The Culture Research Group

The Culture Research Group is based in the Department of Marketing in the Business School at Birmingham University. Members of the group are interested in a range of topics drawing from the broader, diverse field of the arts.

Specific research areas include heritage, issues of culture and authenticity, art and artists as brands, the production and consumption of art, film production and reception, film distribution and exhibition, social responsibility in arts marketing, television, dark tourism, embodiment, visual arts and the market, the production and consumption of place, space and time, myth and the marketplace, festivals, the intersection of arts and technology, how emerging artists use new technology and sub-cultural and non-mainstream consumption. Members of the group are also interested in the philosophy and application of qualitative methodologies such as art installation, cultural animation, dramaturgy and visual methodologies.

Research Outputs

All of the group are research active and have published their work in a number of leading international journals including: Journal of Consumer Research, Annals of Tourism Research, International Journal of Research in Marketing, European Journal of Operational Research, Sociology,  Journal of Advertising, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Consumption, Markets and Culture, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Consumer Culture, Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, and Psychology and Marketing, among others. Members are also Associate Editors for Journal of Consumer Research, Annals of Tourism Research, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Historical Research in Marketing,  Journal of Arts Marketing, and Journal of Marketing Management. In addition several group members serve on the advisory and editorial boards of  various journals including,  Consumption, Markets and Culture, Journal of Arts Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Marketing theory, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Marketing Theory, Journal of Customer BehaviourJournal of Place ManagementInternational Marketing Review, and  Journal of Advertising Research.

Some of the prizes won by colleagues in recent years include: ‘Outstanding Reviewer Award’ (Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management), Emerald Literati Awards for Excellence, as well as several conference track prizes at international conferences.

Members of the Culture Group have been hosted as guest speakers at a number of universities (including Keele, Liverpool, Bath, Newcastle, SOAS, Royal Holloway, University of London, and University of Westminster), as well as international institutions (including Kedge Business School, Bordeaux,  University of Limerick, Loyola University, Chicago,  University of Texas, Austin,  Deakin University, Melbourne,  University of Rhode Island, US, and Massey University, New Zealand. 

In addition to academic research, colleagues engage with external partners including: the charity Global Action Plan, Scottish Sculpture, Midlands Arts Centre, and the New Vic Theatre, Stoke on Trent.  A number are also members of the following bodies; The Market Research Society; The British Psychological Society; Association for Consumer Research, and The Higher Education Academy. Several also serve on academic committees including: The British Academy of Marketing Executive Committee, The  British Academy of Marketing Research Committee, Association for Consumer Research Programme Committee, European Association for Consumer Research Programme Committee, International Society of Markets and Development, and the Heritage, Non-profit and Social Marketing Special Interest Group.

Selected research publications

Griffin, C., Szmigin, I., et al. (forthcoming)“We achieve the impossible” Discourses of freedom and escape at music festivals and free parties, Journal of Consumer Culture Szmigin 

Rodner, V. and Kerrigan, F. (forthcoming) From Modernism to Populism –Art as a discursive mirror of the Nation Brand, European Journal of Marketing.

Tran, M., and Goulding, C (in press) The Orchestra of Ideas: Bringing Music to Illuminate the Fuzzy Front End Phase in Product Innovation, Journal of Business Research

Bengry-Howell, A., Griffin, C. and Morey, Y. ( 2017), Socio-Spatial Authenticity at Co-created Music Festivals, Annals of Tourism,  Vol. 63, March, 1-11.

Goulding, C. (2017). Navigating the Complexities of Grounded Theory Research in Advertising, Journal of Advertising, 46, (1), 61-70

Chaney, D and Goulding, C, (2016), Dress, Transformation and Conformity in the Heavy Rock Subculture, Journal of Business Research, 69, 115-165.

Goulding, C. and Saren, M. (2016). Transformation, Transcendence and Temporality in Theatrical Consumption, Journal of Business Research. 69, 2016-222.

Hart, A., Kerrigan, F. and vom Lehn, D.  (2016) Experiencing film: Subjective personal introspection and popular film consumption, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol. 33(2): 375-391.

Preece, C., Kerrigan, F. and O’Reilly, D. (2016). Framing the work: the composition of value in the visual arts. European Journal of Marketing, 50(7/8), 1377-1398.

Narvanen, E and Goulding, C. (2016). Sociocultural Brand Revitalization: The Role of Consumer Collectives in Bringing Brands Back to Life, European Journal of Marketing. 50 (7/8), 1521-1546.

Preece, C. and Kerrigan, F. (2015) Multi-stakeholder brand narratives: an analysis of the construction of artistic brands, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 31, Iss. 11-12

Szmigin, I. and Canning, L. (2015) Sociological Ambivalence and Funeral Consumption, Sociology. Vol. 49 (4), 748-763 

Members of the Culture Research Group

Group Lead

Professor Christina Goulding

Professor of Marketing and Director of Research, Marketing Department

Telephone: +44 (0)121 415 8438

Christina Goulding is Professor of Marketing and Director of Research for the Marketing group at BBS. Her research interests are two-fold. The first is consumer culture, ranging from cultural production and consumption (i.e. heritage and the arts), to non-mainstream sub-cultural consumption and the second is the development and application of qualitative research methodologies with a particular focus on Grounded Theory.

