School of Arts and Cultures

Staff Profiles

Dr Gareth Longstaff

Lecturer - Media and Cultural Studies & Head of Teaching and Learning – Media, Culture, Heritage



I am a lecturer in media and cultural theory and the head of learning and teaching for both the UG and PGT programmes in Media, Culture, Heritage. My teaching and research interests are primarily concerned with sexuality, celebrity, pornography discourses of representation / self representation, identity/identifications, nostalgia, psychoanalysis and visual culture. I work at the intersection of how these are connected to other dimensions of cultural, philosophical, mediated and social life and in my research I closely engage with queer theoretical critique and Lacanian psychoanalysis to do so. At its core both my teaching and research seeks to examine the construction and representation of subjectivity, identity and desire via the mediation of the subject in film, photography, pornography/sexual representation, and networked / digital media.  I also work towards how these paradigms are connected to other dimensions of visual, cultural and social experience.


Undergraduate Teaching

  • Representations: Identity, Culture and Society
  • Celebrity Culture
  • Television: Texts, Genres and Screens 
  • Dissertation Supervision

Postgraduate Teaching

  • Methodologies: Researching Media, Culture & Society
  • Dissertation Supervision


My current research can be split into three inter-related strands.  

Psychoanalysis and Queer Theory - In the first, I am extending my research around the critical use of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis in relation to contemporary representations of gender, masculinity, sexuality, and desire in pornographic and digital / networked media.  I am also interested in emerging transformations, and circulations, of the categories of ‘personal’ and ‘impersonal’ which are reconfiguring how we think about representation and self-representation. In particular, my most recently published work and work in preparation attempts to critically connect these practices with online and offline modes of desire and signification. 

Celebrity, Pornography and Self-Representation -  In the second, I am honing in this interest in desire to specifically examine how identity and identification through mediated strategies of representation activate a precarious politics of psycho-socio-sexual desire.   In this strand, I have been concentrating on the paradigms of neoliberalism, self-representation, celebrity, reality TV, authenticity, and nostalgia in order to think about how, where, and why desire occurs in contemporary media.  Recent activity includes ‘From Reality to Fantasy: Gay celebrity, pornography, and representation’ published in The Journal of Celebrity Studies: Sex and the Celebrity (Routledge); a chapter on Queer Theory with EUP and another on Celebrity Sex Tapes in The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex and Sexuality. I am also in the process of producing my first monograph 'Celebrity and Pornography: Psychoanalysis and the Politics of Self-Representation' due to publication in 2019. 

Queer Media, Culture and Heritage - In the third and I have also created and lead on the Queer Media, Culture and Heritage (QMCH) seminar series and project that connects to the broad themes around ‘Who we are’ (and ‘who we are not’) as queer subjects in the North-East region and beyond. The projects content and output is directly allied to queer / LGBT identities and identifications, representation and the ways in which cultural change is closely connected to the impact of mediated changes in community, resistance and performance in the region. It also correlates and is shaped by issues connected to heritage, creative arts practice, social renewal, oral histories and archives/special collections. All of these inter-disciplinary themes and approaches will be addressed and explored through a regular programme of talks and screenings.