Karen Patel

PhD Researcher, School of Media

Birmingham School of Media

Karen is a Midlands 3 Cities funded PhD student based at the Birmingham School of Media. She is looking at the social media use of artists, in particular their performance of expertise on social media. She is also considering gender and expertise, and the role of social media in cultural labour.

In November 2016 she organised a symposium at the University on The Politics of Expertise in Media and Cultural Research, which included speakers from around Europe. She has also presented her research at various conferences around the UK and in Europe.

She initially developed an interest in social media during her undergraduate degree in journalism and her Master's in Media and Creative Enterprise, both of which she undertook with the School of Media at the University. 

Karen also works part time for the University, she is Research Web and Social Media Officer in the Research, Innovation and Enterprise team.


PhD in Media - Birmingham City University (2014-2017 - pending)

MA in Media and Creative Enterprise - Birmingham City University (2009-2010) - Distinction

BA (hons) Media and Communication (Journalism) - Birmingham City University (2006-2009) - First Class

  • Member of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA)
  • Member of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)
  • Member of the International Communication Association (ICA)
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Karen has taught sessions in the School of Media on media theory (BA), expertise in cultural policy (MA) and workshop sessions on networking and project management (MA). 


Karen's research interests are in the politics of expertise, cultural work, social media, gender and feminism.


Book chapters

Vlogging careers: everyday expertise, collaboration and authenticity (forthcoming, with D. Ashton) in S. Taylor and S. Luckman, eds. The 'new normal' of working lives: critical studies in contemporary work and employment. Palgrave Macmillan.

Expertise and Collaboration: Cultural Workers Performance on Social Media (forthcoming) in J. Graham and A. Gandini (eds) Collaborative Production in the Creative Industries. University of Westminster Press.

Conference papers

Cultural labour, social media and expertise: the experiences of female artists (2016)
Presented at ECREA, Prague, 9-12 November 2016

Social Media Labour and Cultural Work (2016)
Presented at MeCCSA PGN, University of Leicester, 7-8 July 2016

Female artists’ performance of expertise on social media: competition or collaboration?(2016) Presented at (In)visible Cultures, King's College London, 13 Jun 2016

Cultural Workers' Performance of Expertise on Social Media (2015). Presented at The creative industries and collaborative production, University of Middlesex 13 Nov 2015 and Challenging Media Landscapes University of Salford 16 Nov 2015.

The Performance of Expertise on Social Media by Creative and Cultural Workers (2015). Presented at Cultures in Disarray, Kings College London 11 Jun 2015 and Reframing Media/Cultural Studies University of Westminster 19 Jun 2015.

Links and Social Media