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  • Media Innovation Studio

The Media Innovation Studio is a focus for innovation research within the School and works across all of the various research groupings. Its core members interact with and participate within other groups (and vice versa) – and with other research teams across the university and internationally. It has leading edge expertise in a number of key areas. It has an impressive track record in securing research funding from RCUK. It disseminates its research across a broad range of formats, from high quality traditional academic publishers, to 'grey' literature commissioned by peer reviewed RCUK research bodies, to reports for industry which contribute to an impressive range of ‘real world’ impact. Staff working with it or within it currently are engaged in ground breaking media technology projects involving, for example, motion capture, drones and ways of breathing new life into paper delivered news via the injection of miniaturised electronic circuitry. Other ventures range from investigations of global media in exile to the building of cross platform projects for the BBC. The studio’s core staff are active locally, nationally and internationally in projecting its research – its members regularly deliver high profile invited international talks and lead external workshops that spin off from its latest work. The studio is led by Paul Egglestone, a former independent TV producer working for the BBC, ITV and Sky on regional and network programming

Venue: University of Central Lancashire: 16/17 May 2016

Submission to:

Further information about the event can be found here.

Expertise and Subject Areas

The studio is led by Paul Egglestone, a former independent TV producer working for the BBC, ITV and Sky on regional and network programming, Paul now focuses on digital storytelling. He established ‘Meld’ as a space for creative interdisciplinary thought leadership in journalism and media in 2007. Since its inception Meld has worked with journalists, filmmakers, producers, photographers, games designers and artists from the BBC, Sky TV, The Independent, The Times, the Guardian, Haymarket Media, Johnston press and Trinity Mirror, bringing together the freelances and the sector skills councils and development agencies (BJTC, NWDA, PTC and Skillset) to collaborate on a series of projects addressing the challenges posed by convergence. His current research projects include the EPSRC Digital Economy funded ‘Interactive newsprint’ which is developing a new platform for community news and information by connecting paper to the internet and the NESTA funded ‘Speak-Up-Preston’, a participatory journalism project in partnership with local community and voluntary organisations projects addressing the challenges posed by convergence. As part of this work he developed a major cross platform narrative training programme with the BBC called inFUZE. His recent work includes ‘Bespoke’ ( – EPSRC Digital Economy, a V&A exhibition catalogue for which is available at, a community engagement project, ‘Participants United’ (AHRC), and ‘Big Society’ (AHRC), a community-based initiative using digital stories with home-based workers in social housing (AHRC). In 2010 he was identified as a leading innovator in journalism and media.

Some key examples of the studio’s research linked activities and expertise are provided below.


Insight Journalism

Blending community-centred storytelling and journalism's critical and investigative approach with the skill sets of designers, makers and builders, Insight Journalism offers a radical approach to design and service provision for communities. The result is 'bespoke' design and service solutions that are both inspired and scrutinised by the communities involved. By fostering community action and innovation through storytelling and journalism, Insight Journalism moves beyond simply 'giving a community a voice'. Instead, it seeks to inspire action as a result of the journalistic stories that are told, whether they be through audio, video, image or text (or even a combination of all of these mediums). A central aim is to connect communities to design and creative expertise, and produce innovative concepts and solutions specifically tailored to the storytelling communities. But the method does not simply end here. An integral part of the approach is that journalistic activity continues after the designs or services are installed. As such Insight Journalism provides a critical reflection emanating from the community on whatever design, service or 'innovation' has been created. This in turn constructs a revisioned 'fourth estate' between the communities and those who they partner with. The result is a design ecosystem where stories inform an iterative community-centred design approach that is relevant to the communities who participate.
Since its inception the Insight journalism method has been applied within a number of different research projects on India, the US and the UK.

The Civic Drone Centre

The Media Innovation Studio – in partnership with the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences - has secured substantial funding to power the Civic Drone Centre. Building on the successful AeroSee project, this is bringing together researchers, practitioners, industry and volunteer organisations to explore the potential for the use of unmanned vehicles for a range of real-world applications – from ‘drone journalism’ to underwater searches, pollution monitoring, aerial surveys and delivering medication to isolated communities.


Sustainability and the news business

Clare Cook’s expertise lies in the area of sustainable revenue streams and startup business model innovation. This includes co-authoring the Submojour database of sustainable business models on the web ( and a corresponding theoretical critique of niche journalism. She has undertaken research on behalf of, and funded by, Internews Europe to investigate sustainability in restrictive news environments. The research resulted in recommendations to develop methods for collaborative revenue capture. She has been invited to present her work here and abroad (Mindtrek 2011; Obsweb11; Medias11; Mindtrek 2013; CNMJ 2013). She acts as a steering member of the Media Lab Session ( international startup network and on the Communities and Culture Network.


An example of the Studio using its research to inform professional practice

The studio has been delivering a programme for Trinity Mirror’s senior editorial staff which derives directly from its research experience and expertise. Led by Andy Dickinson, a series of immersive and interactive training sessions held in our studio space in Preston have tackled a range of challenges posed by changing audience behaviours and the transition to digital ways of working.


  • Development of the "Insight Journalism" research methodology
  • Development of Citizen Media and Content Bureaus throughout Kenya
  • The Media Innovation Studio offers training and consultancy services to a range of media and publishing organisations
  • Through the Interactive Newsprint project, development of a new platform for community news using cutting-edge printed electronics technology.



Clare Cook, Senior Lecturer

Clare is an award-winning journalist with ten years’ experience in the print and magazine industry. She is passionate about innovative storytelling and social media for journalism. She has also presented and taught around the world on journalism business models and startup sustainability.



John Mills, Research Associate

John’s research activity includes the hyperlocal/digital design project Bespoke, which formulated the immersive community media methodology ‘Insight Journalism’, Interactive Newsprint – which is developing a new platform for community news using printed electronics. He currently teaches multimedia journalism techniques and theory at UCLan. His other research interests have recently examined the potential for mobile platforms to facilitate professional and citizen journalism both within the UK and internationally. He has an MA in 19th century Literature and Culture; specialising in representations of the self within a regenerative urban environment. Professionally, John has established business-to-business editorial operations in Manchester and Leeds for online news agency Adfero, and managed large teams of online correspondents both in the UK and further afield.


George Ogola, Senior Lecturer

George is an alumnus of the University of the Witwatersrand where he pursued his MA and PhD. He previously worked as a journalist at the Standard newspapers in Nairobi and as a news and features correspondent for newspapers and magazines based in South Africa and the UK. His research work is interested in understanding the impact of new media technologies on the broader media ecology in the developing world and how they address questions of power and democratization.


Debbie Williams, Senior Lecturer

Debbie Williams is Head of UCLan Publishing, UCLan’s own publishing house and a Lecturer in Publishing
She has over ten years’ experience of working in the book and publishing trade. She was a buyer for Waterstone’s head office and was responsible for project managing the Harry Potter events across the country.
Debbie is passionate about innovations in student experience, learning and teaching. As head of UCLan Publishing she has led several projects which give students the opportunity to learn by practice and to experience other cultures on trips to Africa and Asia.

Debbie has given papers at many international conferences including the International Conference of the Book and the Bologna children’s book fair. Her main research interests are digital publishing, the profile of the future book consumer and community book production in Africa (particularly Kenya).

Debbie continues to work closely with the publishing, bookselling and writing communities.

Related Projects


Interactive Newsprint

Participants United

Speak Up Preston


Insight Journalism and Punchdrunk: Sleep No More

Drone Journalism