Professor Anna Reading

Professor Anna Reading with trees and the Female Orphan School in the background.Professor Anna Reading has played a leading international role in the emergent interdisciplinary field of social and cultural memory studies. Her work develops the new epistemology of 'the globital memory field' using dynamic methods of digital analysis to understand the immersive and connective ecologies of social memory. She has given keynotes and conference papers around the world and is the author of a range of books and articles, including, Polish women, solidarity and feminism (1992, Macmillan), Communism, capitalism and the mass media with C Sparks (1998, Sage), The social inheritance of the Holocaust: gender, culture and memory (2002, Palgrave) and Gender and memory in the globital age (2016, Palgrave). She is also a co-editor of The media in Britain with J Stokes (1999, MacMillan), Save memories (2009, Palgrave) and Cultural memories of nonviolent struggles with T Katriel (2015, Palgrave). She also writes plays, linking her academic work with a wider public.

Professor Reading's interdisciplinary work deals with questions of social and cultural transformation focusing on:

  • Digital methodologies and knowledge practices
  • Cultural and digital memory
  • Social transition and digital cultures
  • Cultural heritage and collective memory rights
  • Human rights, ethnicity and gender in public cultures.

Professor Reading is Chair of the Board and an Editor of the journal Media, Culture & Society (opens in a new window). She is on the boards of Memory Studies, and the Journal of the Philosophy of Photography. She is a member of the UK's ESRC Review College and reviews for other major funders internationally, as well as many journals and publishers. She founded and was the first Director of the Centre for Media and Culture Research at London South Bank University (opens in a new window), UK, 2009-11. She was Head of the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries, Kings College, University of London (opens in a new window)(2013-16).

Professor Reading values collaborative research that engages with processes of social and cultural change. She has acted as an advisor to Fuel Theatre, the Imperial War Museum, London, Shoah Visual History Foundation, Sydney Jewish Museum, The Holocaust Education Trust, The Independent Theatre Council, BBC World Service, Microsoft Digital Research Centre and the House of Commons, UK. She was a partner to the Women's National Commission (opens in a new window)(UK Cabinet Office) between 2003-2010 advising on equalities and cultural policy. She is currently on the Calvert Committee for the Development of Cultural and Creative Industries in Russia and the New East and is on the advisory group for the planned UK Holocaust Memorial.

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1996, PhD in Communication, 'Socially Inherited Memory, Gender and the Public Sphere in Poland', University of Westminster, UK

1991, Post Graduate Diploma in Periodical Journalism, London School of Printing, UK

1988, MA in Women's Studies (Distinction), University of York, UK

1987, BA in English and Politics (First Class), University of York, UK

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Honours and Awards

2017: Visiting Professor. CEPIN Research School, University of Tromso, Norway. April

2016-2018: Alliance PLuS Fellow, Kings, Arizona State University, US and UNSW, Australia

2016: Visiting Professor SELMA – Centre for the Study of Storytelling. University of Turku, Finland

2011-14: Visiting Research Professor, Centre for Media and Culture Research, London South Bank University

2011-14: Honorary Visiting Professor, Department of Social Sciences, University of Loughborough, UK

2011-12: Research Associate (opens in a new window), Centre for Cultural Policy Research, Glasgow University, UK

June 2011: Visiting Research Professor, CEPIN Research School (opens in a new window), University of Tromso, Norway

2008: London South Bank University Annual Prize for Research Excellence

May 2002: Visiting Research Fellowship, Centre for the Study of Women, University of California Los Angeles

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Selected Publications


Reading, A 2016, Gender and memory in the globital age (opens in a new window), Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Reading, A & Katriel, T (eds) 2015, Cultural memories of nonviolent struggles: powerful times, Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Garde-Hansen, J, Hoskins, A & Reading, A (eds) 2009, Save as... digital memories Palgrave Macmillan , London.

Reading, A 2002, The social inheritance of the holocaust: gender, culture and memory,  Palgrave Macmillan , London.

Reading, A & Stokes, J 1999, The media in Britain: current debates and developments,  Palgrave Macmillan , Basingstoke.

Sparks, C with Reading, A 1998, Communism, capitalism and the mass media, Sage, London.

Reading, A 1992, Polish women, solidarity and feminism,  Palgrave Macmillan , Basingstoke.

Book Chapters

Reading, A &  Katriel, T 2015, 'Introduction', in A Reading & T Katriel (eds), Cultural memories of nonviolent struggles: powerful times Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 1-31. 

Reading, A 2015, 'Singing for my life: memory, nonviolence and the songs of Greenham Common Women's peace camp', in  A Reading & T Katriel (eds), Cultural memories of nonviolent struggles: powerful times Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 147-165. 

Reading, A 2015, 'Making feminist heritage work: gender and heritage', in E Waterton & S Watson (eds), The Palgrave handbook of contemporary heritage research, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 397-410.

