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Biography

Rachael is a scholar in the fields of digital culture, communication and social analysis. Rachael’s academic research is interdisciplinary and interested in the impact and influence of new media upon our social and cultural dimensions, specifically the intersection of technology and the body, health and surveillance.

Rachael gained her Ph.D. from the department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries, King’s College London. Her thesis examined the use of self-tracking technologies and social media in self-representations and management of health. Rachael has a BA (Hons) with a First Class in Media and Communication Studies (2010), and a MA with Distinction in Creative Media from the University of Brighton (2014). 

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • Digital health and food cultures
  • Quantified-self and self-tracking
  • Datafication and surveillance
  • Identity and mediated bodies
  • Social media and (self-) representation
  • Ethnography and qualitative research methods

Rachael’s current research is interested in examining the intersection of technology and the body, health, surveillance and representation. 

Teaching 

Rachael teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels on many areas of digital culture and society: social media, identity and representation, online communities, digital politics, (digital) health, self-tracking, surveillance and the medical humanities.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Rachael is a frequent speaker at international, multi-disciplinary conferences, workshops and public events.

Since 2015 Rachael has been project lead on the European Research Council funded Ego-Media Project which examines the role and impact of new media upon self-presentation: http://www.ego-media.org/author/rachael-kent/

Rachael is committed to embedding academic research within cultural settings, as well as exploring innovative ways to communicate academic knowledge and expertise. Rachael has collaborated with cultural institutions, including exhibiting two films on her research at the Somerset House ‘Dear Diary’ Exhibition: http://deardiaryexpo.co.uk/ (2017), available to view here: http://www.ego-media.org/projects/the-use-of-social-media-in-self-representations-of-health/. She has also hosted events (‘Life Online’) at the Science Museum ‘Lates’ evenings. 

Selected Publications 

  • Kent, R. (Forthcoming) ‘Self-tracking Health Over Time: From the Use of Instagram to Perform Optimal Health to the Protective Shield of the Digital Detox’, Social Media + Society Special Issue: Studying Instagram Beyond Selfies
  • Kent, R. (Forthcoming). 'The Utility of Ethnographic Methods in Identifying the Influences of Digital Food Cultures Upon Users’ Everyday Lives’, In Krogager, S, G, Stinne. and Leer, Jonatan. (eds) How to do a Digital Food Study. Routledge.
  • Kent, R. (Forthcoming) ‘Self-Tracking and Digital Food Cultures: Surveillance and Representation of the Moral ‘Healthy’ Body’. In Lupton, Deborah and Feldman, Zeena. (eds.) Digital Food Cultures. Routledge.
  • Kent R. (2018) Social Media and Self-Tracking: Representing the ‘Health Self’. In: Ajana B. (eds) Self-Tracking. Palgrave Macmillan: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-65379-2_5