I am a professor of media and cultural studies at the University of Westminster where I am a member of the Communication and Media Research Institute and leader of the Global Media Research Theme.
I am co-author with Nisrine Mansour of Children And Screen Media in Changing Arab Contexts: An Ethnographic Perspective (Palgrave 2019) and author of Cultural Encounters in the Arab World: On Media, the Modern and the Everyday (2010, I.B. Tauris). I am also Editor and co-Editor of several anthologies on the subject of Media, Culture and Society in the Arab region.
I am Co-Founder and Co-Editor of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication and Co-Founder of the journal Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture.
My research interests include digital media and philosophy, media audiences, migration, children and the media, Arab popular cultures, Arab contemporary philosophical thought and cultural studies. I conducted a number of ethnographic studies exploring the relationship between digital media and the dynamics of hybrid identities in Egypt, Lebanon, the UK and Morocco.
In 2016, I was awarded a research grant from the British Academy to examine children audiences and media regulation in Morocco. This project, led from London and Rabat, brought together a team of senior and early career researchers and media regulators, from both Morocco and the UK who, through policy and method workshops, compared the perceptions of child users of screen-based media, methods for collecting data about this use, and visions for enhancing the audio-visual regulatory environment for the children’s benefit in the age pf the Internet. This initiative, shaped through preliminary discussions with academic and policy contacts in both Morocco and the UK, established an academic partnership between the UK and Morocco, and opened a space for dialogue between media academics and policy makers from the two countries. The main output of the project was a policy paper, co-written by me and Professor Hicham Ait Mansour (2020), a sociologist from Mohamed V University (Rabat, Morocco), and entitled: Regulating Children’s Media Content in Morocco. The paper was published in the prestigious Moroccan magazine Economia.
In 2016, I also received a Westminster Research Strategic Fund for a project entitled Global Viral Cultures in the Age of the Internet. The project included a team of four CAMRI researchers (Dr Anastasia Denisova, Dr Edmundo Bracho-Polanco, Dr Winston Mano, and me). It investigated viral cultures in four different contexts: Morocco, Zimbabwe, Colombia, and Russia.
I was Co-Investigator with Professors Sakr and Steemers in an AHRC funded three-year research project (2012-2015). The award brought £419.000 to the school of Media, Arts and Design. Entitled 'Orientations in the Development of Pan-Arab Television for Children', it was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the period 2013-15 inclusive. The project covered the production, distribution and reception of Arabic-language satellite TV programmes for children. It aimed to investigate changes in the creation, commercialisation and reception of pan-Arab television for children over the last 15-20 years, paying particular attention to the decade since 2000. My recently co-authored book Children and Screen Media in Changing Arab Contexts (Palgrave 2019) was one of the main outputs of the AHRC research project.
I was also a Principal Investigator on a two-year research programme (2013-2015) funded by ACSS (Arab Council for the Social Sciences) that focused on: a) The conditions and factors that shape public life in Arab societies, including its cultural, religious, political and socioeconomic aspects, b) the ways in which individuals and groups participate in public, including their desire and ability to change the quality of public life and c) The spaces and channels through which such participation takes place. My Co-Edited volume (Bloomsbury 2019), Culture, Time and Publics in the Arab World, was the main output of the ACSS funded research project.
I was research coordinator on a two-year programme (2013-2015) funded by SSRC (Social Science Research Council) focusing on the interrelationship between media and politics within and across Inter-Asia, a spatially and historically networked region stretching from the Middle East through East Asia. A central question concerned how the new networks of mobile, social and digital media alter capabilities of physical "amassment" and "amplification" and how these can unsettle and even overturn established political orders.