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Bella Dicks

Professor Bella Dicks

Deputy Head of School

School of Social Sciences

Available for postgraduate supervision


Professor of Sociology at Cardiff School of Social Sciences and Deputy Head of School






  • Housley, W., Dicks, B., Henwood, K. L. and Smith, R. J. 2015. Editorial. Qualitative Research 15(1), pp. 3-3. (10.1177/1468794114567381)
  • Dicks, B. 2015. Heritage and social class. In: Waterton, E. and Watson, S. eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Heritage Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 366-38.












Book sections




My main research interests are in the field of cultural sociology, and especially in social identities and how they are rooted in places, processes of cultural representation (especially in museums and visitor centres focused on heritage), collective memory and on strategies of economic and social regeneration.

I am particularly interested in how places and people deal with the cultural and social dislocations accompanying de-industrialisation and how regeneration strategies connect (or otherwise) with community members on the ground. In these areas my particular focus is on questions of socio-economic disadvantage and class.

I am also active in the field of digital qualitative methods, ethnography and multimodal methods. 

You can find out more about my three broad areas of research here:


Before coming to Wales, I was a researcher at the then Sheffield City Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University) in the Dept of Media, Culture and Communication. There I undertook research into the coalmining communities of Doncaster, an area in which I grew up. This sparked a life-long research interest in coalfield culture, the effects of economic transformation on people and places, and how social identities, heritage and culture are implicated in regeneration.

I have been an academic staff member at Cardiff University since 1993, when I arrived to take up a post as Tutorial Fellow in the then Dept of Social and Administrative Studies, and to pursue my doctoral research. I subsequently held a Research Fellowship working on an ESRC-funded hypermedia project led by Prof. Paul Atkinson, Use Of Hypermedia Techniques In The Analysis & Dissemination Of Qualitative Data, which led to other ESRC-funded methodological projects on hypermedia and qualitative secondary data analysis. 

In 1999 I became a lecturer in Sociology in the new School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University.  

My 2000 book Heritage, Place and Community, traces the processes through which a south Wales coal-mine was transformed into a 'living history' museum, while my 2004 book Culture on Display critically appraises the contemporary regeneration focus on the production of place 'visitability'. I am currently pursuing research on regeneration within the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD), which is carrying out a number of comparative locality studies across Wales.




I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas of sociology:

  • Community, civil society, participation
  • Belonging, place/nation, neighbourhood, inclusion/exclusion
  • Class, inequalities, identities
  • Heritage, collective memory, museums and science centres, cultural display, tourism
  • Regeneration, post-industrial identities of place/people
  • Digital and online interactions/methodologies - qualitative
  • Qualitative methodology, ethnography, multimodality.