Professor Paul Long

Joint Acting Head of the Birmingham School of Media

Birmingham School of Media
+44 (0)121 331 5468

Paul Long is Joint Acting Head of Birmingham School of Media. He leads the MA in Creative Industries and Cultural Policy, as well as several innovative PhD projects.

He is also a board member of both Vivid Projects and Media Archive for Central England (MACE). Paul has done extensive work on popular music heritage, knowledge of which has informed the music and tourism industry, as well as local cultural policies. He has written up insights from the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s project ‘Cultural Intermediation: Connecting Communities in the Creative Urban Economy’, in which he led a work-packed investigating community engagement in Birmingham and Salford.

Paul co-researched and curated an exhibition in May 2016 entitled ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’, which documented Birmingham’s independent music scene from 1986 to 1990. This drew on his expertise in pop history and heritage, in conjunction with Birmingham Music Archive.

Paul welcomes PhD applications on the conjunction of media, history and the archive, on creative work and also on popular music and memory. His research interests encompass the creativity of the creative industries and the way in which they produce value that is more than simply economic.

Current Activity

Paul is particularly interested in the valuation of cultural activity in places hit hard by austerity. His project investigates the value of arts in areas where people need food banks to survive. He has been working in the community and forging links across many different organisations, including Soul City Arts and artists such as Mohammed Ali. Paul also works as lead research on the Digital R & D Fund for Arts and Culture with Birmingham Town Hall/Symphony Hall and 1-UPDesign.

As a historian, he is interested in the way in which media and popular cultural forms are now a key part of how we memorialise and make sense of the past individually and collectively.

As a result of his recent work on popular music heritage and archives, Paul is currently thinking about the nature of music as history and how we might think of its affective nature in evoking the past. He is investigating how historians have made use of music as a signifying medium beyond explaining it via producer, audience or context (if this is at all possible).

Areas of Expertise
  • Media history
  • Popular music culture and economies
  • Creative industries and cultural policy
PhD Social History University of Warwick - 2001
MSOCSCI Cultural Studies,University of Birmingham - 1998
 BA (Hons) Film and Literature, University of Warwick - 1995
Postgraduate Supervision

“A Family of Companies” The Culture of Rubery Owen at Home and Abroad, 1945-1980 (AHRC/M3C-funded PhD based at University of Birmingham).

Paul Long supervises doctoral students primarily in the areas of i) media and cultural history and archives and ii) creative industries, cultural policy and cultural work. He is a leading international expert in these areas. You will be able to see from his biography, research outline and publication record that his own work covers a wide range including: the historiography of media; broadcasting history and innovation; popular music cultures, heritage and archives; cultural intermediation and community creativity.

His supervisory experience encompasses work by students on the political economy of film fan cultures, the discourse of amateur music making, the emotional labour of the professional ghostwriter, online music heritage, the visual culture of Chinese social media and the mediation of popular music in TV talent shows. In recent projects he has worked with arts organisations, music heritage organisations and EU policy makers.

He works closely in supervisory teams with his colleagues on a wider range of topics including radio studies, jazz studies, music industries innovation, and community and activist media.

We are particularly keen to attract students who wish to work on projects related to media and cultural histories, popular music heritage and archives, the experience of creative work. Projects on cultural policy related to these areas of interest are particularly welcome.

As part of the Midlands3Cities AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership BCU offers doctoral studentships in all these areas.

PhD Projects

Brum Beat: pop music and cultural heritage in Birmingham

The format of the book: changes in perception, meaning and cultural value of books through digitization

Industrial Strife: British News Media Coverage of Industrial Action

Tackling Issues of Social Status and Identity In Youth Music Engagement: A Comparative Study of Creative Scotland and Arts Council England Initiatives

Weiguan: Internet Image Production and Spectatorship in Contemporary China

What is the nature of social media use amongst creative workers and to what extent can it inform understanding of creative communities for cultural policymakers? (AHRC/M3C-funded PhD).

‘Amateur Music-making as Discourse in Midlands Folk Clubs: an Intersubjective Approach’ -2013

‘The Political Economy of Fan Production in Euro‐Cult Cinema’ –2013

Current Projects

Exhibition: 'Is There Anyone Out There?' Documenting Birmingham’ s Independent Music Scene 1986-1990, Birmingham City University, 2016

Student Unions and British Popular Music Culture 1945-99 (with NUS).

‘Keep the Cameras Rolling’ : Alternative Media Arts Before the Creative Industries 1968-97 (with Vivid Projects).

