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Dr Tom Allbeson

Dr Tom Allbeson

Lecturer in Cultural History

School of Journalism, Media and Culture

Two Central Square, Central Square, Cardiff, CF10 1FS


I am a Lecturer in Cultural History at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture (Cardiff University) and co-editor of the Journal of War and Culture Studies.

My current research concerns media history and visual culture in contemporary Europe with specialisms in photojournalism and conflict, visual culture and reconstruction, collective memory in post-conflict societies, and urban history.

I am working on two monographs. The first addresses postwar reconstruction and photography of the built environment in Britain, France and West Germany (c.1944-1961). The second is Conflicting Images: Histories of War Photojournalism, co-authored with Stuart Allan.

I am also Co-Investigator on a collaborative project with the University of Edinburgh addressing the role of photography in historic and present-day peacebuilding initiatives. This research is funded by the Social Trends Institute.

My next major research project concerns the role of visual culture in shaping political activism of the British Left and public perceptions of it, c.1956-79.

Before joining Cardiff University, I was a Lecturer in Modern History at Swansea University. I have also held fellowships at the universities of Edinburgh and Nottingham. Prior to postgraduate research, I worked in Scotland for around 10 years at the Heritage Lottery Fund (a major UK funder of museums, galleries and heritage sties).

I welcome PhD proposals in the following areas:

  • Conflict and photojournalism
  • Humanitarian photography
  • Photography, memory and post-conflict societies
  • Histories of the photo-magazine
  • Histories of photography and urban space
  • Histories of photography, democracy and activism


Career Overview

2017-present: Lecturer in Cultural History, Cardiff University

2015-2017: Lecturer in Modern History, Swansea University

2014-2015: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Nottingham

2014-2015: Research Associate (part-time), University of Edinburgh

2013: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh

2003-2013: Senior Grants Officer / Grants Officer, Heritage Lottery Fund, Edinburgh


2012: PhD (Cultural History), Durham University

2008: MA (Photography Studies), Durham University

2001: MA Hons. (Philosophy & English Literature), University of Edinburgh









Current teaching

A Century of War Photojournalism: Conflict Imagery in the UK

Employability: Knowledge, Skills & Experience

Previously Taught

Media Scholarship

Conflict & Memory: Europe in the Twentieth Century

War & Photography in Britain, 1914-1989

Europe of Extremes, 1789-1989

Postwar Reconstruction: Europe, 1944-57

Urban History: Twentieth-century Cities

The Cultural History of Photography

History and Guilt: The Historiography of the Holocaust

In addition to positions as a lecturer at the universities of Cardiff and Swansea, I previously held a number of teaching positions at Durham University (Tutor, Department of History, 2010/11 and 2013/14), University of Edinburgh (Tutor, Edinburgh College of Art, 2013-2015) and Edinburgh Napier University (Lecturer, 2014/15).

In 2018, I completed my PG Certificate in Higher Education Learning and Teaching, and became a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research interests

Media history

Photographic history

Cultural memory

Urban history & visual culture

Research Funding

(2018-2019), ‘Photography and the Languages of Reconstruction, c.1944-49’

Institute for Modern Languages Research Grant to establish research network and deliver research workshop

Co-Investigators: Professor Claire Gorrara (Cardiff University) & Dr Tom Allbeson

(2016-2018), ‘Picturing Peace: Photography, Conflict Transformation & Peacebuilding’

Social Trends Institute Experts’ Meeting Grant to deliver research workshop and publish an edited volume

Co-Investigators: Professor Jolyon Mitchell (University of Edinburgh) & Dr Tom Allbeson

(2014-2015), ‘Fostering Photographic Research’

Challenge Investment Fund Grant to develop a series of workshops to foster interdisciplinary postgraduate research in partnership with Edinburgh archives, museums and galleries

Principal Investigator: Dr Tom Allbeson University of Edinburgh

(2014) The Business of War Photography: Producing and Consuming Images of Conflict

Royal Historical Society Grant to support a conference addressing business histories of conflict photography in collaboration with Impressions Gallery, Bradford and the Centre for Visual Arts & Culture, Durham University; Published in a special issue of the Journal of War and Culture Studies (9:2)

Co-Investigators: Dr Pippa Oldfield & Dr Tom Allbeson