Creativity, apprenticeship and affect in contemporary makeup cultures

This project explored modes of apprenticeship, creativity and affect within an often derided arena of social activity: contemporary makeup culture. Despite the visibility of makeup within media discourses and contemporary celebrity culture, as well as the economic impact of the industry itself, existing empirical sociological/media scholarship in this area is extremely limited.

Makeup cultures have arguably never been so mediated, as seen in the growth of beauty vlogging, and the rise in Instagram and YouTube beauty tutorials offering makeup fans of all ages, genders, ethnicities and religions new careers, and routes into celebrity, as well as new ways of learning skills traditionally shared through family and friend networks.

Yet the existing empirical work on this topic primarily conceptualises the more oppressive normative aspects of makeup cultures (eg. Dellinger & Williams, 1997; Fabricant & Gould, 1993; Miller & Cox, 1982; Rudd & Lennon, 2000; Gentina, Palan & Fosse-Gomez, 2012; Thyne et al., 2016; McRobbie, 2009; Walters, 2000; Black, 2006). Such analyses leave little space for exploring the pleasure that can be felt through makeup ‘play’ and creativity, and the ways that this is learned, shared and experienced, nor the ways in which such practices are now mediated across platforms and sites of production and consumption.

Contact: