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Professor Bella Dicks

Professor Bella Dicks

Deputy Head of School

School of Social Sciences




I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas of sociology:

  • Community, civil society, participation
  • Belonging, place, neighbourhood, inclusion/exclusion
  • Class, inequalities, identities
  • Heritage, collective memory, museums and science centres, cultural display
  • Regeneration, post-industrial identities of place/people
  • Digital and online interactions and methodologies
  • Qualitative methodology, multimodality.


I am currently Reader in Sociology at Cardiff School of Social Sciences. My research is in the field of digital qualitative methods, heritage, museums, culture-led economic regeneration, social disadvantage and class. I am particularly interested in how places and people deal with the cultural and social dislocations accompanying de-industrialisation and how regeneration strategies connect (or otherwise) with community members on the ground. My 2000 book Heritage, Place and Community, traces the processes through which a south Wales coal-mine was transformed into a 'living history' museum, while the 2004 book Culture on Display critically appraises the contemporary regeneration focus on the production of place 'visitability'. I am currently pursuing research on regeneration within the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD), which is carrying out a number of comparative locality studies across Wales.

I have been an academic staff member at Cardiff University since 1993, when I arrived to take up a post as Tutorial Fellow in the then Dept of Social and Administrative Studies, and to pursue my doctoral research. I subsequently held a Research Fellowship working on the hypermedia project led by Prof. Paul Atkinson, Use Of Hypermedia Techniques In The Analysis & Dissemination Of Qualitative Data, and later became a lecturer in Sociology in the new School of Social Sciences.  Before coming to Wales, I was a researcher in at the then Sheffield City Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University) in the Dept of Media, Culture and Communication. There I undertook research into the coalmining communities of Doncaster, an area in which I grew up. This sparked a life-long research interest in coalfield culture and regeneration.






  • Housley, W., Dicks, B., Henwood, K. L. and Smith, R. J. 2015. Editorial. Qualitative Research 15(1), pp. 3-3. (10.1177/1468794114567381)
  • Dicks, B. 2015. Heritage and social class. In: Waterton, E. and Watson, S. eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Heritage Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 366-38.











Bella's main research interests are in the field of cultural sociology, and particularly focus on placed identities, cultural representation, regeneration and heritage. They fall into three broad areas of research: