heads of the Szondi Test in Kurt Kren: Structural Films, edited by Rees, Hamlyn and Payne (Intellect 2016). Pulpo y pandereta, 2014, short film; Role Reversal Rehearsal, performance and film collaboration with artist Jessica Akerman published as 7 positions in 2 hours, in MaMSIE’s Studies in the Maternal ( 2013); My Mild-Mannered Mother-in-Law from Mildmay, film with Akerman 2013; The Road to Gibara in Cuba, 2010.

She welcomes research supervision enquires in the areas of: filmmaking at the margins, women filmmakers, filmmaking and family life, community filmmaking, experimental and underground filmmaking, screenwriting and documentary.

Vânia Gala

Vânia Gala is a choreographer and researcher based in London. She holds a MAC with Distinction from Trinity Laban. Since 2015 she is PhD candidate at Kingston University and a PASS studenship awardee. Collaborations as performer have involved Les Ballets C. de La B., Constanza Macras and Sonia Boyce. Recent creations include “Cooling Down Signs” a Pan-European commission by Beyond Front@ performed at Dance Week Festival (HR), D.I.D (AT), Front@ Festival (SI), Bakelit (HU). Gala’s choreographies, scores and performance lectures rely on acts of attending to invisible things or systems as central players of the performance. Her work explores the potential of absence (and the non-human) in the present information era.

Eleni Ikoniadou

Eleni Ikoniadou is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at Kingston University and leader of the Audio Culture Research Unit. She is author of The Rhythmic Event (MIT Press, 2014, Technologies of Lived Abstraction series), co-editor of Media After Kittler(Rowman and Littlefield International, 2015), and co-editor of the Media Philosophy series (RLI).

Leah Kardos

Leah Kardos is a musician/enthusiast/academic who is currently active in contemporary classical, experimental, media and commercial music circles. As a writer, her fascinations include the arts of record production, digital creativities and the semiotics of sound in contemporary musics. A signed artist with Bigo & Twigetti, her creative work focuses on the communicative power of timbre, memory and pattern recognition, and the beauty of spaces, having recently worked with performers and ensembles such as Ben Dawson, Laura Wolk-Lewanowicz, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and Australian chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru. Originally from Brisbane, Australia, she currently lectures in music at Kingston University, London.

Anna Kontopoulou

Anna Kontopoulou is an organiser, researcher, educator and curator. Experimenting with alternative modes of public participation, knowledge production and instituted ‘activisms’, she has developed educational and curatorial initiatives at institutions including Tate, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), New Contemporaries and LUX. She is a PhD candidate, London Graduate School (Kingston University) working on a project titled: Curation of Autonomy. Her current interests include exploring the intersections between ‘radical’ education, dialogical aesthetics, and organised listening.

Caroline Lofthouse

Caroline Lofthouse is a Senior Lecturer in Dance and a founding member of the dance degree at Kingston University. She joined the department in 2008 after working as an independent dancer, choreographer and educator for 11 years. During this time, she performed extensively and worked with many leading choreographers such as, Jonzi D, Yael Flexer and Filip Van Huffel. She has been a faculty member at London Contemporary Dance School and taught contemporary dance technique for 2 years on the Candoco Foundation Course for Disabled Dancers. Her research is centred around somatic practices for dancers (particularly yoga and how this supports the dancer), inclusive practice and training methods for disabled dancers and choreography. In 2006, Caroline received a ‘Fund for Excellence’ scholarship from London Contemporary Dance School, to undertake an MA in Dance Training and Education.

Dr María Mencía

Dr María Mencía is an artist/e-poet, practice-based researcher and teaches in the Department of Film, Media and Television. She is an executive member of the Electronic Literature Organization Board of Directors (ELO).

With backgrounds in English Philology, Fine Art and Design, her doctoral research in Digital Poetics and Digital Art (2000-2003) was one of the first in the field of Electronic Poetry. Her research is at the intersection of language, art and digital technologies. It explores multimodal digital textualities, interactive narratives, poetics of engagement, digital literacies and data visualisation poetics. It is trans-disciplinary, bringing together different cultural, artistic and literary traditions such as: linguistics, translation, fine art, visual, concrete and sound poetry, with digital poetics, digital writing, and new media art theories and practices.

Her research is exhibited and presented widely at international events and published in online platforms of electronic literature as well as more traditional print journals. Her forthcoming publications include a collection of 28 essays by women working in Electronic Literature #WomenTechLit published by West Virginia University Press.


