Professor Jenny Kitzinger BA (Cambridge), PhD (Glasgow)

Professor Jenny Kitzinger

BA (Cambridge), PhD (Glasgow)

Director of Research: Impact and Engagement and Co-Director of the Cardiff-York Coma and Disorders of Conciousness Research Centre

School of Journalism, Media and Culture

+44 (0)29 208 74571
1.35, Bute Building
Media commentator

Other Roles

Lead for REF; Director -'Science, Health and Media Research Group'


I am active in public and policy engagement particularly around death and dying. I work closely with artists (e.g. poets and musicians) and policy makers and have co-produced a series of radio programmes on ethics and end-of-life decision-making; co-authored a report for the Welsh Government on Advance Decisions ('Living Wills'), developed a  a touring exhibition about coma and curated the 'Before I Die' Festival - a festival for the living about dying. My research on vegetative and minimally conscious states (jointly developed with colleagues at the 'Coma and Disorders of Consciousness Research Centre') has also been crafted into a multi-media resource for families and health care/legal practitioners.

Education and qualifications

  • 1999: PhD (Sociology) Glasgow University
  • 1984: BA hons & MA (Social Anthropology) Cambridge University

Career overview

  • 1985-88: Research Assistant, Cambridge University (Social and Political Sciences)
  • 1988-91: Research Associate, Glasgow University  (Glasgow Media Group)
  • 1991-92: Senior Research Fellow, Medical Research Council, Medical Sociology
  • 1992-99: Deputy Director + Senior Research Fellow, Glasgow University (Glasgow Media Group)
  • 1999-2003: Reader, Brunel, Director of the Centre for Media & Communications Research
  • 2003- present: Professor, Cardiff University (School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies)

Honours and awards

  • Rockefeller scholarship award (2011)
  • Cardiff University award for Outstanding Engagement and Innovation (2013),
  • ESRC national award for ‘Outstanding Impact in Society’ (2015)
  • Cardiff University award for ‘Outstanding Impact on Policy’ (2015)
  • Joint runner-up to Guardian University Awards for ‘Research Impact’ (2015)
  • British Medical Association 2015 award for ‘Information on Ethical Issues’.

BA Module:

  • 'Birth, Marriage and Death in the media: the ‘personal’ in cultural contex't; Previously taught modules include: 'Understanding Media Audiences', 'Risk and Health Reporting', 'Research Methods', 'Feminist Theory and Media Studies'.

MA Module

  • Putting Research into Practice

PhD supervision

  • Post-graduate supersion has included theses on: Science in the Media, Disability politics, Sexual violence, Health care in the News, End-of-Life decision-making. I welcome PhDs in any of these areas.

Key Research Interests

  • Risk, science and health. I have researched a range of health issues from AIDS to health inequalities. Much of my work addresses debates about medical ethics and emerging technologies (e.g. stem cell research).
  • Coma and Brain injury. I am now examining the cultural representations of, and debates about, coma and severe brain injury, working in collaboration with Prof Celia Kitzinger (from the University of York) to analysing statutory frameworks (e.g. the Mental Capacity Act, 2005) alongside examining scientific papers, court hearings and press releases about neuroscience, coma and recovery and conducting in-depth interviews with families of people in vegetative/minimally conscious states.
  • An online resource developed from this research offers information and support for families and practitioners – see I served on the Royal College of Physicians Working Party rewriting guidelines on the management of the 'vegetative' state, and on the Nuffield Council on bioethics 'Working Party on novel neurotechnologies to intervene in the brain.' For more information about this work see
  • Sexual violence. My work around sexual violence has included examining the emergence of child sexual abuse as a public issue, the representation of scandals, responses to a feminist social awareness advertising campaign and the development of anti-violence initiatives in schools.
  • Research methods. I have written extensively about questions of media influence. I am  also an expert in focus group research methods, and am especially concerned with the best way of using this methodology in sensitive and innovative ways to explore key social issues.