Dr. Alicia Blum Ross

Alicia Blum-Ross is a Research Officer in the Department of Media and Communications on the Preparing for a Digital Future  research project. Her work brings together research and practice in the fields of digital media and learning, parenting, art and media education and community engagement. She is interested in the inter- and intra-generational relationships that surround media use and production, examining the ways in which children and young people, and the adults who care for and educate them, together create spaces for learning, exploration and participation. She has a BA in Cultural Anthropology with Film Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M Phil and PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford where she was awarded the Graduate Studentship in Anthropology and the Rausing Scholarship.

Alicia has conducted ethnographic research as part of the multi-disciplinary design research and citizen journalism project Bespoke at the Digital World Research Centre at University of Surrey, taught on the Masters courses in Media and Communications at the LSE, and completed an Early Career Fellowship funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council, also at the LSE. Alongside her academic research she has worked as a consultant and facilitator assessing the impact of, managing and advising on strategic planning for media, arts and culture-based learning programs for organizations including BAFTA, Into Film, the Roundhouse, Keats House Museum, the British Film Institute, and the London Film Festival. She serves on the selection committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s bi-annual ethnographic film festival.

Research interests and projects

Alicia's research draws on media and communication studies, anthropology, education studies, sociology, design and social policy. Her research has focused on how children and young people, together with their parents and educators, learn and participate through media-production and use. She uses ethnographic research methods, sometimes including participatory visual and creative methods, to prioritise the perspectives of children and young people alongside educators, parents and policy-makers.

Preparing for a Digital Future

Working with Prof Sonia Livingstone and Dr Julian Sefton-Green, this research is part of the Connected Learning Research Network and is funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative. Preparing for a Digital Future examines how parents approach the task of raising their children in a digital age. Through ethnographic research with digital media and learning sites and in-depth interviews with parents, children and young people and media educators, this project asks:

  • What are parent’s visions of their children’s future and that of the wider society?
  • What risks or opportunities, vis a vis technology and beyond, do parents see opening up for themselves and their children?
  • How do parents conceive of being a ‘good parent’ and how do they evaluate the educational, social and technological resources available to their children?
  • And how do their children view and respond to their parents’ hopes, fears and values regarding digital media?

As part of this research Alicia writes for and manages a blog on parenting and technology for parents, policy-makers, researchers, parenting-advocates and educators – www.parenting.digital

Sharing Voices: Youth and Community Media as Civic Engagement

Alicia’s previous research, which began as her doctoral research and was expanded and disseminated through an ESRC Early Career Fellowship at the LSE, looked at the possibilities and limitations of youth media production as an avenue for civic engagement, empowerment and youth ‘voice.’ Through ethnographic research with youth media organizations in London and New York this research examined:

  • How is youth media production conceived of by policy makers and facilitators as a pathway to civic engagement?
  • How do young people approach the technical, social and creative processes within filmmaking?
  • What skills – both technical and social – do young people accrue through participatory filmmaking?
  • How does the political economy of the funding of youth media projects impact on the way they are facilitated and experienced?


Before coming to the LSE Alicia was a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE working on the Space2Cre8 research project, in collaboration with researchers from the Graduate School of Education at University of California, Berkeley. Space2Cre8 was an international collaboration between schools in the US, UK, Australia, South Africa, India and Norway to explore how young people can use social networks as a means to foster creative inter-cultural communication.


Alicia led the ethnographic research on a participatory design and citizen journalism project called Bespoke at the Digital World Research Centre in the Department of Sociology at University of Surrey. Working with User Experience (UX) and Interaction Designers, Computer Scientists, Product Designers, Journalists and Digital Makers, this project examined how community media can be used as a means of generating ethnographic insight and enabling participant feedback within a community-centred innovation process. Alicia worked with young community journalists in two under-resourced communities in the city of Preston, in the North of England, to produce hyper-local journalism which was then used as inspiration for new digital tools for community cohesion. She was the lead author on a widely distributed policy report on Bespoke that accompanied an exhibition at the V&A Museum during the London Design Festival, 2011.

Behaviour Change Communication amongst Somali refugees in Kenya

Alicia spent several months in the Dadaab refugee camps on the Kenya-Somali border working with the organization FilmAid to conduct research with Somali refugees who were planning and filming a behaviour-change communication (BCC) film on preventing the spread of HIV.


Alicia taught full-time in the Department of Media and Communications as an LSE Fellow in 2011-2012, delivering lectures and seminars on media and communications theory and research methods. From 2013-2015 she gave several guest lectures and led methods and specialist childhood and youth research seminars at the LSE and elsewhere. Prior to coming to LSE Alicia taught undergraduate students in Sociology of Media at University of Surrey and Social Anthropology, Visual Anthropology and Anthropology of Development to students on the Human Sciences and Archaeology and Anthropology courses at the University of Oxford. She has supervised dissertations/theses for both undergraduate and post-graduate students.

Peer-reviewed publications

Blog posts

Media appearances

Alicia Blum-Ross