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Senior Lecturer in Social Media and Digital Society, University of Sheffield

I was appointed Senior Lecturer in Social Media & Digital Society in the Information School at the University of Sheffield in October 2015. I currently hold the role of Deputy Director of Learning and Teaching (August 2019-present) and Ethics Coordinator (October 2018-present) in my School. I was previously Deputy Director for PGR Student Affairs in the Faculty of Social Sciences (October 2016-September) and Deputy Director of Research in the Information School (March 2016-February 2018). Before moving to Sheffield, I was Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester (November 2009- September 2015). I was awarded the University of Leicester Teaching Fellowship in January 2014 in recognition of my contribution to the enhancement of teaching in the Department of Media and Communication through the development and promotion of digital media technologies. I also received the Leicester Students’ Union Superstar Award in May 2015 for my sensitivity to responding to student learning needs. I am a media and communication researcher with a specific interest in how social media is used to frame contentious political issues within divided societies such as Northern Ireland. I have written one book on the role of the internet in conflict transformation in Northern Ireland (Framing the Troubles Online: Northern Irish Groups and Website Strategy, Manchester University Press 2011) and am currently writing my second on the role of social media in contentious parades and protests in Northern Ireland (due 2021). My work has been published in a number of journals including First Monday, Information, Communication & Society, Journalism, New Media & Society, and Policy & Internet. Recently completed research projects include a British Academy funded study of YouTube footage of the union flag protests in Northern Ireland, a study of how social media is used by first responders during crisis situations funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7) and a Horizon 2020 funded study of how social media can be used to build community resilience against disasters. I have also organised a knowledge exchange seminar for the Economic Social Research Council and been an invited speaker at events organised by the Arts Marketing Association (East Midlands), the European Police College (CEPOL) and the Royal United Services Institute.


  • 2015–present
    Senior Lecturer in Social Media & Digital Society, University of Sheffield


  • 2008 
    University of Glasgow, PhD Politics
  • 2001 
    University of St Andrews, MA (Hons) International Relations and Modern History


  • 2020
    PSNIRA vs. peaceful protesters? YouTube, ‘sousveillance’ and the policing of the union flag protests, First Monday 25(2)- 3 February
  • 2018
    Photographing the Battlefield: The role of Ideology in photojournalist practices during the anti-austerity protests in Greece, Journalism.
  • 2016
    Tweeting for Peace? Twitter and the Ardoyne parade dispute, July 2014, First Monday, 21(11), 7 November
  • 2016
    Researching protest on Facebook: developing an ethical stance for the study of Northern Irish flag protest pages. , Information Communication and Society, 19 (3), 419-435
  • 2015
    Every Little helps? YouTube, sousveillance and the ‘anti-Tesco’ riot in Bristol, New Media and Society, 17(5), 755-771
  • 2014
    Ethical Dilemmas in Researching Social Media Campaigns on Sensitive Personal Issues: Lessons from the Study of British Disability Dissent Networks, Information, Communication & Society. 17(9), 1131-1146
  • 2014
    The ‘Battle of Stokes Croft’ on YouTube: The development of an ethical stance for the study of online comments, SAGE Cases in Methodology
  • 2012
    Community Worker Perspectives on the Use of New Media to Reconfigure Socio-spatial Relations in Belfast, Urban Studies, 49:15, pp.3385-3401
  • 2011
    Framing the Troubles Online: Northern Irish Groups and Website Strategy, Manchester University Press
  • 2011
    'Anti-social' Networking in Northern Ireland: Policy Responses to Young People's Use of Social Media for Organizing Anti-social Behavior, Policy and Internet, Volume 3, Issue 1.
  • 2008
    Googling Terrorists: Are Northern Irish terrorists visible on Internet search engines?, in Spink, A and Zimmer, M. (eds) Search Engines: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, (New York: Springers), pp. 151-177
  • 2006
    Civil Society, the Internet and Terrorism: case studies from Northern Ireland, in Oates, S, Owen, D and Gibson, R.K (eds) The Internet and Politics: Citizens, voters and activists (London: Routledge), pp. 118 – 135


PhD Politics, University of Glasgow, 2008.MA (Hons) International Relations and Modern History, University of St Andrews, 2001.