Philip Donnellan Documentary Filmmaking and the Cultural Politics of Post-War Britain

Books and Journal Articles

Forthcoming 2016 (With Jez Collins, Birmingham Popular Music Archive), ‘ Affective memories of music in online heritage practice' in Johannes Brusila, Bruce Johnson, JohnRichardson (eds), Music, Memory and Space, Intellect.

2015 (With Steve Harding, BCU). ‘ Cross Intermediation? Policy, Creative Industries and Cultures Across the EU’ in Phil Jones & Saskia Warren (eds), Creative Economies, Creative Communities: Rethinking Place, Policy And Practice, Ashgate.

2015 ‘ Student Unions and UK Popular Music Culture’ , submitted by invitation to: Manja Klemenčič, Sjur Bergan and Rok Primožiž (eds).Student engagement in Europe: society, higher education and student governance. Council of Europe Higher Education Series.

2015.‘ Really saying something?’ What do we talk about when we talk about popular music heritage, memory, archives and the digital?’ in Sarah Baker (ed) Preserving Popular Music Heritage: Do-it-yourself, Do-it-together, Routledge.

2015 (with Tim Wall, BCU). ‘ Popular Music and Television’ in Andy Bennett (ed.) Sage Handbook of Popular Music. Sage.

2014 - 'Warts and All: Recording the Live Music Experience'in (eds) Karen Burland & Stephanie Pitts, Coughing and Clapping: Investigating Audience Experience, Ashgate/SEMPRE Psychology of Music series.

2014 – (with Jez Collins, Birmingham Popular Music Archive) ‘ Online Archival Practice and Virtual Sites of Musical Memory' in Les Roberts, Marion Leonard, Sara Cohen & Robert Knifton (eds), Sites of Popular Music Heritage, Routledge.

2014 - (with Simon Spink, BCU), 'Producing the Self: The Producer’ s Work and Professional Identity in Regional Film' in Andrew Spicer,Anthony McKennaand Christopher Meier (eds), Beyond the Bottom-Line: The Producer in Film and Television, Continuum.

2013 – (with Tim Wall, BCU), ‘ Tony Palmer’ s “All You Need is Love”’ in Ben Halligan, Robert Edgar& Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs (eds) The Music Documentary: Acid Rock to Electropop, Routledge. 

2015 (With Simon Barber, BCU). ‘ Voicing Passion: The Emotional Economy of Songwriting’ , European Journal of Cultural Studies (Special edition on media and passion), Vol. 18(2) 142–157

2014 (With Nick Webber, BCU). ‘The Last Post: British Press Representations of Veterans of the Great War’ , The Media, War and Conflict Journal, 7 (3): 273-290.

2013 - (With Yasmeen Baig-Clifford, Vivid Projects & Roger Shannon, Edge Hill University), ‘"What we're trying to do is make popular politics” The Birmingham Film and Video Workshop’ in Historical Journal of Film, Television and Radio, 33 (3): 377-395.

'Tony Palmer's All You Need Is Love: Television's first pop history' [with Paul Long] in Benjamin Halligan, Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs, and Robert Edgar (eds) The Music Documentary, Taylor and Francis/Routledge (forthcoming 2013)

'Media studies: texts, production and context' (second edition) [ed with Paul Long] Pearson (forthcoming 2012).

'Mapping the Soundscapes of Popular Music Heritage' [with Jez Collins, Birmingham Popular Music Archive] in Les Roberts (ed.) Mapping Cultures Palgrave 2012.

'Student Music', Arts Marketing: An International Journal 1/2, pp. 121-135, 2011.

'Representing Race, and Place: Black Midlanders on Television in the 1960s and 1970s', Midland History 36/2, pp. 262-77, 2011.

'The Creative Industries in Wolverhampton: Between Policy and Practice.' A 'Creative District' report for Creative Metropoles [with Jeremy Collins, Steve Harding and Nina Lakeberg; Harding, S. and Challenger, F. (Eds.)] Light House, 2011.

'Constructing the histories of popular music: the Britannia series' [with Paul Long] in Ian Inglis (ed) Popular Music on British Television Ashgate, 2010.

'"I think it's over now' "The Fall, John Peel, Popular Music and Radio'; in Michael Goddard (ed.) Mark E. Smith and The Fall: Art, Music and Politics Ashgate, 2010.

'Jazz Britannia: mediating the story of British jazz on television' [with Paul Long] Jazz Research Journal 3/2, pp. 145-170, 2010.

'Experimenting with fandom, live music, and the internet: applying insights from music fan culture to new media production' [with Andrew Dubber] Journal of New Music Research, 39/2, pp. 159-169, 2010.

2009/2012 – (With Prof. Tim Wall, BCU), Media Studies: Texts, Production and Context, Pearson Longman. (Two editions; third revised edition commissioned by Routledge for 2017).

'Ephemeral Work': Louis MacNeice and 'Pure Radio', Key Words, No.7, pp. 73-91, 2009.

'Media studies: texts, production and context' [ed with Paul Long] Pearson, 2009.

'Introduction' to exhibition catalogue, 'Participation: The Film and Television Workshop Movement, 1979-1991', Vivid Arts, 2009.

'British Radio and the Politics of Culture in Post-War Britain: The Work of Charles Parker' reprinted in Crisell, Andrew (ed), Radio (Critical Concepts in Media & Cultural Studies), Routledge, 2009.

'Only in the common people': The Aesthetics of Class in Post-War Britain, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.

'An Entirely New Englishness: The Post-War Folk Revival and the Negotiation of National Identity' in Chris Hart (ed.), Englishness: Diversity, Differences & Identity, Midrash, 2007.

'The Primary Code: The Meanings of John Peel, Radio and Popular Music Radio', The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media 4/ 1-3, pp. 25-48, 2006.

'The Mistakes of the Past? Visual Narratives of Urban Decline and Regeneration' [With Dr. David Parker, University of Nottingham] Visual Culture in Britain 5/1, pp. 37-58, 2004.

'British Radio and the Politics of Culture in Post-War Britain: The Work of Charles Parker' The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media, 2/3, pp. 131-52, 2004.

'Reimagining Birmingham: Public History, Selective Memory and the Narration of Urban Change' [With Dr. David Parker, University of Nottingham] European Journal of Cultural Studies 6/2, pp. 157-78, 2003.

'"But it's not all nostalgia": Public History in Birmingham' in Hilda Kean, Paul Martin and Sally Morgan (eds) Seeing History: Public History Now in Britain Francis Boutle, 2000.


2015 ‘ “Oh no, that's not opera!”Discovering Culture, Discovering Audiences’ , SPARC symposium, Understanding Audiences for the Contemporary Arts, University of Sheffield.

2015 (With Nick Webber, BCU), “The Last Veteran? Gendering the Commemoration of the Great War”, Women and the First World War, 1910-1930Newcastle University. 2015 (Invited speaker), ‘ Archive Cultures’ , Archiving Tomorrow, Birmingham.

2015 ‘ A gallery of the gutter? What becomes of amateur art and artists?’ , Amateur Creativity: Inter-disciplinary Perspectives, University of Warwick.

2015 (Invited speaker) ‘ Philip Donnellan: The Polemicist’ at season Visions of Change: The Evolution of the British TV Documentary

[Invited speaker] '"The heroes and villains are black, brown and white just as you'd expect them to be." Looking for Histories of Race and Place on the Small Screen' British Society on the Small Screen? The Historian, Television and History University of Leicester, 2009.

[Speaker, organiser with West Midlands Cultural Observatory], Second Cultural Research and Intelligence Gathering Network (CRAIN) Conference, 2011.

Invited panel organiser, Digital Archives and Online Practice, Sites Of Popular Music Heritage, Institute of Popular Music, University of Liverpool, 2011.

'Were we the BBC? Broadcast practice and culture in BBC regions in the 1950s' [With Ieuan Franklin, University of Portsmouth] Broadcasting in the 1950s, University of Wales, 2011.

'Rock (and everything else) Goes to College. The role of universities, the NUS and student union venues in the business of live music&', The Business of Live Music, University of Edinburgh, 2011.

[Organiser, speaker] Film Heritage, Digital Future: Practice and Sustainability for the Film Archive Sector Birmingham City University in collaboration with Screen West Midlands.

[with Ieuan Franklin, University of Portsmouth] 'The Overheard and Underprivileged: Uses of Montage Sound in the Post-War BBC Television Documentaries of Denis Mitchell and Philip Donnellan' [with Ieuan Franklin, University of Portsmouth] Documentary Now!, University of Westminster, 2011.

'Using Online and Social Media - Extending Audiences' [With Tim Wall, Birmingham City University and Jeremy Collins, Birmingham Music Archive] Dutch Jazz and World Meeting, Music Center the Netherlands, 2010.

[Speaker, organiser with West Midlands Cultural Observatory] Cultural Research and Intelligence Gathering Network  (CRAIN) Conference, 2010.

'Tony Palmer's All You Need Is Love: Narrating Popular Music History' [With Tim Wall, Birmingham City University] Sights and Sounds Salford University, 2010.

'Inscribing the work of Philip Donnellan into documentary and other histories' On, Archives!, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, 2010.

