Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Matthew Lovatt

PhD Student

Clothworkers' Building North, Room 1.07

Matt is a PhD student at the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds, and is supported by a full WRoCAH AHRC studentship. His research looks at political storytelling, with a particular focus on the increasing use of anecdotes by British political leaders. His work is supervised across two schools, by Professor Stephen Coleman from the School of Media and Communication, and Dr Fiona Douglas from the School of English. He holds an MA in Political Communication (2017) and a BA in English Language (2014), both obtained from the University of Leeds. He is currently a member of the school’s political performance group. Outside his academic studies, Matt previously worked as an EFL teacher in Barcelona.

Research Interests

  • Political storytelling
  • Political rhetoric
  • Performance and politics
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Media framing

Research Centres & Groups

Political Performance Reading Group

PhD Thesis

Matt’s research project will be the first large-scale investigation into the use of anecdotes in British politics. It will compare how British political party leaders use anecdotes in varied ways, and according to different ideologies, circumstances, and styles. It is therefore particularly concerned with the aesthetic and symbolic aspects of political communication, seeking to understand how the performative dimensions of political stories can contribute to the construction of different political identities and realities. One salient concern of the study will be to evaluate the democratic potential of anecdotes as a communicative strategy. Providing further evidence of increasingly personalised leader-citizen communication, do anecdotes indicate a turn towards more ‘ordinary’, accessible, and ultimately more ‘representative’ forms of political discourse, or are they in danger of endorsing a less substantive and increasingly inauthentic styles of political communication?

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