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Tom Allbeson

Dr Tom Allbeson


Ysgol Newyddiaduraeth, y Cyfryngau a Diwylliant

+44 29225 10780
Sgwâr Canolog, Caerdydd, CF10 1FS
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I am a Senior Lecturer in Media History at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture (Cardiff University) and co-editor of the Journal of War and Culture Studies. My 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.

My first monograph addresses postwar reconstruction and photography of the built environment in Britain, France and West Germany (c.1944-1961): Photography, Reconstruction and the Cultural History of the Postwar European City. I am currently writing a second book, Conflicting Images: Histories of War & Photography, co-authored with Stuart Allan.

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






  • Allbeson, T. and Allan, S. 2019. The war of images in the age of Trump. In: Happer, C., Hoskins, A. and Merrin, W. eds. Trump’s Media War. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 69-84.






Book sections



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
  • Special issue forthcoming in the Journal of War and Culture Studies 

(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
  • Proposal for edited volume currently under review

(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

  • Co-Investigators: Dr Pippa Oldfield & Dr Tom Allbeson
  • Collaboration with Impressions Gallery, Bradford and the Centre for Visual Arts & Culture, Durham University
  • Royal Historical Society Grant to support a conference addressing business histories of conflict photography
  • Published in a special issue of the Journal of War and Culture Studies (9:2)


Current teaching

  • A Century of War Photojournalism: Conflict Imagery in the UK
  • Employability: Knowledge, Skills & Experience
  • Media Scholarship

Previously Taught

  • 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.


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

Meysydd goruchwyliaeth

We are currently recruiting for the following PhD studentships.

Amnesty, Archives, Activism: Photojournalism and the Development of Human Rights Media Campaigns in Britain since the 1960s

Funded by the ESRC, this project has been developed with Amnesty International’s Photographic Officer, Head of Audio Visual, and Head of Archives. Archival research will focus on Amnesty’s extensive collection of photographic prints and negatives, its publications library and JOMEC’s historic newspapers and magazine holdings. The project will recover important photographic histories around Amnesty’s early campaigning to reflect on past and current attitudes and priorities regarding news coverage of human rights violations. Details of the application process can be found here.

Traces of Empire in the Built Environment: Exploring the Collective Memory of Colonialism through the Photographic Collections of the Historic England Archive

This AHRC funded project will use historic photographs to tease out the multiple ways in which the English built environment has been formed and reformed through its links to empire. This will include an examination of a wide range of areas, including the construction of monuments and statuary, the creation of buildings and spaces, and the work of the tens of thousands of people who travelled from the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia and found work as architects and builders in England’s cities. Details of the application process can be found here.

I also 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

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