Dr Adele Celia Mason-Bertrand


I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the AHRC funded Fabulous Femininities Project and am in charge of the Project’s everyday running. I hold a Master’s in social research and PhD in Sociology from the University of Sheffield, both of which were fully funded by the ESRC. 

Before joining the University of Leeds, I worked as a Qualitative Researcher and Project Manager at the Centre for Performance Science, a joint venture between the Royal College of Music and Imperial College London. Within this role I conducted research exploring the role that the arts play in fostering positive well-being and building social connections. I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Goldsmiths College London where I analysed historic clothing patents and reconstructed these garments to uncover their social significance.  I have also worked with Sage Publications, creating student resources to accompany sociological texts. 

Research interests

My research involves using participatory ethnographic methods, which bridge the arts and social research, to gain an understanding of the social world. My Ph.D. research provides the first longitudinal ethnography on the cosplay subculture, whose members emulate characters from geek media using intricate costumes. Through sewing and wearing cosplay’s subcultural dress I became a cosplayer to gain deep insight into this rapidly increasing, grossly misrepresented subculture. I explored themes of community, boundary maintenance and escape, revealed how costumes can reinforce or subvert everyday identities and hegemonic norms, and highlighted how intersectional identities impact upon subcultural experiences.

Within my professional roles I have continued to pursue my interests of exploring how creative activities build social connections. These include Big Qual projects investigating how different socio-economic groups engage with culture, and research revealing the processes through which art activities support mental and social wellbeing. I was the lead researcher on an AHRC-funded ethnography in partnership with the homelessness charity St-Martin-in-the-Field, using crafting and participatory music-based approaches to explore themes of community, social inclusion, and citizenship.

I am currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the Fabulous Feminities Project which seeks to understand how fabulousness and femininity are performed by UK burlesque performers and club-goers via costume. During this time, I have developed an ongoing interest in how intersectionality impacts upon subcultural experiences. I am currently working on research that explores how subcultural costumes can be used as a means of expressing and connecting to heritage, exploring themes of identity, race and different perceptions of self. 

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


  • PhD, Doctor of Philosophy
  • Master of Arts in Social Research
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with Hons