Kaitlyn Regehr is a Senior Lecturer in media and digital culture at the University of Kent, whose research interests are centred around the cultural impacts of new technology and Web 2.0. She is committed to embedded, qualitative research methodologies, inclusive of video ethnography, and has created documentary content for the BBC and the Guardian. Her current projects include a commissioned documentary for BBC3 on online Alt-right and INCEL communities; and a commission from the Mayor of London with Professor Jessica Ringrose (UCL), which used digital storytelling and a survey of 2000 Londoners to map women’s experiences of public advertising.
Regehr’s monograph with Oxford University Press (2017) is one of the US's first women’s union and deals with issues of age and identity. Regehr holds a doctorate from King’s College London and was awarded Kent's Vice Chancellor Early Career Knowledge Exchange Award in 2019.
My research sits at a convergence of media, culture and gender studies. A key aspect of my recent work has been project was commissioned by the Mayor of London (MOL) alongside Professor Jessica Ringrose (UCL). Taking socially engaged research methodologies as our starting point, the research design involved collecting documentary-style interviews with diverse women as they traveled from different boroughs throughout London; focus groups in two London schools and further with craft back art project; and a quantitative survey of 2000 men and women across London. The report (Ringrose and Regehr, 2018) resulting from these research findings has influenced policy changes with respect to gender-based advertising in London's public spaces. Most significantly, it was used by the National Advertising Standards Authority in their December 2018 “Advertising Guidance” on depicting gender stereotypes. The winning campaigns were visible for 12 weeks in the TFL estate: the largest advertising estate in the world, used by the 5 million passengers every day.
Further, I’m interested in the manner in which the repetitive nature and technological affordances of the digital space feeds assemblages of toxic masculinity and anti-feminist discourses. Based on my research, BBC3 commissioned the documentary, “Inside the Secret World of Incels”. I continue to examine this digital gender trend in connection with others, such as supplemented income through online compensated dating or ‘sugaring’. I also appeared in, and contributed to, the documentary, “Secrets of Sugar Dating” for BBC3, which examines the digital phenomenon of almost 500,000 UK university students have signed up to exchange companionship for the payment of university fees.
Currently I am working on a new project with Jessica Ringrose on digital sex and relationship education. The research draws from interviews and art workshops with over 170 young people (11-22) in diverse contexts – from queer youth communities using Instagram as a safe space; hijab wearing girls navigating snapchat sexting exposure in an inner-city school; and cyber-savvy PM hopefuls dispensing e-safety tips in some of the country’s most elite boarding schools. The content includes interviews about the digital lives of contemporary youth and children’s craft -back art projects. The project was the subject of an episode of the critically acclaimed The Guardian podcast series, Today in Focus.
I teach on the following modules and welcome students from across all disciplines:
Social Media and Participatory Culture
The digital sphere has given voice and meeting spaces to communities and activist groups, enabling social action, art and change. It has also been used by reactionaries, nationalists and the far-right groups to amplify hate filled messages. Analysing platforms that may include Facebook, Twitter, Uber and Wikipedia, the module engages with concepts such as participatory and collaborative culture, sharing economies, democracy and surveillance.
Students will engage in sourcing, analysing and critiquing social media content by way of a Digital Portfolio. This work will be contextualised by an essay that situates students' multimedia exercises within key debates in online culture. To facilitate this, lectures and seminars will explore various case studies - from mainstream politicians’ use of social media in campaigning, to the intensification of hate speech in the cyber sphere, to the ethics of using unpaid journalists and the economy of sharing - in order to encourage students to engage critically with the relationship between politics, economics, personal expression and art making practices in the digital age.
Media and Meaning
This module introduces students to the ways in which various media create and communicate meaning. The primary focus will be upon a range of key forms across the historical continuum of media practice. These trends will span both traditional and new forms of media content, such as print, radio, television, the Internet and user generated content. Media are therefore studied in this module as processes of transmission that shape and constrain narrative forms, aesthetic shapes, and communication uses, producers and users.