- Start date: 1 October 2023
- End date: 30 September 2026
- Funder: Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship
- Primary investigator: Adele Mason-Bertrand
My research investigates the experiences of People of Colour (PoC) who are using creative means to achieve equity within two underexplored, white-dominated subcultures: Cosplay whose members dress up as characters from geek media, and Analogue Gaming which includes board gamers, miniature war gamers and fantasy role-players.
Historically the study of subcultures has conflated culture and race, presenting subcultures as racially divided spaces. Alternatively many projects examining subcultures that contain predominantly white members have erased the presence of PoC from them.
This project explores the ways that PoC subculturalists use their subcultural membership to disrupt hegemonic norms, gain rights, and produce new, creative ways of being a citizen within their subcultures.
I will explore how PoC’s racial identities intersect with their ‘incompatible’ subcultural identities. As the wider makeup of these two subcultures also varies considerably across them, I will also examine how subcultural experiences may be influenced, not only by individuals’ own intersecting characteristics, but also by those of the others around them.
To understand and engage with members of these two subcultures I will be participating fully within them; making, and wearing cosplay’s subcultural outfits, crafting and painting wargame figurines, and creating original characters for roleplaying games. This approach allow me to experience firsthand the multisensory, overlapping experiences of my participants, and will also enable me to explore how the creative acts of subculturalists can be used as a method to investigate subcultures.
Through this embodied participatory investigation, I will also reflect on my own status as a young female PoC researcher. Exploring how my own intersecting identities affect, my experiences across the two subcultures, and the research process itself, considering how factors including my gender and race may impact on my project and data collected within it.
Illustrations by Lewis Barton.
Publications and outputs