Professor Beth Johnson

Professor Beth Johnson


I am currently the interim Head of the School of Media and Communication (May 2023-).

I undertook my AHRC funded PhD at Lancaster University, completing in 2008. After this I worked as Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow in Media at Liverpool Hope University before taking up post as Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Keele University. Over six and a half years at Keele I inaugurated successful undergraduate and postgraduate Film Studies degree programmes.

I was awarded a 18 month Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2013 for a project on the transnational success and style of the television serial Shameless (Channel 4, 2004–2013; Showtime 2011).

I joined the University of Leeds in January 2016. I am the author of Paul Abbott (Manchester University Press, 2013) and I have published widely on representational and off-screen inequalities connected to class, gender and race. I co-edited a dossier on English Television Stardom and Performing the North (with David Forrest, University of Sheffield) for Journal of Popular Television (2016, 4:2), and co-edited, again with Forrest, a book collection entitled Social Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Other co-edited collections include Television, Sex and Society (with Aston and Glynn) (Bloomsbury, 2012) and Teenage Dreams: Youth Subcultures in Fiction, Film and Other Media (with Bentley and Zieleniec) (Palgrave 2018).

I have co-authored Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context (3rd edition) with Paul Long, Shana MacDonald, Schem Rogerson Bader and Tim Wall (Routledge, 2021). 

I am currently working on a monograph entitled Class and Poverty on Popular Television: A Case for Change (E.U.P.) due for publication in 2023, and a co-authored book with Professor Kristyn Gorton on television screenwriter, Sally Wainwright (Manchester University Press, 2023).

I am Chair of MeCCSA Women's Network (2019–Present), Vice-Chair of Royal Television Society (Yorkshire, 2022–), a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, and Principal Co-Editor for the Journal of British Cinema and Television. I led Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work for the Screen Industries Growth Network across 2020–2021. I am currently working as an academic consultant for the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity (2022), and am an expert contributor on diversity and television for the DCMS.

I am an External Examiner for the University of Sheffield.


  • Head of the School (Interim)

Research interests

My main research interests concern televisual and filmic representations of social class, gender, poverty, race and place on and off screen. I am also engaged in research on activism, performance, emotion and politics.

I am co-convener of the Visual Media and Communication Research Group in the School of Media and Communication. 

In my remit as EDI lead on SIGN, I collaborated with Candour Productions and industry professionals to create a film series called Industry Voices (2021), shortlisted for the BAFTSS Innovation Award.

Across 2018–19, I led and convened the Sadler Seminar Series The Performance of Political Feeling, funded by the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute. My co-conveners were: Professor Stephen Coleman, Dr Kim Allen and Dr Philip Kiszely. 

A selection of recent press articles/interviews include:

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • MA (Distinction)
  • BA (Hons)

Professional memberships

  • SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies)
  • MeCCSA (Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association)
  • BAFTSS (British Association for Film, Television and Screen Studies)
  • PSA (Political Studies Association)
  • RTS (Royal Television Society)
  • Chair of MeCCSA Women's Studies Network
  • ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association)

Research groups and institutes

  • Gender
  • Visual Media and Communication

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>