I have been a Teaching Fellow in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester since January 2020, where I teach on a range of subjects, both analytical ("theoretical") and technical ("practical"), across undergraduate and postgraduate courses - see "teaching" for an overview. I am an active researcher in the field of media, communications and cultural studies, and was awarded my PhD in the field in March 2022 for the thesis "Sports Fandom in Later Life: The Everyday, Nostalgia and Home" (examiners: Prof. Denise Bielby, University of California, Santa Barbara and Prof. Matt Hills, University of Huddersfield). My main research focuses are fandom, ageing, memory, identity and participatory media.
My main research focuses are fandom, ageing, memory, identity and participatory media. I was awarded a PhD in communications, cultural and media studies in March 2022 for the thesis "Sports Fandom in Later Life: The Everyday, Nostalgia and Home" (examiners: Prof. Denise Bielby, University of California, Santa Barbara and Prof. Matt Hills, University of Huddersfield). Straddling the boundaries of fan studies and cultural gerontology, my PhD thesis was based on in-depth interviews with 35 later-life sports fans (average age 72.5 years). I used a broadly psychodynamic approach (with an emphasis on Winnicottian object-relations psychoanalysis) to explore how older people use textual (fan) objects as anchors of identity whilst navigating the often turbulent later life phases. I have published some of my work in a special issue edition of The Journal of Fandom Studies (Smith, 2019), am currently working on turning my project into articles on re-contextualising the fan object, fandom and nostalgia, and fandom and widowhood, and am also working with colleagues on a long-term political fandom project.
Smith, J. A. (2022). Sports Fandom in Later Life: The everyday, nostalgia and home (Doctoral thesis). University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield.
Smith, J. A. (2019). "Destablisation, adaptation and the long-term fan object: The search for continuity in later-life sports fandom", Journal of Fandom Studies, 7(2) [Special Issue], pp169-188. DOI 10.1386/jfs.7.2 169_1
Smith, J. A. (2021). "Sports Journalism: The State of Play (2020) by Tom Bradshaw and Daragh Minogue" [Review], Journalism Education, 10(2), pp51-52.
I supervise students on undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation projects. Current topics include:
- Digital media cultures of China-based Premier League football fandom.
- Racism and racist discourses in UK football fan culture.
- Fitness influencer fandom and the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Anti-vaxxers, identity and social media.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe fandom.
- The role of Instagram in the globalisation of NBA.
- E-commerce and Taobao culture.
- Purchasing behaviours of K-Pop fans based in China.
- UK Twitter discourses of veganism and vegetarianism.
I convene a core undergraduate research methods module (Media and Communication Research in Practice - MS2016), Journalism Studies (MS2010) and Sports Journalism (JO3003) and contribute to other modules across the school at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including Writing for Public Relations (MS3027), Advertising and Consumer Culture (MS3019), Principles and Practices of Marketing (MA - MS7360), Public Relations Culture and Society (MA - MS7012) and the undergraduate and Master's dissertations modules (see "supervision"). I have also taught as an associate lecturer for the University of Huddersfield’s Department of Media and Performance (modules including: Participatory Media and Fans; Writing for the Media; Sports News and Features; Media Policy, Law and Ethics).
Press and media
Communications, cultural and media studies with an emphasis on fandom (particularly sports fandom), participatory media, identity and ageing.
- University of Huddersfield, 2022. Invited to speak as part of the their research seminar series. Delivered a presentation entitled: 'Later life sports fandom and long-term fan-object relationships'.
- Fan Studies Network 2019 University of Portsmouth. Presented a paper entitled: '“I like to put me nose on the telly”: Destabilisation adaptation and the search for continuity in later-life sports fandom'.
- PSA Sport & Politics Conference 2019 ‘Sport and the Politics of Identity’ Aston University Birmingham.
Presented a paper entitled: 'Distancing adaptation and mellowing: The importance of sports fandom in later life identity construction'.
- Fan Studies Network 2018 Cardiff University.
Presented a paper entitled: 'The Role of Multiple Sports Fandoms in Constructions of the Ageing Self.'
- Fan Studies Network 2017 University of Huddersfield.
Presented a mini-paper on interview methods as part of the conference’s ‘Speed Geeking’ panel.
- PhD in Communications, Cultural and Media Studies, University of Huddersfield. Awarded March 2022. Thesis, "Sports Fandom in Later Life: The Everyday, Nostalgia and Home" (examiners: Prof. Denise Bielby, University of California, Santa Barbara and Prof. Matt Hills, University of Huddersfield).
- Master's (by research), University of Huddersfield. Awarded July 2015. Thesis, "Cricket Writing Culture: How the interwar works by J.M. Kilburn transcended the boundary between 'journalism' and 'literature'."
*both completed on the University of Huddersfield's Vice Chancellor's Scholarship award.