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Professor Sean Campbell FRHistS

Deputy Dean for Research and Innovation
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
Cambridge School of Creative Industries
Areas of Expertise:
Film, media and communication studies
Research Supervision:

Sean is Professor of Media, Music and Popular Culture and Deputy Dean for Research and Innovation (Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences). Sean has convened a number of successful REF submissions and has led an impact case study. His research explores the politics of media and popular culture. He has published a number of books on this topic, and has advised on a range of television and radio programmes.

[email protected]


Sean’s research explores the politics of media and popular culture. He has published a number of books and has advised on television and radio programmes.

He led the Film and Media unit’s submission to the REF in 2021, having coordinated its successful return in 2014, for which he convened an impact case study, which centred on a six-part television documentary series on which Sean was Series Adviser, and which drew on his book, 'Irish Blood, English Heart': Second-Generation Irish Musicians in England (Cork University Press). This AHRC-funded book was named Music Book of the Year in the Sunday Times.

Sean is currently writing a book on popular music and political conflict, entitled Combat Rock. He is also developing research on popular-cultural invocations of the Anglo-Scottish border.

Sean is co-convenor (and co-founder) of the Modern Irish History seminar at the University of Cambridge, which is supported by the Irish Embassy in London. He has been a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, and has appeared on Channel 4 News, the BBC World Service, RTÉ, DW-TV (Germany), CBC TV and Radio (Canada), and ABC Radio (Australia).

He has written for the Irish Times, and has been cited in The Times, the Guardian, and NME.

Research interests
  • The Politics of Popular Culture
  • Popular music
  • Music Journalism
  • Irish studies
  • Migration/ethnicity
Areas of research supervision

Sean has supervised to completion at PhD and MPhil levels on topics including:

  • Popular cinema and cultural identity
  • Popular music in the digital age
  • Gender, music and technology
  • BA (Hons) Media 
  • BA (Hons) Film
  • PhD Media and Culture, Liverpool JMU, 2003
  • MPhil Media Culture, Glasgow University, 1995
  • BA (Hons) English and Politics, Strathclyde University, 1994
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • Sean gave a Facebook live talk (for the London Irish Centre) on 14 May 2020 based on his research on migration and popular music
  • Series Advisor, Guth: Musical Sons of the Irish Diaspora (six-part TV documentary series, broadcast on TG4, Ireland, in 2013 and 2014).
  • Expert advisor for ProQuest on Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive (2008)
  • Currently advising BBC4 on documentary on popular music
  • External examinership of PhDs, including at the University of Cambridge, the University of Southampton, Åbo Akademi in Finland and Murdoch University in Australia
Selected recent publications

Campbell, S., 2021. 'NME's "Irish Troubles": political conflict, media crisis and the British music press', Études irlandaises (Spring)

Campbell, S., 2020. '"Agitate, educate, organise": partisanship, popular music and the Northern Ireland conflict', Popular Music 39(2), pp. 233-56.

Campbell, S. (with Roger Swift), 2017. 'The Irish in Britain', in Eugenio Biagini and Mary Daly (eds), The Cambridge Social History of Modern Ireland (Cambridge University Press), pp. 515-533.

Campbell, S., 2013. Policing the Irish: Whiteness, 'Race' and British Cultural Studies. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(2), pp.135-54.

Campbell, S., 2013. Musical Masculinities in the 1990s. In: Holohan, C. and Tracy, T. (Eds.). Masculinity and Irish Popular Culture: Tiger’s Tales. London: Palgrave.

Campbell, S., 2011. Irish Blood, English Heart: Second-Generation Irish Musicians in England. Cork: Cork University Press.

Recent presentations and conferences

Popular Music-Making among the Irish Diaspora in England. Luton Irish Forum, 5 November 2013 (invited public talk).

Migration and Cultural Expression. Emigration Colloquium, Trinity College Dublin, 10 April 2013 (invited public talk).

Dwellers on the Threshold. Headingley LitFest, Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre, Leeds, 8 March 2013 (invited public lecture).

Popular Music and Diaspora. Modern Irish History Seminar, Cambridge University, 6 February 2013 (Invited public talk).

Ambivalent Sounds: Irish Diaspora Musicians in England. Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London, 9 November 2012 (invited public lecture).

Music, Diaspora and Multi-Ethnicity, A Special Relationship? Irish Popular Music in Britain conference, Northumbria University, 28 June 2012 (invited keynote lecture).

Musical Masculinities and the Irish in England. Masculinity and Irish Popular Culture conference, National University of Ireland, Galway, 25 September 2011 (invited keynote lecture).

Irish Migrants, English Culture. Culture Night, Shortwave Cinema, London, 23 September 2011 (invited public talk).

Media experience

Series Adviser (and onscreen contributor), Guth: Musical Sons of the Irish Diaspora (TG4, 2012)

Made in Britain, BBC Radio 2, 12 June 2012

Follow-Up Albums, BBC Radio 4, 17 May 2012

World Update, BBC World Service, 20 March 2012

Irish Independent, 29 July 2011

The Irish Abroad, RTÉ Radio 1, 26 June 2011

Today with Pat Kenny, RTÉ Radio 1, 25 April 2011

Dave Fanning Show, RTÉ 2 FM, 23 April 2011

Tom Dunne, Newstalk (Ireland), 5 April 2011

Culture File, RTÉ Lyric FM, 2 April 2011

Hot Press, 14 April 2011

Arts Extra, Radio Ulster, 11 April 2011

Alison Curtis Show, Phantom FM (Ireland), 30 March 2011