Dr Shawn Sobers

Profile Photo
  • Qualifications:PhD, PG Cert, PGCHE, BA (Hons)
  • Position:Associate Professor - Cultural Interdisciplinary Practice
  • Department:ACE - Film and Journalism
  • Telephone:+4411732 84788
  • Email:Shawn.Sobers@uwe.ac.uk
  • Social media: Twitter logo

About me

My academic teaching roles are;

- Associate Professor of Cultural Interdisciplinary Practice

- Director - Critical Race and Culture Research Network

- Director - UWE Photography Research Group 

- MA Photography (Co-Programme Leader)

- BA (Hons) Photography

- MA Research Practice module

- PhD and DPhil supervision and examiner

Professionally I'm a filmmaker, photographer and writer.  

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.

I have 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.

I 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 www.shawnsobers.com 

I am currently External Examiner for Portsmouth University MA Photography programme - (2017 - 2021).

I am a member of;

Critical Race and Culture Research Network - convenor

UWE Photography Research Group - convenor


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


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.  

Face Value - Portraiture and Self-portraiture in the Dialogic Moment (2015 - 2017)
Exploring notions of voice, power and agency in two bodies of photographic work - the 'Over The Hill' portrait studies of Tim Andrews, and the self-portrait work by myself. Funded by CMIR Journal writing bursary.

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. www.creativecitizens.co.uk

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.  http://hiddenpresencewales.tumblr.com/

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.

St Pauls Education Research Project (2005)
Co-Investigator – Working with young people, using creative media to research attitudes and opportunities towards education in the St Pauls area of Bristol.  In partnership with St Pauls Unlimited and Firstborn Creatives.


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