Dr. Michael Birch

Professor of Broadcast Media, English/Communications

Author of: Mediating Mental Health: Contexts Debates and Analysis


Areas of Research Interest

Main areas of interest are: mediations of health/mental health; social media and disability; genre form; semiology; representation; the politics of self-identity; applied theatre and television, theatre for development; trust and risk; stereotyping; stigma; hegemony; language and media; globalisation.


Administrative Responsibilities

All College Committee (2007-9) and (2011 - present) Chair (current)
Academic Technology Advisory Group (2004-9) ATAG Chair (2007-9)
Curriculum Committee (2004-9)
Honors Advisory Committee (2005-11)

During my time at MCLA:

While at MCLA, my departmental contributions have included leadership towards developing not just a curriculum focusing on convergent media journalism but also new technologies enabling student learning across the college. This has involved securing new television studio technologies and I have also secured $50,000 via Title III grant funding for new Avid Media Composer Editing Lab. I continue to offer leadership in the designing and pricing new technological infrastructure for this ongoing MCLA project.


Book Publications

Birch, Michael (2012) Mediating Mental Health: Contexts Debates and Analysis Ashgate.

Paper Publications

Birch, Michael (1996) Takin' Over the Asylum: Promoting Meanings of Mental Health? Promotion of Mental Health (Vol.6), Avebury. 
Birch, Michael (1998) Promoting Mental Health in Media: In Search of an Effective Methodology Promotion of Mental Health (Vol.8), Avebury.
Birch, Michael (1999) Representations of Schizophrenia in Television News: A Comparative Analysis Avebury.
Situating Stigma in the UK and USA:Mental Health Language in News and Special Interest Group Social Media forthcoming.

Conferences Attended/Papers Presented

Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference, July 1-4 Tampere, (Finland 1996) - Narratives of Madness in Media.
European Mental Health Promotion Conference Commonwealth Institute, London 11th-13th Sept., (1996). 
European Mental Health Promotion Conference at the Conservatoire, Birmingham 9th-11th Sept. (1998).
European Promotion of Mental Health Conference in Maastricht 11th-13th Oct. (1999)
Radio History Symposium: Talks and Documentaries - Bournemouth University, 23rd - 24th June, (1999).
Contributed evidence from research to the MIND Inquiry and Recommendations for Policy about media representations of 'mental health' published in: Creating Accepting Communities: Report of the Mind Inquiry into Social Exclusion and Mental Health Problems (1999)
New Mental Health Mediations: Service-User Perspectives paper presented to the 3rd Biennial World Conference on the Promotion of Mental Health and Prevention of Mental Disorders, Auckland, New Zealand, 15th-17th September (2004).
Broadcasters Education Association Conference at the National Association of Broadcasters (Las Vegas) 2005. Presented: Transitioning Communication Curricula from Analogue Technologies to Digital Modes.
Transforming Audiences Conference, attended at University of Westminster, London, UK. 6th - 7th September, 2007.
MeCCSA Conference 11th - 13th January 2012 at University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK. Presented paper about public policy from my book Mediating Mental Health.
Confined Spaces: Considering Madness, Psychiatry, and Performance, 17 and 18 September 2012,  Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge. Paper presented - New Conclusions in Mediating Mental Health.
Fifth International Language in the Media Conference Queen Mary, University of London, Sept. 28-30 2013. Paper presented: Situating Stigma in the UK and USA:Mental Health Language in News and Special Interest Group Social Media.

Previous HE Experience

Senior Lecturer Falmouth College of Arts (1994-2002), taught Broadcasting Studies, guest lectured on History of Modern Art and Design teaching the Sociology of Values and Taste; co-wrote BA (Hons) English With Media, (1995). 



Contact Information

Office: Mark Hopkins 107B 



Office Hours

Tuesdays, Wednesdays
11:00am - 12:00pm
and by appointment.



Ph.D. Politics and Communications - Mediations of Mental Health/Distress and Madness in Media: A Cross-Generic Study, University of Liverpool. 1995 - 2002

MA Cultural Studies Lancaster University, won Economic and Social Research Council Scholarship. 1993 - 1994

BA Honours, Drama, (Theatre and Television)
King Alfred's College, Winchester. Upper Second Class (2:1). CNAA. 1989 - 1992


Courses Taught

Media, Self-Identity & Society;

Essentials of Film;

Mediations of Mental Health;

From Semiotics to Significations;

Basic Television Production;

Advanced Television Production;

Broadcast Journalism;

Making Meaning: Theory & Practice in Media Production.