She is currently part of an ESRC funded team looking at the issue of marketplace exclusion.

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Christina Goulding

Chelsea Harfield 

Teaching Fellow in Marketing


Chelsea's main research interests surround issues related to consumer behaviour in tourism and service settings. She researches the marketing, presentation and interaction with Authenticity and Narrative Transportation at heritage sites. She is also interested in the role of sponsored content on social media, brand perceptions and trust, sponsorship and co-branding in sports partnerships, and consumer engagement.

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Chelsea Bailey

Dr. Finola Kerigan 

Reader in Marketing and Consumption

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 5658

Finola's research is in the field of marketing, specifically marketing within the arts and cultural industries. To date this research has focused on production and consumption issues in film and the visual arts, topics related to social media and branding.

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Finola Kerrigan

Dr. Andrew Pressey  

Reader in Marketing and Deputy Head, Marketing Department

Telephone: +44 (0)121 415 8179

Andrew has published (or has forthcoming) in excess of forty journal articles. He has won a number of awards for his research (including Emerald Management Reviews Citation of Excellence, and from the British Academy of Marketing), and acted as guest editor for the Journal of Marketing ManagementJournal of Business and Industrial MarketingIndustrial Marketing Management, and Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

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Andrew Pressey

Dr Alessandro Gerosa 

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 4577

Alessandro's current primary research project draws from an interdisciplinary approach to consumption studies to analyse the role of authenticity in contemporary taste and consumption patterns. To reach this aim, his research focuses on the role of small retailers and micro-entrepreneurs in the neo-craft (food and beverage) industries. The broader goal of the project is to better understand the current resurgence of production and consumption of craft products, and the related transformations of contemporary capitalism.

A second relevant stream of research focuses on digital cultures: in particular the use of digital methods for social research, the production and consumption of media in the digital realm and the role algorithms play in this process.

A third research interest concerns the creative and sharing economy and the contemporary developments of the coworking spaces phenomenon.

Alessandro Gerosa

Dr Julie Whiteman

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 8215

Julie Whiteman is an experienced marketer whose professional experience spans private, public and third sectors. Julie worked for several years in marketing before teaching professional marketing qualifications (Chartered Institute of Marketing and Institute of Sales and Marketing Management) and undertaking her PhD at University of Birmingham.

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Julie Whiteman

Dr Pilar Rojas Gaviria 

Telephone: +44 (0)121 414 2992

Dr Pilar has built her academic career between Europe and Latin America and her research and teaching competences and projects are a result of cross-cultural fertilization between ideas coming from both contexts. She is a Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) scholar and, as such, approach consumer behaviour from an interdisciplinary and interpretive perspective. In her research, she studies how intensive changes in contextual circumstances transforms consumers and markets.

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Pilar Rojas Gaviria

Dr Emma Surman

Telephone: +44(0)121 414 3295

Dr Emma Surman's research falls broadly within the areas of consumer culture, critical marketing, sociology of consumption and ethics and sustainability in relation to consumer practices. Recent projects have explored the links between the production and consumption of food including food swapping, communal eating, school gardens and community responses to food poverty. Emma has held grants from organisations including the EPRSC, ESRC and AHRC.

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emma surman

Professor Rohit Varman

Telephone: +44 (0)121 415 8356

Rohit uses interpretive methodologies and his broad areas of research are critical management/marketing and consumer culture. His current inter-disciplinary research focuses on corporate violence, exploitation, modern slavery, consumer ethics, and resistance to corporatization and marketization. He is also interested in history of marketing and impact of colonialism on consumer culture.

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Rohit Varman

Katharina Stolley 

Katharina Stolley is a Lecturer in the Department of Marketing at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. 

Her research is situated within the field of marketing, specifically marketing within the creative industries and lies at the intersection of cultural production and consumption, branding, marketing communications and ethics. Her pedagogic research interests include critical, sociocultural, and pragmatic approaches to pedagogy.

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Katharina Stolley

Dr Miriam McGowan


Miriam McGowan is a Lecturer in Marketing at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. Her research draws on a consumer psychology perspective to understand how social and situation factors impact consumer behaviour.

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Miriam McGowan

PhD Students

Mai Khan Tran (Mika)
Looking at the intersection between the arts and technology.

Maja Pulic
Examining the political construction and consumption of place and space in post conflict society.

Alexandra Frith
Using affect theory and its relationship to sites of trauma. 

If you require any further information on the group or would like to find out more about our research interests please email the group lead, Professor Christina Goulding (email:

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