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Karen Ross

Doing research that has an impact on people’s lives:

The advantages of participatory research and using film as research output

Karen is a Professor in Gender and Media and Director of Research at the School of Arts and Cultures at Newcastle University. Her research is about news presentation, politicians’ self-representation on social media, representation of older women in fact-based media, and community focused projects with women. Karen told me that the idea of working with older women in her community in Newcastle started from recognising herself as an older woman and wanting to do something which was more participatory and has a real impact on people and her local community.

Currently, Karen is working on a number of projects, including a menopause project with local women in Newcastle, which encompasses an animation film that will be used for training health practitioners and to raise awareness. To develop the film as well as a workshop for this project, Karen worked with the animator Sheryl Jenkins and a colleague abroad.  She told me that this project provides a platform for a diversity of voices, including Geordie women and their experience of menopause.

Film is something Karen has used much throughout her career. She thinks that, as a research output, it is a very powerful medium, as it engages people much more than a conference paper.

Watch the video to hear more about Karen’s experience as a researcher, her motivation to research older women, and to meet her dog Frieda, who made sure her voice (and squeaky toy) was given a platform as well. 


Check out Karen’s website,,  or her staff profile to read more about her research and projects.

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences