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Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Beyoncé, TOWIE and Thomas à Becket will all feature in a research conference to be hosted by the University of East London next Wednesday.
The university will use the event to showcase some of its most innovative research, including a dissection of the impact of celebrity culture in Essex, untangling the lousy reputation of head lice and sexism in the music industry.
All three projects will be part of the university’s annual one-day research conference which will take place at SportsDock, at UEL’s Docklands Campus. It will give researchers the chance to share their work with UEL colleagues and the public.
One of the presentations, from Dr Helen Powell, principal lecturer in advertising in the School of Arts and Digital Industries, is entitled ‘From Thomas a Becket to Amy Childs: The commodification of hero worship and the impact of reality TV on an Essex town’.
Powell looks at Brentwood, Essex, which was founded as a site by pilgrims to worship St Thomas à Becket. Fuelled by the popularity of reality TV show, The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE), today’s ‘pilgrims’ gather in their idols’ shops , driving consumerism and consequently transforming the town into a branded space that mirrors the television programme. Powell explores the commodification of celebrity culture, and its impact on transforming places, particularly through youth consumption and especially the buying power of young males.
Dr Sally Cutler, reader in the School of Health, Sport and Bioscience will present her paper: ‘Do lice deserve their lousy reputation?’ Her research assess the impact of head louse infestation in the deprived areas of East London through a multi-disciplinary approach that will embrace social, educational and potential infection consequences of louse infestations.
For more information and to register a place visit: uel.ac.uk/research/research-news/researchconference/