Bella Dicks

Bella Dicks
Cardiff University | CU · School of Social Sciences

PhD

About

53
Publications
18,772
Reads
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1,310
Citations
Citations since 2016
5 Research Items
693 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
2016201720182019202020212022020406080100
Introduction
I am a sociologist and qualitative researcher who specialises in three main fields: heritage and museum studies; urban regeneration and urban ethnography; qualitative social research methods (especially in digital and multimodal research). I am a professor at Cardiff University, and am currently seconded to the National Museum of Wales as Head of Research.
Additional affiliations
October 1997 - present
Cardiff University
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (53)
Article
Full-text available
This article aims to show the clearly differentiated national context in which concepts of community as used in heritage developed from the late nineteenth century to the present day. In the first part of this article, we look at the origins of the academic use of ‘community’ in Germany from the late nineteenth century to the present day arguing th...
Article
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This article argues that Pierre Bourdieu’s conceptual framework of habitus, field and symbolic capital has much to offer museum and heritage visitor studies. However, rather than focusing on his well-known critique of high-cultural taste, the discussion here concerns displays of the ‘ordinary’ and social histories - of occupations, crafts, places,...
Chapter
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Chapter
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This is the voice of ‘ordinary’ Bryn Rees, a retired miner from the Rhondda Valleys in South Wales, UK, addressing visitors to the colliery where he used to work. It has now become the Rhondda Heritage Park, a ‘living history’ heritage centre, where Bryn tells the story of his life in the 1950s, shortly after nationalization of the coal industry. H...
Article
Full-text available
This article discusses three qualitative research traditions concerned with ‘multimodal’ and ‘multisensory’ methods, namely: i) ethnomethodology, ii) multisensory ethnography and iii) social semiotics. These have been selected not because they are the only research domains in which qualitative multimodal methodology is currently developing, but bec...
Article
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This paper discusses the contradictions of citizen participation in regeneration. Focusing on the south Wales Valleys, it observes that the creation of the Welsh Assembly in 1999 created a window of opportunity for a radical, bottom–up programme of ‘non-prescriptive’ regeneration, Communities First, which invoked active citizenship to address democ...
Article
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This paper presents findings from a qualitative UK study exploring the social practices of schoolchildren visiting an interactive science discovery centre. It is promoted as a place for ‘learning through doing’, but the multi-modal, ethnographic methods adopted suggest that children were primarily engaged in (1) sensory pleasure-taking and (2) play...
Article
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This article discusses how emergent sensory and multimodal methodologies can work in interaction to produce innovative social enquiry. A juxtaposition of two research projects — an ethnography of corridors and a mixed methods study of multimodal authoring and ‘reading’ practices — opened up this encounter. Sensory ethnography within social research...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper focuses on how museums in particular but also wider cultural attractions have become increasingly focused on closing the gap between visitor and display. The argument focuses on the shift from didacticism to interpretation, occurring roughly around the end of the '70s/ beginnings of the '80s, and through to interactivity, which really to...
Article
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Industrial heritage deals directly with working-class experience in a very public forum, but has not really been analysed in relation to class issues. This article discusses the case of ex-workers re-employed as heritage guides to tell the story of their own lives at a living history coalmining-museum, exploring the nature of the performances/repre...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter discusses how qualitative researchers can make use of two related, emergent approaches for handling digital qualitative data - 'multimedia methods’ and computer-aided hypermedia. We discuss how digital environments on the computer screen can allow data in diverse media to be conceived and handled in exciting new ways. Whilst multimedia...
Article
The paper presents some key findings of qualitative research with older primary school children in Wales on their attachments to places and cultures. There is discussion of children's perspectives on the global, national and local arenas. We argue both that there are continuities with adult perspectives and that the children's views on place and id...
Article
This paper seeks to open up debate around context and the re-analysis of stored qualitative data. How to ensure that subsequent users of deposited datasets can appreciate and be guided by the context of the original study? The paper introduces the idea of hypertext as one way of facilitating this. We discuss how ‘context’ might be thought through i...
Article
Full-text available
This paper considers some of the methodological implications of undertaking and representing multimedia and digital, ethnographic work. It explores some of the challenges and opportunities of working with and across a range of media, and explores some of the consequences of bringing hypermedia applications to ethnographic work. The paper draws on a...
Article
Full-text available
Ethnographers, like other researchers, currently have a broad range of media at their disposal for conducting fieldwork, for aiding analysis and, most challengingly, for representing their completed work. These include digital media such as photographs, video film, audio-recordings, graphics and others besides. Through the computer ‘writing space’,...
Article
Full-text available
This paper seeks to open up debate around context and the re-analysis of stored qualitative data. How to ensure that subsequent users of deposited datasets can appreciate and be guided by the context of the original study? The paper introduces the idea of hypertext as one way of facilitating this. We discuss how 'context' might be thought through i...
Book
Digital culture and digital technologies have rapidly become unavoidable and essential forms of social experience and communication in our emerging globalised society. If we want to attempt to analyse and understand our technology-saturated society, and all its new media, then we must also develop research methods and forms of analysis that can acc...
Book
