Welcome to Dr. Barbara Mitra’s Blog. I am a Senior Lecturer in Media and Culture (previously Media and Cultural Studies) at the University of Worcester. This blog is about anything to do with Media and Culture which may of interest to students of Media Studies, Communication Studies and Cultural Studies and anyone interested in these kind of issues. Enjoy.


I couldn’t quite believe this!

I was surprised when Clarks decided to launch this range of shoes which suggests that only boys like football and only girls are emotional. The name of the boy version of the shoe is Leader – which then suggests that boys are able to be Leaders, but girls are not! The name of the girl version …. Dolly Babe! Who though this was a good idea? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40916607

Dolly Babe shoe and Leader shoe

Snooper’s charter 2016

A Bill, dubbed the ‘snooper’s charter’ has now become law. It gives more powers of surveillance to the police, security services and official agencies (why would the Food Standard’s Agency require these powers for ordinary citizens)? Maybe my standards of food hygiene will be under scrutiny?

I can understand the need for security – but this seems far reaching – the NHS is also included  -be careful what you say next time you visit your GP!  Surveillance society perhaps?


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/29/snoopers-charter-bill-becomes-law-extending-uk-state-surveillance (Guardian Article Link)


(Independent Article Link)

Paper from Panda Poo

A retired teacher in China has spent two years perfecting his paper made from panda poo. The paper is made by drying panda poo, flattening it and then it gets turned into paper with a mixture of tree bark and kiwi vines. The teacher – Liu Xiadong – notes that not only is the texture great, but it has a delightful bamboo smell. This would be a good story to analyse for our Green Media module.



Is there life on Mars?

You could be living in Mars in the future with your Mars pod built out of recycled spacecraft parts.  National Geographic will be unveiling a Mars show house on their docudrama Mars.  Mars is not as friendly an environment as Earth and so your house/pod will need to be suitably designed to keep you alive! Of course,  not all attempts to land on Mars have been successful so you might want to check out the safety protocols first!

mars show home

Read more at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/news/what-your-home-will-look-like-when-you-live-on-mars/


Bakery selling insect cakes.

Whatever we think about how they look, insects are a good source of protein. Particularly with food rises, and environmental issues (meat consumption and production accounts for a large proportion of global emissions) – but what do you think about insects being served in cakes as food? Would you pay for these? The bakery is in Edinburgh but I imagine it won’t be too long before something similar opens up closer to wherever you live!

Read more at The BC http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/37595107

An insect brownie.

Daughter sues parents for sharing childhood photos on Facebook

 An 18 year old from Austria is suing her parents for posting hundreds of photographs from her childhood on Facebook.  The outcome could result in parents paying compensation to their daughter for the suffering she has been allegedly caused. In Germany and France,  there have been warnings to parents about publishing images of their children on the web. So – be careful what images you post!!


Mercury Prize

The Mercury Prize 2016 was won by Skepta’s Konnichiwa which has succeeded independently of the music industry. It was self-released and doesn’t pander to the charts. It has been a huge hit and sees a resurgence of the grime genre. I think the fact that it was self-released is fascinating and perhaps we may well see more self-released artists doing well in the future. 

You can read more at here on the BBC website


Pokemon Go

Like it, hate it, or don’t know what it is – Pokemon Go is certainly global and it is an emerging medium that will change how we engage with media. Merging real life places with augmented reality to find Pokemon,  means that previously tied to computer gamers are walking – some of them miles if my son is anything to go by – to find various Pokemon, have battles with others and identify fellow Pokemon Go players. 

Is it just a clever marketing ploy – or is it actually changing the future of our interactions with media? 

See the CNN article about Pokemon Go


Will the New Star Trek TV Series ‘Boldly go’ where it hasn’t gone before?

Star Trek has been written about for challenging stereotypes and pushing boundaries – in relation to both race and gender.  The new series in 2017 will be available on television in the U.S. and in Canada (it will be available on Netflix for international audiences). The article below highlights debates around whether Star Trek is still pushing boundaries in relation to the character Sulu who is shown in a same-sex relationship and as a parent. A bold move or not? Will the new series ‘boldly go’ where it hasn’t gone before? 

Link to article by Christine Gallagher about Star Trek

Should jousting be an Olympic sport

Over the years there have been questions raised about what should and should not be included in the Olympics which raises deeper questions about what is considered to be sport. Some of the definitions of sport include such things as competitiveness and athletic activity requiring skill – and of course there have been discussions about why some things are left out and others included. There have been discussions about whether yoga should be included or why some martial arts are not included. The link on my Facebook page below is about whether jousting should be included!