Reading, A 2014, 'Making memory work for feminist theory', in M Evans, C Hemmings, M Henry, H Johnstone, S Madhok, A Plomien & S Wearing (eds), The Sage handbook of feminist theory , Sage, UK, pp. 196-214.  

Reading, A 2014, 'The journalist as memory assembler: non-memory, the War on Terror and the shooting of Osama Bin Laden', in B Zeilzer & K  Tenenboim-Weinblatt (EDS),  Journalism and memory, Palgrave Macmillan, UK, pp. 164-178.  

Reading, A 2013, 'Europe's other world: Romany memory within the new dynamics of the globital memory field', in E Rutten, J Fedor & V Zrevava (eds), Memory, conflict and new media: web wars in post-socialist states, Routledge, UK, pp. 21-31.

Reading, A 2012, 'The European Roma: an unsettled right to memory', in P Lee & PN Thomas (eds), Public memory, public media, and the politics of justice, Palgrave, London, pp. 121-40.

Reading, A 2012, 'Globital time: time in the digital globalised age', in E Keightley (ed.), Time, media and modernity, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 143-62.

Reading, A 2011, 'Globalisation and digital memory: globital memory's six dynamics', in M Neiger, O Meyers & E Zandberg (eds), On media memory, Palgrave, Basingstoke, pp. 241-52.

Reading, A 2011, 'Globital witnessing: mobile memories of atrocity and terror from London and Iran', in K Hall & K Jones (eds), Constructions of conflict: transmitting memories of the past in European historiography, literature and culture, Peter Lang, Oxford, pp. 73-90.

Garde-Hansen, J, Hoskins, A & Reading, A 2009, 'Introduction', in J Garde-Hansen, A Hoskins & A Reading (eds), Save as…digital memories, Palgrave, London, pp. 1-26.

Reading, A 2009, 'Memobilia: mobile phones making new memory forms', in J Garde-Hansen, A Hoskins & A Reading (eds), Save as…digital memories, Palgrave, London, pp. 81-95.

Harvey, C & Reading, A 2008, 'Remembrance of things fast: conceptualising nostalgic-play in the Battlestar Galactica video game', in Z Whalen & L Taylor (eds), Playing the past: history and nostalgia in video games, Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville, pp. 164-82.

Reading, A 2007, 'Anthologised - extract from book, Gender, memory and culture: the social inheritance of the Holocaust', in M Rossington & A Whitehead (eds), Theories of memory: a reader, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 219-22.

Reading, A 2005, 'The making of social memories? Young people's reception of Holocaust films in different cultural contexts', in T Haggith & J Newman (eds), The Holocaust and the moving image: representations in film and television since 1933, Wallflower Press, London, pp. 211-16.

Reading, A 2003, 'Sale of the century: engendering media policy in Eastern Europe', in D Paletz & K Jakubowicz (eds), Business as usual? Media in Eastern Europe, Hampton Press, Cresskill, pp. 385-412.

Reading, A 2001, 'Clicking on Hitler: the virtual Holocaust @home', in B Zelizer (ed.), Visual culture and the Holocaust, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, pp. 323-39.

Reading, A 1999, 'Regulation and media policy', in A Reading & J Stokes (eds), The media in Britain: current debates and developments, Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 127-29.

Stokes, J & Reading, A 1999, 'Media material: content and representation', in A Reading & J Stokes (eds), The media in Britain: current debates and developments, Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 185-90.

Reading, A 1999, 'Selling sexuality in the lesbian and gay press', in A Reading & J Stokes (eds), The media in Britain: current debates and developments, Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 265-72.

Reading, A 1999, 'Campaigns to change the media', in A Reading & J Stokes (eds), The media in Britain: current debates and developments, Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 170-81.

Reading, A 1995, 'The president's men: television, gender and the public sphere in Central and Eastern Europe', in P Preston & C Corcoran (eds), Democracy and communication in the new Europe, Hampton Press, Cresskill, pp. 175-94.

Reading, A & Sparks, C 1995, 'Re-regulating broadcasting in Eastern and Central Europe: a comparative analysis', in P Preston & C Corcoran (eds), Democracy and communication in the new Europe, Hampton Press, Cresskill, pp. 31-50.

Journal Articles

Reading, A 2018, Neurodiversity and communication ethics: how images of Autism trouble communication ethics in the globital age (opens in a new window), Cultural Studies Review, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 113-129.

Reading, A & Notley, T 2015, 'The materiality of globital memory: bringing the cloud to earth' (opens in a new window) vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 511-521.

Reading, A 2014, 'Seeing red: a political economy of digital memory', Media, Culture & Society , vol. 36, no. 6, pp. 748-760.

Reading, A 2014, 'Mediated mobilities',  Media, Culture & Society , vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 285-301.  

Reading, A 2012, 'The dynamics of zero: on digital memories of Mars and the human foetus in the globital memory field', ESSACHESS: Journal for Communication Studies, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 21-44.

