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Programme Creative Industries Futures
Department School of Communication

PhD abstract

Thesis title

Blackout: A Phenomenological Study of Stereotypes and Misrepresentation in Contemporary UK Linear TV Advertising upon Black UK Audiences


My study consists of a triad. Firsty, I will undertake a qualitative review of contemporary prime time TV ads to determine the degree and prevalence of racist stereotyping in British TV advertising. By using Alvarado's Racial Stereotype theory, the sampled ads will then be thematically analysed and coded. Following this initial investigation, I will then develop a series of new stereotype theories relevant to a contemporary British context.

Secondly, I will conduct a phenomenological study of the impact of stereotypes on Black British communities via semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The responses will be grouped, thematically analysed, and compared to Reception Theory (Hall, 1980), to present the recurrent and predominant experience and impact of reductive and racist portrayals. It is expected that analysis of Black British communities lived experience of 'stereotype threat' will garner perspectives on how representation might be improved.

Thirdly, I will interview advertisers (art directors, copywriters, etc.) to understand potential problematics around creating accurate, nuanced and complete portrayals of Black people. These will be compared with the information gathered during the second part of the study, culminating in the development of guidance such as a white paper, aimed at providing advertisers clear information to avoid further perpetuation of stereotypical portrayals, consequentially increasing advertising's inclusivity.

Researcher bio

About the researcher

Kelly Parker is a doctoral student and research teaching associate at Falmouth University. Alongside these roles, Kelly guest lectures in BIPOC media representation and stereotyping, as well as being an online tutor in Post-Digital Content.

Kelly's research explores BIPOC representation within advertising, focusing on the prevalence of stereotypes. The research holds a lens to the lived impact of ongoing stereotypical representations on BIPOC communities in the UK. Alongside her current research, Kelly is a contributing editor to the MAI Feminism and Visual Culture journal. Kelly has published works that intersect gender and feminism, Black history and cultural studies, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic's messaging in the UK on BIPOC communities.

Research interests

  • Black history
  • Media effects
  • Black representation
  • Social impacts
  • Advertising

Areas of expertise

  • Representation
  • Black History
  • Postcolonialism
  • Media Studies
  • Advertising
  • Cultural Studies