The Institute for Cultural Analysis, Nottingham (ICAn)
Welcome to the Institute for Cultural Analysis, Nottingham (ICAn). ICAn is the home of Cultural, Communications and Media research at Nottingham Trent University. We were established in 2003 in response to a recognition that, in the new millennium, problems in the social and human sciences generally - in particular in cultural research - have become increasingly dominated by three broad developments:
- the impact of globalisation
- the increasing imbrication of culture, economy, media and technology
- social and political issues arising from the constitution and contestation of cultural identities.
Our role is to coordinate and develop the internationally recognised research base in Cultural, Communications and Media in the School of Arts and Humanities so as to meet the challenges of this emerging research agenda.
Our mission - ICAn defines its mission in the following way:
- The analysis of contemporary cultural phenomena understood as reflexive processes of the constitution of meaning conducted within the institutional context of globalisation.
- The development of a range of new interdisciplinary fields of enquiry constituted by projects which focus on: global knowledge; transnational and diasporic cultures; cultural industries, the arts and cinema; domestic culture and cultures of the everyday; the cultural implications of new media technologies; discursive strategies; emergent forms of identity; inequality and identity.
- A commitment to the rigorous application of theoretically informed academic knowledge in dialogue with knowledge and understandings generated by agents in ‘real world' institutions: arts, media and cultural industries; business corporations; governmental and international agencies; community groups; charities, NGOs and so on.
- The interrogation of the relationship between technology, economy and culture in the development of a democratic, inclusive global public sphere.
- The development of innovative programmes of postgraduate study in cultural analysis.
- The development of collaborative research and teaching with academic and research institutions in the UK and abroad, including collaborations with end-users such as NGOs, charities and corporations.
- The dissemination of the Institute's approach to cultural analysis through publication, seminars and colloquia.
Researchers within ICAn work within four broad but frequently overlapping clusters:
Globalisation, Migration and Diaspora
Although also part of the Centre, this area is of special interest to a number of researchers in our team. Particular areas of expertise include postcolonial theory; studies of migration and diaspora (including their relationship to new and emerging media forms and practices); cultural globalisation; cosmopolitanism; and an emerging ‘culture of immediacy’ associated with the use of new media and communication technologies. The ‘Globalisation and East Asian Cultures’ research group includes staff with a special interest in new media, film and television.
Cultures of the Everyday
Members of this research cluster are primarily concerned with developing approaches to understanding and analysing everyday cultures informed by cultural studies. Particular areas of interest include domesticity and home cultures, food, consumption, lifestyle, holidays, fashion and work. A number of staff have produced collaborative work on aspects of food cultures including TV cookery, food journalism, ethical consumption, culinary capital and classed lifestyles.
Strategies in Communication (SinC)
The Strategy in Communication (SinC) research group was established in the School of Arts and Humanities at Nottingham Trent University in 2005. Its purpose has been to provide an overarching structure for the research activities of the School’s academics in Linguistics. These activities range from the organisation of research symposia and seminars to the promotion of individual researchers’ publications across a range of linguistic disciplines. The research undertaken by SinC members has always had a strong focus on how language is used strategically by speakers. These uses may be to raise health awareness among the general public, perpetuate dominant institutional ideologies, construct regional, ethnic and sexual identities and participate in political, sporting and professional arenas. In all these strategic uses of language, speakers must construct their utterances not merely in accordance with their own communicative goals, but also the mode of communication (online interaction versus speech), the interests and beliefs of the hearer and the ideologies circulating in the wider society.
Theory, Politics and Culture
This research cluster brings together staff with a broad range of interests. The politics of media cultures forms one strand of research, including work on the politics of digital media industries and economies. Particular areas of interest include the politics of labour in new digital economies and the politics of television delivery in a digital era. Building on the ‘Religion and Politics' Seminar Series, the new journal Radical Orthodoxy: Theology, Philosophy, Politics, co-edited with the University of Nottingham, is located within this research cluster. The journal provides a focus for colleagues whose work lies at the intersections of critical theory, radical philosophy, culture and politics. Particular areas of interest include the application of critical theory to domains such as technology and the built environment; deconstruction and Derrida’s critical theory; the ethics and politics of contemporary environmental issues; and the philosophy of film and television.
The Centre for Inequality, Culture and Difference
The centre provides a focus for research that theorises and analyses how the representation, practice and experience of difference produces forms of inequality. Research in the Centre not only explores how such representations, practices and experiences have been contested and reproduced, but also how they inform discriminatory practices and policies. Research focuses on the following areas:
- Age and generation
- Class and legitimacy
- Communication disorders
- Digital inequalities
- Gendered distinctions
- Globalisation, migration and diasporas
- Mental health
- Postcolonial cultures
- Sexuality and queer theory
- Social and environmental justice.
Further details can be found on the centre's blog.
The research unit has hosted numerous conferences, symposia, seminar series and reading groups. There is also a series of ‘Work in Progress’ seminars in which staff and postgraduate research students share the findings of on-going research.
Outreach and impact
ICAn seeks to extend its work from the University into the local community, via public events held in association with the BFI-affiliated Nottingham Broadway Media Centre. ICAn members have also been involved in the development of GAMECITY, the international festival of videogames located in Nottingham. Our staff have worked with various NGOs, public sector bodies and community groups, drawing on their research findings to influence their activities.
Teaching programmes and research supervision
ICAn has a thriving international community of postgraduate research students and supervision to MPhil/PhD is offered across a wide range of research areas We offer an innovative MA programme in Media and Globalisation which attracts students from across the world and a recently established MA by research in Linguistics.