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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Dr Paula Hearsum lectures in Media at the University of Brighton specialising in Popular Music and Journalism across four courses: Media Studies BA (Hons), Media, Industry and Innovation BA (Hons), Environment and Media Studies BA (Hons) as well as on Digital Media, Culture and Society MA. She is currently the Staff and Student Experience Lead for the School of Media.

As a practitioner and academic, Paula believes that media is something you do as well as think about. Her professional background includes a decade as a music journalist before moving into new media as an Editor and consultant appearing on TV, radio as well as many public speaking engagements. Having launched the UK's first and leading student community website, studentUK, in 1997, Hearsum went on to work for a variety of companies including BBC, Channel 4 and the Department Children, Schools & Families. She was a regular judge for the Guardian Student Media Awards and has run workshops on new media journalism for industry professionals. She has written for many magazines and websites on music as well having worked as an editorial web consultant specialising in education. Hearsum’s journalistic career includes contributions in the following magazines and newspapers: Vox (Staff Writer), NME, The Times, Red, Everywoman (Music Editor), 1015 (The Times supplement), SoundsThe Mac, Home Entertainment, Enjoy, Leeds Other Paper, Practical Parenting and Juno. She has also published several pieces on parenting.

Paula has a degree in Communication & Cultural Studies with Public Media BA (Hons) Trinity & All Saints, 1989 and Women’s Studies (MA) University of Westminster, 1995. She completed her PhD at the University of Brighton in 2016 focusing on the media representation of the deaths of popular musicians. She is a member of MeCCSA (Media, Communication & Cultural Association), the NUJ, the Media and Communication Research Group, University of Brighton and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music.

Paula has previously lectured at London Metropolitan University, Trinity & All Saints, Leeds, University of Westminster and the University of East London. She maintains and very much enjoys a relationship between academia and media practice through both streams of work and is continually inspired by her colleagues and students through her work at the University of Brighton.

Paula Hearsum’s main focus of research is the examination of the mediation of popular musician’s deaths as way to consider dominant social discourses and narratives. The legal, professional and ethical rules around writing about death are often broken when discussing popular musicians as a group and Paula’s research uses critical discourse analysis to demonstrate in what ways media institutions and the journalists as cultural intermediaries perform the roles of both reflecting and shaping social values. 

Her practitioner background as a music journalist combines with her academic disciplines in Media Studies, Popular Music Studies and Journalism Studies within this body of work, which includes published research in intersecting areas within this work such as obituary journalism, gender debates and Death studies.

Research interests

Supervisory Interests

Dr Hearsum welcomes students undertaking postgraduate research projects that are interested in all aspects of popular music studies, including (but not limited to) music journalism, explorations around music, sexuality and gender and the representations of death and mortality in both music and the wider media and cultural industries. PhD by Publication are also welcomed.

 

Research interests

Publication and peer-review and editorial work

Journal referee

‪Journal of Celebrity Studies. 2013 - reviewed a Lady Gaga forum piece

IASPM Journal. 2013 – Popular Music Criticism. Special Issue

 

Academic publisher referee

 

2013. Palgrave Macmillan – Audio-Vision: Sound and Vision Culture series

2013. Routledge – The Celebrity Journalism Handbook

2012. Sage – Harcup, T. 2014. Journalism. New edition

2012. Routledge - Frost, C. 2012. Journalism Ethics and Regulation. New edition.

Knowledge exchange

External funding peer-review

AHRC Fifty Years of British Music Video - Steering Committee member (Jan 2015-June 2018) https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FM003515%2F1

Knowledge exchange

Events

 

Hearsum, P. 2018-present. MeCCSA Jan 2020 - University of Brighton. Conference committee

Hearsum, P. 2016. IASPM UK and Ireland – Brighton September 2016. Conference organiser

Hearsum, P. 2014.’ Remembering Stuart Hall: Film & Panel Discussion at University of Brighton, College of Arts and Humanities. Conference organiser

Knowledge exchange

Outreach and Public Engagement

Hearsum, P. 2013. ‘Sex and drugs and rock ‘n' roll deaths: how media coverage of musical celebrity deaths reflects social values’. Childhood Bereavement Network. May 2013. Plenary Session.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, School of Media

1 Jul 20151 Jun 2016

Master, University of Westminster

1 Oct 19941 Jun 1995

Bachelor, Leeds Trinity University

1 Oct 19861 Jun 1989

External positions

Member, International Association for the Study of Popular Music

1 Jan 2004 → …

Keywords

  • M Music
  • Popular Music
  • NE Print media
  • Journalism

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Paula Hearsum is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Research Output 2010 2019

  • 7 Chapter
  • 5 Conference contribution with ISSN or ISBN
  • 4 Article

Leaving the Building: Elvis, Celebrity Biography and the Limits of Psychological Autopsy

Duffett, M. & Hearsum, P., 1 Sep 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Transatlantica. p. 1-26 26 p., 1.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Celebrity
Autopsy
Psychological
Book Reading
Richard Nixon

The Rock Press

Hearsum, P. & James, M., 1 Oct 2019, (Accepted/In press) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Rock Music Research. Moore, A. & Carr, P. (eds.). Bloomsbury Academic, 28 p.

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

Alas, Poor Richard: Fandom, Personal Identity and Ben Myer’s Novelization of Richey Edwards’ Life Story

Duffett, M. & Hearsum, P., 13 Dec 2017, In : Volume!. 14, 1, p. 65-84 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Guitarist
Novelization
Life Story
Personal Identity
Academic Research

Three faces of musical motherhood in death: Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston and Donna Summer

Hearsum, P., 28 Sep 2015, Death and the Rock Star. Strong, C. & Lebrun, B. (eds.). Abingdon: Ashgate Publishing, p. 119-133 15 p. (Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series).

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

Amy Winehouse
Motherhood
Artist
Popular music
Music Industry

The Emancipation of Music Video: YouTube and the Cultural Politics of Supply and Demand

Hearsum, P. & Inglis, I., 3 Oct 2013, Oxford Handbook of Audiovisual Aesthetics. Gorbman, C., Richardson, J. & Vernallis, C. (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 483-500 18 p.

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

YouTube
Cultural Politics
Music Videos
Emancipation
Aesthetics