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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Abigail Wincott is a former BBC producer with over 10 years' experience at Radio 4 and the World Service. She teaches journalism and media practice and theory at Brighton, specialising in audio production.

Her research is connected by an interest in authority and expertise in professional cultures and how these are changed by new technologies. For example, how does increasing mediatisation of heritage change the role of museums and challenge the professional values of curators, archaeologists and historians? How can radio and podcast journalists adapt what they do to tell spatialised stories using immersive media technologies?

Wincott uses discourse analysis of multimedia texts including lifestyle articles, TV and radio, Instagram and Twitter and promotional webpages. Recent work also uses geolocated apps, soundscape recording and ambisonic audio production in collaborative projects with museums, community groups and journalists.

Current research projects

Understandings of authenticity in immersive media for heritage sites

Drawing on journalism research in professional cultures, using interviews and observation to ask how heritage and media professionals understand authenticity, and communicate and negotiate their professional values when commissioning, designing and making immersive media for heritage.

Towards a Museum of Sound. with Institute of Citizenship, Society and Change, British Library Sound Archives, Salford Museum and Hastings Museum. Using location based apps to create as a collaborative, creative methodology to develop and evaluate sonic heritage.

Developing immersive narrative techniques for audio journalism. With Kings College London, 4Ground Media and Wired Sussex.

Recent projects

European Waterways Heritages Project: AHRC/EU JPI project. Working with colleagues in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, the Canal and River Trust, local museums and community groups. Using interviews, workshops and the co-production of multimedia heritage trails to help local groups stake their claim in the development canal and canalside heritage narratives. Final webpage here and UK blog here.

Growing Heritage: The politics of heritage vegetables: This doctoral project used a discourse analysis of over 500 ‘texts’ from tweets to food packets to trace how discourses of ‘heritage vegetables’ create heritage value and also assert the right to some groups to safeguard it in sites of special heritage guardianship, which has implications for access to these plant genetic resources in future.

Frugal Foodyism: Exploring the phenomenon of frugal foodyism in the British media. An analysis of a lifestyle media, blogs and promotional materials, articles about food poverty and comments ‘below the line’. Proponents of frugal living claim it offers liberation from poverty and independence from corporations. But this study shows the same themes and assumptions underlying frugal foodyism are directed very differently between lifestyle tips for affluent readers, and the rather unforgiving advice aimed at the poor, in the comments section.

Gatekeeping beyond the newsroom: There have been numerous studies of the strategies employed by news journalists to maintain their professional standing in the age of user-generated content and audience interaction. Here, moving beyond the newsroom, this auto-ethnographic study at the BBC considers a complex and changing power relationship affected by new technology, format and working patterns and concerns to maintain professional status.

Supervisory Interests

Dr Wincott is interested in supervising students in media, journalism, cultural studies and cultural geography, particularly in the following areas:

  • New technology and changing professional cultures in journalism
  • Location-based media, mobile media
  • Heritage and new technology
  • Heritage, space and place
  • Heritage and popular culture
  • Discourse approaches to researching popular culture
  • Participatory and collaborative approaches to research

Approach to teaching

I like to use my experience in media production to introduce innovative and varied activities in my teaching. That means teaching practical and creative skills for media production and journalism in the newsroom, in studio and on location and using real world scenarios to challenge students to practise them. I’m also a researcher and I don’t like to keep theory and practice separate. I introduce them to the latest research and key concepts from media and journalism research and ask students to apply this to realistic industry-based scenarios, and to make choices about their own work.

The media industry changes so fast that knowing how to use one piece of software or one piece of production kit won’t be of use in the long run. But I like to think that core storytelling skills, an inquiring mind and the ability to always question sources of information are things my students will carry with them throughout their careers.

Knowledge exchange

Businesses and organisations I work with:

  • 4GroundMedia Ltd
  • Ancoats Canal Project
  • BBC
  • British Library Sound Archive
  • Canal and River Trust
  • Hastings Bites Back community research project
  • Hastings Museum and Art Gallery
  • Inland Waterways Association
  • Salford Museum and Art Gallery
  • Tameside Archive and Local Study Centre
  • Touchstones Rochdale
  • Wired Sussex/Digital Catapult Centre
  • Wooden Canal Boat Society

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

External positions

External Examiner, University of Chester

1 Oct 201630 Jun 2019

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2013 2018

When Carrots Become Posh: Untangling the Relationship Between ‘Heritage’ Foods and Social Distinction

Wincott, A., 20 Dec 2018, Alternative Food Politics: From the Margins to the Mainstream. Phillipov, M. & Kirkwood, K. (eds.). (Critical Food Studies).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearchpeer-review

industrial production

Constructing risk and guardianship: The discourses of heritage seeds, fruit and vegetables

Wincott, A., May 2017, 234 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisResearch

social actor

Treasure in the vault: the guardianship of ‘heritage' seeds, fruit and vegetables

Wincott, A., 4 Oct 2017, In : International Journal of Cultural Studies.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access

The allotment in the restaurant: the paradox of foodie austerity and changing food values

Wincott, A., 10 Nov 2016, Popular culture and the austerity myth: hard times today. Bennett, P. & McDougall, J. (eds.). Abingdon, p. 28-41 14 p. (Research in Cultural and Media Studies).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch

Open Access

Heritage in danger or mission accomplished? Diverging accounts of endangerment, conservation and ‘heritage’ vegetables in print and online

Wincott, A., 1 Dec 2015, In : Food, Culture and Society. 18, 4, p. 569-588 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
New Age