Grants awarded to conduct research at international institutions include: AHRC-RMIT Melbourne, Australia; Kingston Promising Researcher Fellowship-New York University; Honorary Fellow, TIES Grant -Key Centre of Design Computing and Cognition, The University of Sydney, Australia.

She welcomes the opportunity to supervise PhD students in any area that relates to her research.

María Mencía personal website

Alex Mermikides

My overarching teaching and research interests are in contemporary performance and the processes of their creation: how we negotiate creativity and the creative process (particularly in a collaborative context); how ideological and economic factors impact upon this. Most of my teaching focuses on writing for performance and devising, which I approach through practice and critical engagement with new British performance. Publication in this area include Devising in Process (co-edited with Jackie Smart). My current research and creative practice explores the rich and ambivalent relationship between contemporary performance and medicine. I run Chimera, a performance/research network that brings together scholars and practitioners in performance, medicine and healthcare. Recent outputs include bloodlines (2014-2016), a dance/lecture on patient experiences of deadly leukemia (AHRC), Careful (from 2016), an immersive performance exploring the science of empathy and meaning of care (Arts Council of England); and Performance and the Medical Body (co-edited with Gianna Bouchard).

I will consider research supervision on: performance and medicine; performance and science; performance-making (esp. interdisciplinary and devised); writing for performance.

Landé Pratt

Landé Pratt is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at Kingston University. Her teaching and research is creative industries focused, including: IP and cultural property rights (e.g. in music, remix culture, design and visual arts) and, film and music distribution. She produces media practice projects and engages in research & enterprise issues relevant to creative industries across cultures. Landé is a barrister (NP) and, prior to Kingston, she project managed, the BFI’s archive on the history of British film and television.

George Reid

George Reid is a PhD student at Kingston University, London. He graduated in 2014 with a first-class BA degree in Creative Music Technologies and has since completed an MA by research, prior to keenly continuing his research into videogame music fandom through a PhD. Through the theoretical framework of Rosi Braidotti’s Nomadic Subjectivity, George’s current research analyses the creativity of contemporary chiptune subculture as affective and nomadic movements. Aside from his academic work, George enjoys composing retro-wave and chiptune music, sound synthesis and design, reading, creating glitch art, and retro gaming.

Fleeta Chew Siegel

Fleeta Chew Siegel is a practitioner who makes media synergies that are engaging experiences. His work with Sheron Wray on Texterritory won the pair an Art Digital Era award in 2004 and took them on tour to Italy, Romania and Germany. He has worked with the young men of Lambeth Council to create and distribute gripping video shorts to help young people learn about sexual health. In 2006 he completed a documentary on Silicon Valley that epitomizes the philosophy of innovation, entrepreneurship and cultural capital. In Search of the Valley is available to download and stream.

His current work explores the use of audio-visual material to produce an experience of connection with the local space. He continues to work on independent documentary productions.

Visit Fleeta’s page on the FASS Faculty site for contact details, funding and research information.

Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson is a member of the Department of Film, Media and Television. He is the author of Stop Making Sense: Music from the Perspective of the Real (Karnac, 2015) and the editor of Melancology: Black Metal Theory and Ecology (Zone Books, 2014). He is interested in the concept of amusia and has published/written on rap / metal, Merzbow, Yoko Ono, Brian Eno, Scott Walker, David Byrne, David Lynch, among others. 

Jackie Smart

Jackie began her career as a performer-deviser, later moving into directing devised performance, often in collaboration with artists from other disciplines. She is now an Associate Professor in Drama with a research focus on creative process in devised theatre. She has published chapters and journal articles on a range of British theatre and dance companies, including Forced Entertainment, Random Dance, Mathew Bourne’s New Adventures, Optik and Gecko. She is co-editor, with Alex Mermikides, of Devising in Process (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) and, also with Alex, maintains an ongoing project on women and devising, with a chapter on this topic forthcoming in July 2016.  Other recent published work concerns the ways in which the emotion-cognition relationship plays out within group creative exchange. Jackie has a parallel and complimentary interest in pedagogy and has recently been engaged on an exploration of the way students feel about working collaboratively.


Doctoral Supervision Areas: devised theatre process and practice; other performance-making processes, especially interdisciplinary approaches; inter-personal communication and collaboration; cognition, emotion and creativity.

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