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English and Creative Writing

Photo of Professor Neil Ewen

Professor Neil Ewen

Associate Professor in Media, Communications and Culture


01392 725054


I am an Associate Professor of Media, Communications and Culture. I'm a Deputy Head of the Department of Communications, Drama and Film, and the subject lead for Communications.     I have previously worked at the universities of Winchester, Portsmouth, Southampton, and East Anglia. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I earned my BA in English Studies with Film and Media Studies at the University of Stirling (2001) and my MA in Modernism (2003) and Ph.D. (2010) at UEA, where I wrote my thesis on football and national identity in England and Scotland.     My research interests lie broadly in the politics of contemporary media and culture, and are grounded in the traditions of Cultural Studies. I like to ask questions about power and identity across a range of contemporary cultural forms, including film and television, sport, political communication, and video games. One key thread that runs through my research is celebrity, and how famous figures in different contexts become lightning rods in debates about power, culture, and identity, often mobilising nostalgia, sometimes progressively but often retrogressively.       I'm the co-editor of First Comes Love: Power Couples, Celebrity Kinship, and Cultural Politics (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), Capitalism, Crime and Media in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), and special issues of Television and New Media on the TV show Friends (2018) and Celebrity Studies on populist political celebrities in contemporary Europe (2020). Since 2015, I have edited the Cultural Report section of Celebrity Studies journal (Routledge).      I'm currently working on an edited collection on nostalgia for the 1990s with Professor Shelley Cobb (Southampton) and Dr Hannah Hamad (Cardiff) to be published with Bloomsbury Academic, and books on time and nostalgia in video games for the book series Games and Contemporary Culture (Routledge) which I launched in 2023 with my Exeter colleagues Dr Aditya Deshbandhu and Dr Alexander R.E. Taylor, and Dr Shannon Lawlor. I'm also currently preparing a monograph on football in film and digital media.      I'm an Affiliated Member of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam. I'm also a member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) and the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA). I currently serve as the External Examiner for the BAs in Film Studies, and Creative Writing and Film Studies, at Liverpool John Moores University (2020-2024). I have extensive experience of curriculum development, programme leadership, programme validation, external examining, and PGR supervision and examination.         Office 6, White House, Thornlea, Exeter, EX4 4LA, UK.​ | +44 (0)1392 725054

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I welcome research proposals from prospective candidates interested in working in any aspect of contemporary media culture. I am especially interested in proposals related to the following areas / themes:

  • celebrity 
  • sport 
  • political cultures and communication
  • pre-digital nostalgia and cultural memory 
  • national identity
  • 1990s and Generation X 
  • video games and immersive media 

Research students

I have previously supervised PGR students working on subjects including political cartoons, radical poetry and political resistance, and the cultural politics of 1980s sitcoms. 

Current Students

2022 - present, Karl Gustav Thunberg, University of Exeter, "The Business of Archaeogaming: how productive are the cooperative efforts between the games industry and the heritage industry?" (f/t) 

2023 - present, Razan Seraj Alem, University of Exeter, "Dark Tourism and Digital Storytelling in English Museums" (f/t) 

2023 - present, Ziyi Song, University of Exeter, "Perception, Negotiation and Representation: Cultural Identities of Young British Chinese on Social Media" (f/t)

Ph.D. Completions

2017 – 2020, Shannon Lawlor, University College Dublin, ''This game plays you as much as you play it': Self-reflexivity and technology in video games’ (f/t) – Prof Diane Negra, Director of Studies; Dr Neil Ewen, second supervisor (viva: 29 June 2020)

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| 2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2004 |





  • Manning P, Grattan A, Ewen N, Leaning M. (2021) Introduction, Capitalism, Crime and Media in the 21st Century, Springer Nature, 1-15, DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-56444-5_1.
  • Ewen N, Grattan A, Leaning M, Manning P. (2021) Capitalism, Crime and Media in the 21st Century, Palgrave Macmillan.





  • Ewen N. (2017) Korea celebrity dossier: introduction, Celebrity Studies, DOI:10.1080/19392397.2016.1272858.
  • Ewen N. (2017) Politics, charisma, and the celebrity spectre of Nigel Farage.



