School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Research is central to the School’s success. The vast majority of staff publishes their work in high-rating journals and with reputable publishers. Many secured external funding from the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy. The school’s achievements are reflected in the high rating members of the staff received in the last REF exercise, most importantly in Culture, Communication and the Media, English Literature, History and Social Work. View the REF results. The school’s director of research and innovation is Professor Ewa Mazierska.

Among many specialisms of the members are the history of the Labour Party, history and popular culture in the North of England, Victorian literature and theatre, and everyday life and culture of the Muslim community in Britain.

The school is also involved in several research initiatives.

Caryl Philips

The Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR) is a research institute utilising UCLan’s interdisciplinary and internationally renowned research pedigree in African Atlantic studies.

Antique writing

UCLan’s Literature and Cultures staff are internationally respected scholars with particular expertise in American literature and culture, British literature and non-British European writings.

Film and Media

Within the wider remit of media and popular culture, staff in the Film and Media group pursue path-breaking research in key areas of interest. Marx at the Movies Forum debates the interface between Marxism and all forms of the moving image.

Teaching on all courses is research-informed and many staff are research active which ensures we offer dynamic and exciting topics for students to study.

The school has over 30 postgraduate students engaged in research.


From November 2015 members of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Film, Media and Performance set up an internal ‘University of Central Lancashire Music Research Group’. The Group’s steering committee consists of

The purpose of this network is facilitating communication and collaboration between all staff in UCLan interested in music. The Group met several times in the last academic year and in 16-17 May 2016 organised its first event: a 2-day conference ‘Future of Music’. It brought together experts from the world academia and the music industry for the inaugural, two-day Future Sound Music Conference
Activities at the Preston Campus included;
  • Day 1 - Two keynote speeches and the presentation of a further 15 academic papers.
  • Day 2 - Two keynote speeches and three symposiums with 20 accomplished industry figures and representatives from key music institutions

The assembly of experts included distinguished academics and researchers from both the UK and overseas including;

  • Professor Michael Huber from the Vienna-based Institute of Sociology of Music
  • Dr Rupert Till, esteemed academic and author
  • Owen Hatherley, journalist and author
  • Professor Ewa Mazierska, professor of contemporary cinema at UCLan
  • Dr Niall Scott, senior lecturer in ethics at UCLan

The panels were designed to feature expertise covering the main areas of the contemporary music industry, including entrepreneurial thinkers, representatives from key institutions, artists, managers, and people working at the cutting edge of the digital music environment. Areas discussed included current practice, challenges being faced by the music industry, the future creation, consumption, dissemination and monetisation of music.

Industry contributors included Nicola Spokes, Marketing Director for Ministry of Sound Recordings, Alison Lamb from So/ Silva Screen recordings, CEO of Ditto Music Matt Parsons, entertainment industry lawyer Rudi Kidd, Paul Quirk from the Entertainment Retailers Association (E.R.A.), Head of Music UK ILR Group David Dunne, royalty expert Daniel Jones from PRS for Music, Matt Wanstall from the Musicians Union, the Editor in Chief and Technical Editor for Sound on Sound Paul White and Hugh Robjohns, celebrated musicians and producers Aziz Ibrahim, Graham Massey, Zed Bias, et al.

Another initiative of the MRG is a research project on popular music in Blackpool. This project is led by Ewa Mazierska, Peter Atkinson, Niall Scott, and Les Gillon, with two research assistants: Kamila Rymajdo and Colin Appleby. Its purpose is to establish the advantages and disadvantages of producing and performing music in Blackpool, the dynamic of different scenes and the role of music in Blackpool’s economy and its image.