I am a Senior Lecturer in Intercultural Studies at Brunel University, London – College of Business, Arts, and Social Sciences.
I have an interdisciplinary training and research background encompassing social research, the sociology of culture, and media and visual studies.
Expertise and Methods
My work revolves around the relations between identity, the media, and visual, material, and performance cultures. I focus on areas such as the heritage, tourism, and cultural industries. I am particularly interested in constructions and expressions of nationhood, regionalism, and ethnicity.
I specialize in qualitative social research, with an emphasis on fieldwork. I have done ethnographic research in Calabria, Italy, I am interested in the representations of Italy and its ‘Souths’, and I study Italian identities at home and abroad. I am also conducting studies on traditional and digital play practices and on festivals and processions in England and Italy.
Having previously obtained a BA and MAs in Communication Sciences & Publishing (Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna & SSSUB / Centro Studi Internazionale Umberto Eco), a passion for heritage discourses and the role of antiquity in the present motivated me to obtain a PhD in Intercultural Studies from University College London (Centre for Multicultural and Intercultural Inquiry).
My PhD research focused on the reception of Greek antiquity in the present. The project blended media analysis, archival work, and ethnographic research in heritage and tourism sites in Calabria, formerly part of ancient Greater Greece. My initial approach was iconographic and textual, but fieldwork inspired a substantial shift to ethnographic methods and a focus on matters of social and political relevance in social context, resulting in publishing my monograph Geographies of Myth.
Since then I have been focusing most of my work on the study of heritage and memory as well as regionalism and nationhood, in areas such as tourism, the cultural industries, and civic and institutional groups, also in relation to the representations of Italian cultures at home and abroad. As part of my work in this area, I applied to become a member of SIAC – Società Italiana di Antropologia Culturale and I joined the Editorial Board of JICMS – Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies.
Overall, my previous and current research has looked at the themes of identity and otherness in areas that include heritage and historical reception, youth subcultures, pornography and the monstrous, national media industries, gender studies, & animal representation. While completing my PhD, I taught Media and Cultural Studies at various institutions, including University College London and the University of the Arts (LCC & CSM).
I have also been quite active in the study of play and games, also as a Founding Member and Managing Editor of independent, peer-reviewed journal GAME and as a Board Member of DiGRA Italia & British DiGRA.
Since joining Brunel University in 2019 my work has increasingly shifted towards developing expertise in research methodologies and convening collaborative and interdisciplinary research project, as well as towards applied design and media production for cultural and social research and intervention.
- Performance, Play, and Ritual
- National and Regional Identities and Industries
- Heritage, Public Histories, and Tourism
- Geography, Myth, and Folklore
- Visual and Material Cultures
- Traditional and Digital Games
- Methodology, Epistemology, and Interdisciplinary Research
Recent & Current Projects
- My recent monograph Geographies of Myth and places of Identity (2022) investigates the social impact of the historical narratives of Great Greece and Homeric Geographies on the representations, tourism policies, and local historiographies of Calabria, Italy (2022).
- Since 2022 I have been conducting a collaborative, multi-method pilot study titled Across the Channel. Italians in the UK after Brexit (supported by Brunel’s Institute of Communities and Society) which aims to explore the recent experiences of Italians and British-Italians (2022).
- Since 2023 I have been conducting a study on Masked Festivals in the United Kingdom and Europe.
- I am currently co-editing with Giovanna Summerfield a forthcoming Special Issue of JICMS on Italy’s Souths and Islands in Film, Media and Visual Cultures (2000–2022)
- I am currently co-investigating a Brunel Interdisciplinary Research Group (BRIL) on the social reception of Lab-Grown Meats (2022).