  • Ewen N. (2015) The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal, by Orin Starn, Duke University Press, 2011, Celebrity Studies, volume 6, no. 1, pages 144-147. [PDF]
  • Ewen N. (2015) Nigel Farage: celebrity everyman.
  • Ewen N. (2015) The Good, the Bad, and the Broken: Forms and Functions of Neoliberal Celebrity Relationships, First Comes Love Power Couples, Celebrity Kinship and Cultural Politics, Bloomsbury Publishing USA.
  • Ewen N. (2015) The Good, the Bad, and the Broken: Forms and Functions of Neoliberal Celebrity Relationships, First Comes Love Power Couples, Celebrity Kinship and Cultural Politics, Bloomsbury Publishing USA.
  • Cobb S, Ewen N. (2015) First Comes Love Power Couples, Celebrity Kinship and Cultural Politics, Bloomsbury Publishing USA.




  • Ewen N. (2011) Marxism, cultural studies and sport, edited by Carrington, B. and McDonald, I, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, volume 3, no. 2, pages 301-304. [PDF]


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External impact and engagement

Contribution to discipline

Section Editor, Cultural Report, Celebrity Studies (Routledge) (July 2015 - present)

Book Series Editor, Games and Contemporary Culture (Routledge) (2023 - present)

External Examiner, MA Film Studies, University College Dublin (2018 - 2021)

External Examiner, BA Social Media Management, University of Sunderland (2018 - 2022)

External Examiner, BA Film Studies & BA Creative Writing and Film Studies, Liverpool John Moores University (2020 - 2024).

Reviewer: South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (2022 - present)

Peer Reviewer: Routledge books, SAGE books, Intellect, Bloomsbury Academic, Television and New Media (SAGE), Celebrity Studies (Routledge), Sport in History (Routledge), Kosmorama (Danish Film Institute), European Journal of Cultural Studies (SAGE), Medijske studije (Zagreb University), Journal of Gender Studies (Routledge)

Co-organizer, Celebrity Couples conference, University of Southampton (24 November 2012). 

Co-organizer, Capitalism, Crime and Media conference, University of Winchester (22 April 2016).

Organizing committee, Desecrating Celebrity: Celebrity Studies Conference, Sapienza University, Rome (26 - 28 June 2018).

Chair of organizing committee, Transformations in Celebrity Culture: Celebrity Studies Conference, University of Winchester (18 - 20 June 2020). 

Co-organizer, Video Games: Time and Nostalgia conference, University of Exeter (12 May 2023). 

Organizing committee, Celebrity Crisis and Conflicts: Celebrity Studies Conference, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam (1 - 3 July 2024). 


Quoted in 'The one where Chandler Bing's impenetrable job defined a generation',, 31 October 2023.  

Appeared in 'La Story: les Beckham, du glamour au business’ feature. 50’ Inside. [TV show], TF1 (France), 7 October 2023.  

Quoted in 'How Gen Z fell for and reinvented quiet-loud indie rock', The Independent, 10 May 2023. 

Quoted in 'Were the Nineties really so good?', The Independent, 21 January 2023.

Quoted in 'Spider-Man's Tom Holland and Euphoria's Zendaya: showbiz's most successful couple', The Sunday Times, 20 February 2022. 

Quoted in 'I'm not making any New Year's resolutions this year',, 28 December 2021.

Quoted in 'Gen Z-ers are sending viewing figures for these TV shows through the roof',, 12 August 2021.

Quoted in 'From #Bennifer and Friends to the Spice Girls reunion and 90s fashion, why are we all so stuck in the past RN?',, 17 June 2021. 

Appeared in 'Why we become invested in celebrity relationships' [video],, 14 June 2021.

Quoted in 'Betrayal and bombast: the surreal story of the Terry v Bridge saga',, 3 May 2020.

Appeared in 15 Minutes of Fury. [film]. Released 10 October 2019. 

Quoted in ‘Friends: The show that changed our idea of family’,, 20 September 2019. 

Quoted in ‘This Online Community Is Obsessed With Johnny Depp and Kate Moss' Failed Relationship’,, 12 February 2019. 

Quoted in ‘En Grande-Bretagne, le UKIP est sur le déclin, mais ses idées prospèrent’,, 14 March 2017.  

Appeared in 'Ultimate Celebrity Couples 2016' [TV show], STV Productions, First aired: Channel 5, 27 July 2016. 

Live Chat: Celebrity Power Couples,, 10 September 2012. Live chat session, answering questions from the public about the academic study of celebrity. 

Good Morning Wales, BBC Radio Wales, 1 September 2010. Live interview about corruption in sport.

Good Morning Wales, BBC Radio Wales, 9 March 2010. Live discussion about sport and national identity.

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I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I have more than 15 years of teaching experience at a variety of UK Higher Education institutions. I have taught on more than 30 different modules across Media and Communications, Film Studies, English Studies, and Sport Studies, many of which I have written and led. I have also supervised over 125 undergraduate dissertations.

Modules taught

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