Professor Shawn Sobers

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  • Qualifications:PhD, PG Cert, PGCHE, BA (Hons)
  • Position:Professor - Cultural Interdisciplinary Practice
  • Department:ACE - Film and Journalism
  • Telephone:+4411732 84788
  • Social media: Twitter logo

About me

Professor Shawn-Naphtali Sobers

My academic roles are;

- Professor - Cultural Interdisciplinary Practice

- Director - Critical Race and Culture Research Group

- MA Photography (Co-Programme Leader)
- BA (Hons) Photography
- MA Research Practice module tutor
- PhD and DPhil Director of Study, supervisor and examiner

Visual Anthropologist, working in filmmaking, photography and writing.  

My work in film and photography is primarily people-based, rooted in personal narratives, hidden histories and untold stories.  As a researcher my work has spanned a wide range of topics, including; community media, creative education, Trans-Atlantic slave trade, disability & walking, and Rastafari culture.

My recent book, 'Black Everyday Lives, Material Culture & Narrative: Tings in de House', was published by Routledge in 2023. 

I have and chapters and articles published in peer reviewed journals and books, and have spoken and exhibited at a wide range of conferences and events, nationally and internationally. 

Co-founded Firstborn Creatives production company in 1999 with Rob Mitchell, and made programmes for BBC 1, ITV West and Channel 4.  

A collection of my work can be found at 

I am currently External Examiner for Goldsmiths University BA (Hons) Media and Communications - (2021 - 2024).

I am a member of;

Critical Race and Culture Research Group - Director


UWE Photography Research Group
Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC)
Centre for Moving Image Research (CMIR)
Visual Culture Research Centre (VCRG)
Creative Media Research Centre (CMRG)
Visual Social Science Network

Area of expertise


Speaking Memories (2022)
Co-Principle Investigator. Exploring the previously unspoken stories of what makes Bristol meaningful for local people. HEIF funded, in partnership with We Are Bristol History Commission.

Freedom In The City Festival of Learning (2021)
Principle Investigator - AHRC EDI Fellowship award - Founded a 7 month festival exploring Ethiopian and Rastafari cultures. See project website -  

Digital Placemaking Research Fellow (2019 – 2020)
Working with researchers from Bath & Bristol Creative R+D. My research investigates automation and the role of music in everyday life in creating embodied moments of sanctity. Read more - Blog article

Ethiopian Echoes on a British Landscape (2017 - 2018)
Principle Investigator - AHRC Research Networks project exploring legacy of Emperor Haile Selassie I, and His family and advisors, living in Bath city from 1936 - 1941.  

Media, Community and the Creative Citizen (2013 – 2015)
Co-Investigator – Media, Community and the Creative Citizen was a research council funded project (AHRC Connected Communities and EPSRC) exploring the value of creative citizenship.

Walking Interconnections (2013 – 2014)
Co-Investigator – Walking Interconnections was an AHRC Connected Communities research project using walking as a way to identify and make visible the everyday, embodied knowledges of disabled people.

Hidden Presence (2013 – 2015)
Academic Consultant (and original idea)
Exploring creative responses to the presence of Black populations in Britain before the end of the 19th century.  Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council Wales in partnership with Ffotogallery and Chepstow Museum.

Re:Interpretation (2007 – 2008)
Co-Investigator – Research the connections between the Transatlantic Slave Trade and National Trust Properties, utilising creative media methods.  Heritage Lottery Fund.  In partnership with National Trust and Firstborn Creatives

Participatory Arts and Media development research (2008 – 2010)
Co-Investigator – Researching and developing resources for participatory arts practitioners in the region through CPD provision.

Making it work: An enquiry into how companies in the community media sector recruit and retain skilled freelancers (2007)
Co-Investigator – Researching the needs of personnel working in the community media sector.
Report, in partnership with Ella Blisset Johnson, Calling the Shots and ABI Associates.


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