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.

In 2013, I was awarded an 18 month Leverhulme Research Fellowship 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 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 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 2024, 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 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.

From October 2023 I will lead the AHRC-funded research project as PI of What’s on? Rethinking class in the television industry. The research team includes co-Is Professor David O’Brien (Manchester), Dr Laura Minor (Salford), and a 27-month postdoctoral research associate. Working in partnership with the BBC, Channel 4, and Candour Productions, What's on? will analyse the production, consumption, and reception of two case study drama series. In doing so, the project connects questions of who produces, what is made, and how class (understood intersectionally) is represented and understood.


  • 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>