Reading, A 2011, 'Identity, memory and cosmopolitanism: the otherness of the past and a right to memory' (opens in a new window), European Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 379-94.

Reading, A 2011, 'The London bombings: mobile witnessing, mortal bodies and globital time' (opens in a new window), Memory Studies, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 298-311.

Reading, A 2010, 'Gender and the right to memory', Media Development, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 11-15.

Reading, A 2009, 'Mobile witnessing: ethics and the camera phone in the War on Terror' (opens in a new window), Globalizations, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 61-76.

Reading, A 2009, 'The playful panopticon? Ethics and the coded self in social networking sites', Communications in the 21st Century, engagement and exposure: mobile communication and the ethics of social networking, no. 8, pp. 93-102.

Reading, A 2008, 'The mobile family gallery? Gender, memory and the cameraphone', Trames: A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 353-39.

Reading, A 2005, 'Professing porn or obscene browsing? On proper distance in the university classroom' (opens in a new window), Media Culture and Society, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 123-30.

Reading, A 2003, 'Digital interactivity in public memory institutions: the uses of new technologies in Holocaust museums' (opens in a new window), Media Culture and Society, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 67-85.

Reading, A 1999, 'Scarlet lips in Belsen: culture, gender and ethnicity in the policies of the Holocaust' (opens in a new window), Media Culture and Society, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 481-501.

Reading, A 1994, 'The people versus the king: Polish broadcasting legislation', Media Law and Practice, vol. 1, no. 15, pp. 7-12.

Reading, A & Sparks, C 1994, 'Understanding media change in East-Central Europe' (opens in a new window), Media Culture and Society, no. 16, 243-70.

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Recent Grants

2016-19: Neilson, B, Rossiter, N, Notley, T with Pang, L, Harney, S, Mezzadra, S, Reading, A and Sprenger, F. Principal International Partner, 'Data Centres and the Governance of Labour and Territory, Australian Research Council Discovery Project, AUS $433,790.

2016-18: Netherlands Council for Scientific Research. 'Digital Memory of the Shoah' Yra Van Dijk, University of Leiden, Romy Achituv (Independent Digital Artist) Alexander Etkind (European University Institute, Florence), Research Group Public History (Goethe University, Frankfurt) Digital Memory Research Warsaw (Iwona Kurz, University Warsaw and Joanna Król, POLIN Museum Warsaw). Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries, Kings College London (Anna Reading and Jessica Rapson). AUS $43,000.

2017-19: Migration, Mobility & Belonging: GLAM + University Collaborative Ecologies in a World on the Move APLuS Alliance Collaborative Research Seed Grant Award Round Two: 2016. AUS $49,000.

2013: HEFCE Widening Participation. Worked with Dr Roberta Comunian and the Vice Principal for Education to develop a Kings bid for UK funding to enable support for non-traditional applicants for MA bursaries. Secured funds for five MA bursaries plus PhD mentors for MA Cultural and Creative Industries for 2014-15, along with PhD mentors.

2013: NESTA Digital R and D Fund for the Arts. With City of London Sinfonia and Hover Studio Ltd. Joint Lead with Nick Wilson. Developed this collaborative bid between industry and academia to fund an app for children to learn about classical music.

2010-12: 'Developing innovations in digital globalised distribution networks', lead Academic, UK Arts and Humanities Research Council/Technology Strategy Board, AUS $281,895.

2010: 'Diasporic communities, digital cultures and social work policy and practice', joint award with Professor Keith Popple, Faculty of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University for appointment of Dr Jonathan Davies, Senior Research Fellow to conduct pilot study, Vice Chancellors Research Fund, AUS $15,987.

2010: 'Globital memory wars', Centre for Media and Culture Research/Institute for Social Science Research, QR Major Research Award for Research Leave, for pilot research on the ways in which mobile and social technologies are changing gendered memory practices, AUS $7,993.

2009: 'Time and memory in British theatre', Russian Federation, Ministry of Education, principal Investigator, research project with Tanya Nikitina, University of Moscow involving new digital media archives of performances at National Theatre UK, AUS $29,737.

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Professor Reading's research is also articulated through her plays. She co-founded Strip Search Theatre, and is the author of seven plays commissioned and performed by different companies internationally. These include Kiss Punch Goodnight, Want, Hard-Core, Grandma's Garden, The Stoning, Falling, RP35 and Cacti Hearts (opens in a new window). Her plays are referenced in Aleks Siertz, In Yer Face Theatre: British Theatre in the 1990s (opens in a new window); Faber's Women's Theatre, Volume 7; Christina Wald's Hysteria, trauma and melancholia: performative maladies in contemporary anglophone drama (opens in a new window)(2007). Her most recent short script, A Letter to My Daughter (2013) has toured with Fuel Theatre UK, as part of the Phenomenal People live-digital theatre project, is translated into Finnish and published in Gender and memory in the globital age (opens in a new window).

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