'Listening for the sounds of place and memory in popular music heritage' [with Jeremy Collins, Birmingham Music Archive] Mapping, Memory and the City University of Liverpool, 2010.

'"Why not become an Author and help us build the Archive?" Mediating Personal and Community Memories in Online Archival Work' [with Jeremy Collins, Birmingham Music Archive] Cybercultures: Exploring Issues Online, Interdisciplinrary.Net Salzberg, 2010.

Book Reviews

2015 – review of Bruce Johnson (ed.)‘Earogenous Zones: Sound, Sexuality and Cinema’ . Porn Studies (in press).

2014 – review of Pete Fraser & Jonathan Wardle, eds, ‘ Current Perspectives in Media Education: Beyond the Manifesto’ , Media Education Research Journal, 5(1): 74-76.

2014 – review of Kate Lacey, ‘ Listening Publics: The Politics and Experience of Listening in the Media Age’ for Discourse and Society, 25: 819-20

2014 – review of Robert A. Rosenstone And Constantin Parvulescu (Eds) ‘ A Companion to the Historical Film’ forHistorical Journal of Film, Television and Radio. 34 (1): 152-154.

2013 - review of Chris Bilton (ed.) ‘ Creativity and Cultural Policy’ for Creative Industries Journal, 5 (1-2): 174-177.

2012-review of Tony Bennett and John Frow (Eds), ‘ The Sage Handbook of Cultural Analysis’ in Cultural Studies Review, 18(1): 339–48.

2009 -review of M. Smith, ‘ Renegade’ in North West Labour History, 34: 55.

2009 -review of J. Beller, ‘ The Cinematic Mode of Production’ , Learning, Media and Technology, 34 (1): 71-5.

2008 – review of K. Garner, ‘ The Peel Sessions’ , The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio Media, 6(1): 62‐6.

2006 – review of J. Lewis, ‘ Language Wars’ , Crime, Media, Culture, 2(2): 239-241.

2003 –review of G. McLaughlin, ‘ The War Correspondent’ , Journalism Studies, 4(4): 532-4.

2003 - review of T. Shaw, ‘ British Cinema and the Cold War’ , Labour History Review, 68(2): 268-9.

Funded Research

2014-2018 Co-Investigator, ‘ Voices of War and Peace’ AHRC First World War Engagement Centre.

2014 Co-Researcher ‘ Gaming Global: Mapping Innovation in the UK, EU and Beyond’ , Scoping Study for British Council and Creative England.

2014 Lead Researcher, Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture: ‘ Audience Development Project’ with Birmingham Town Hall/Symphony Hall & 1-UP design. NESTA/ACE/AHRC-funded.

2012 Lead Researcher, ‘ Interreg IVC Cross Innovation, Promoting Cross Innovation in European Cities and Regions’ .

2012-2015 Co-Investigator, AHRC-funded ‘ Cultural Intermediation: Connecting Communities in the Creative Urban Economy’ (Ref: AH/J005320/1)

2011-12 Researcher, Digital R&D Fund for Arts and Culture: ‘ Culture Cloud: crowd-curating and retailing the visual arts online’ . NESTA/ACE/AHRC-funded.

2011-13 Project Leader, Leonardo Partnership ‘ Innovative Media and Music Heritage Impacting Vocational Education’ , ref: LdVP/11/031/C

2010 Creative Metropoles (http://www.creativemetropoles). Lead Researcher for ‘ City of Wolverhampton: Creative Industry Policy and Practice Situation Analysis’ (report delivered, Helsinki, March 2011).

2010: Philip Donnellan Archive URN 2009-16963 (development in collaboration with Media Archive Central England and Birmingham City Archives and Heritage), funded by Digital Film Archive Fund - Screen West Midlands/UK Film Council.

2007-9: Research Fellow, AHRC funded Knowledge Transfer Fellowship, ‘ New Strategies for Radio and Music Organisations’ (Ref: AH/E006825/1)

2006: The Radical Documentary of Philip Donnellan (in conjunction with Banner Theatre Birmingham). Supported by grant from Screen West Midlands to exhibit films (e.g. The Colony, The Irishmen, Gone For A Soldier) and develop research website (launched March 2006) in order to collate interest in this innovative TV director.

Media Work

Paul Long is one of the University’s dedicated team of trained media champions, and can comment on a range of subjects including:

  • Media
  • Culture

To arrange a media interview, please contact Birmingham City University Press Office on 0121 331 6738, 07967 271532,
email or via Twitter @BCUPressOffice

Links and Social Media

Twitter: @PLongy

BCU Academia