This is the first sociological text to focus on how children identify with nation and locality. The authors take a broad social scientific approach to their topic, eschewing the disciplinary partisan tendencies of many childhood researchers. The book is rooted in original qualitative research the authors conducted with a diverse sample of children...
Book
This book invites the reader to understand how culture is used to regenerate and promote urban and countryside locations, making them into today's visitor destinations. These exhibitory sites are discussed within the context of key social, economic and cultural transformations, including contemporary practices of tourism and travel, strategies of e...
Article
Full-text available
This paper seeks to uncover what the marketization of heritage means in practice. Ironically, both the sponsors and the critics of heritage may over-estimate how amenable it is to the ‘spirit of enterprise’ (whether loved or loathed). This is particularly the case with heritage visitor-sites which have been set up with regeneration-targeted funding...
Chapter
Full-text available
There is much current interest in hypermedia for reconfiguring academic ethnographic and sociological writing practices. However, very few such hypertexts have actually appeared. In spite of the hype around hypermedia, academic authoring remains tied to book-derived conventions, based on deep-rooted expectations as to how the credibility of academi...
Article
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New developments in multimedia and hypermedia technology have raised important questions for the conduct and dissemination of sociological research. Attention has traditionally focused on uses of new media for teaching, but their application to research is now also becoming clearer. There has been particular interest - although little practical wor...
Article
New developments in multimedia and hypermedia technology have raised important questions for the conduct and dissemination of sociological research. Attention has traditionally focused on uses of new media for teaching, but their application to research is now also becoming clearer. There has been particular interest—although little practical work...
Article
Full-text available
Book
The long-term decline of the British coal industry has had serious and lasting implications for miners, their families and communities. Out of the Ashes? Presents an authoritative review of the history and current state of this process. Drawing on their own research in Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire mining communities, the authors chart the im...
Chapter
This paper reports on a study that examined how the newly created Welsh Assembly Government had embraced the voluntary sector in Wales to try and establish a new way of doing politics. This was supposed to herald a more citizen-focused and community-centred politics, addressing the democratic deficit that had helped usher devolution in. Nevertheles...
Article
This paper argues that heritage often adopts 'a view from the hill' in representing complex local lives and histories as if they were a symbolic and actual unity. The visual image of the 'view of our town from the hill' was frequently used in British social realist films of the 1960s, where a working-class, socially-mobile young protagonist would g...
Article
Full-text available
This article notes the `vernacular aesthetic' at work in the new breed of experience-centred heritage museums, which foreground and celebrate the ordinary lives of `the people'. It seeks to understand how constructs of `the people' are produced at such museums. Many existing treatments of heritage museums have analysed them as symptoms of totalizin...
Book
This book is based on my doctoral work, which traced the transformation of a colliery in South Wales into a heritage 'park'. It presents a sociologically-informed historical account of how this transformation was effected, pulling out the often competing interests and investments manifest in the interactions and perspectives of the various parties...
Article
Full-text available
Many new heritage centres put on display the history of ‘a people’ and construct narratives which are organized around the trope of ‘community’. These narratives are based on prior acts of imagining that represent the social subjects of history as bound together in a social, spatial and temporal identity. This article discusses these representation...
Chapter
This paper discusses how nations and places are imagined and made concrete through heritage and museum representations, which draw boundaries around space and create collective identities by assigning unifying cultural characteristics. It draws on the work of Benedict Anderson and Homi Bhabha to theorise how narratives seek to produce an impossible...
Chapter
This chapter discusses how qualitative methods were used in the South Yorkshire mining communities study that the authors undertook, and illuminates how the qualitative data enabled rich insights to be gained that complemented the findings generated by the survey method.
Article
Current interest in ethnography within social research has focused on its potential to offer insights into the complexity of the social world. There have increasingly been calls for ethnography to reflect this complexity more adequately. Two aspects of ethnographic enquiry have been particularly singled out as areas in need of redefinition: the del...
Chapter
This chapter reports from a study of South Yorkshire mining communities in the 1990s where families were facing the threat or actuality of put closure. It was found that traditional gender roles were undergoing significant strain as women found themselves having to take up the role of breadwinner at the same time as the traditional gendered domesti...
Chapter
This paper reports on research undertaken with local service providers in four current and ex mining communities in South Yorkshire in the early 1990s. They included GPs, headteachers, education and welfare officers, social workers, vicars and local councillors. Their accounts illuminated the strains that local families were facing as the 1980s-199...
Article
Full-text available
The representation of community entails a particular imagination of time, simultaneously chronological and subjective. The subjective sense of time is a central feature of heritage representational practice, which utilizes reconstruction and spectacle to supplement the chronological time of linear historiography with a plurality of personalized cam...
Chapter
This paper reports from research undertaken in four mining communities in South Yorkshire. The project was supported by a grant from ESRC, and its aim was to examine how miners, ex-miners and their families were coping with the threat or reality of pit closure. This chapter focuses in particular on women's experiences, and illuminates the stresses...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents an overview of what eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is and how it might be applied to the arching and sharing of qualitative multimedia data. It provides information about various current metadata schemas and initiatives based on XML which are primarily applied to textual data. An outline of the levels of metadata required for...

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