Professor Anna Reading has played an international role in developing the interdisciplinary field of memory studies with research in gender, memory and human rights. She has particular foci on gendered memory, migration, the holocaust, digital technologies, nonviolent struggles and resistance with work that combines her expertise as an academic and playwright.
Anna Reading was Head of the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries (CMCI) at Kings (2013-16) developing CMCI into a world-class research and teaching community. Anna Reading has lectured at the Department of English Literature at The University of Lodz, Poland (1988-9); she worked as a freelance writer, journalist and playwright (1990-2). She was a Researcher at the Centre for Communication and Information Studies, University of Westminster, UK (1992-5) conducting research on media transitions from state communism to democracy in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
At London South Bank University, UK (1995-2011) Anna Reading led the BA in Media and Society, established an MA Programme in Media and the Arts, and was appointed as Head of the Centre for Media and Culture Research (2009-11). She moved to Sydney, Australia in 2011 to take up a Chair in Communication at Western Sydney University and continues to hold an Honorary Visiting Professorship at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University (2012-20). She has worked on the journal Media, Culture and Society since 1998 and is a joint Editor and currently Chair of the Board.
Anna Reading has a BA Honours (First Class) in English and Politics (1987) and an MA in Women’s Studies (with Distinction) both from the University of York, UK (1988) and a PhD in Communication with a thesis on 'Socially inherited memory, gender and the public sphere in Poland' from the University of Westminster, UK (1996).
Research Interests and PhD Supervision
For over thirty years Anna Reading has had an academic and creative interest in questions of human rights, gender and memory with foci that include Eastern Europe, especially Poland, the Holocaust, terrorism, peace and nonviolent struggles. Her work combines academic research with playwriting and storytelling with wider publics.
Her current work centres on the ways in which digital media technologies are changing memory and imaginaries in the public and intimate domains. She is examining how these may be used to connect memories and imaginaries of forced migration and resistance from the past and today.
She is an International Partner to an Australian Research Council Discovery Award 2016-20 “Data Centres and the Governance of Labour and Territory”(434 AUD) led by Professors Nielson and Rossiter at the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney working with universities in Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and Frankfurt. She is a Partner on a Dutch Network Grant Award led by Yra Van Dijk and David Duindam (University of Leiden) “Digital Memories of the Shoah” working with partners across Europe. As an Alliance PLuS Fellow (2016-18) she leads work on social justice with a funded award on Migration and Belonging with colleagues at Arizona State University and UNSW, Australia (2017-19).
Anna Reading has previously led a multi-associate Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council/Technology Strategy Board Developing New Digital Distribution Networks for Film. AUS £186,000 (2010-12); and held an award on Time and Memory in British Theatre, a Russian Federation, Ministry of Education Award examining new digital media archives of performances at the Royal National Theatre UK for £15,500 (2009).
Anna Reading currently has five PhD students. She is interested in supervising research students in the areas of:
- Gender and memory human rights, heritage and memory
- Cultural memory and cultural imaginaries of totalitarianism
- Cultural memories of the Holocaust
- Cultural memories of women's resistance and nonviolent struggles
- Cultural memories of terrorism and violence
- Ethics and cultural restitution
- Digital and global memory
- Cultural and social memories in Poland
- Memory plays and storytelling
For more details, please see her full research profile.
As well as supervising PhD students, Anna Reading teaches and supervises MA students on the MA Cultural and Creative Industries and MA Arts and Cultural Management.
She contributes to core MA modules including Contested Cultures and Research Approaches, as well as the optional module Cultural Memory.
She is the module convenor for the optional module Future Memory: Creating Connected Worlds.
Expertise and Public Engagement
Anna Reading is currently on the Expert Committee for the Development of Creative Industries in Russia and the New East for the Calvert 22 Foundation. She acts as a consultant to museums on the Holocaust especially on questions of gender and memory, and digital memory.
She contributed to UK public policy debates and policy development through her appointment as a Partner to the Women’s National Commission between 2002-2010. She contributes to public debates and journalism through media appearances and interviews internationally including those with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, The Guardian, Al Jazeera and Associated Press.
She is Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Western Sydney, Australia and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow. She has had Visiting Professorships and Fellowships at SELMA, Centre for Memory and Story Telling, University Turku, University of Loughborough, the University of Tromso and UCLA. Anna Reading was an academic expert reviewer for five submissions for Excellence in Research in Australia (ERA) for the period 2005-10.
She regularly reviews research applications for funding bodies in the UK and overseas. She is on the boards of the journal of Memory Studies and the Journal of the Philosophy of Photography. Anna Reading’s research engages with public culture through performed plays that include Kiss Punch Goodnight, Want, Hard-Core, Grandma's Garden, The Stoning, Falling and RP35 and Cacti Hearts. Her plays are referenced in Aleks Siertz, In Yer Face Theatre: British Theatre in the 1990s; Plays by Women, Volume Seven edited by Michelene Wandor and Mary Remnant as well as Christina Wald’s Hysteria, Trauma and Melancholia: Performative Maladies in Contemporary Anglophone Drama (2007). A Letter to my Daughter was performed as part of Fuel Theatres’ on-going digital theatre project, with workshops in schools and performances around the UK (2013-15) and is published in Gender and Memory in the Globital Age (2016).
Her work is translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Polish and Finnish. A digital archive that includes her creative work is available at: http://annareadingarchive.com.