Centre for Research in the Digital Entertainment and Media Industries



The Centre for Research in the Digital Entertainment and Media Industries (DEMI) was developed to provide a rigorous research base for the study of screen-based industries including games, film, television, animation, AR/VR/XR, simulations and virtual production.

Our aim

Working with internationally established research and innovation staff to deliver innovative solutions to our partners in industry, the public sector, the third sector and the wider community – regionally, nationally, and internationally.

The revenue generated by the world's entertainment and media industry is expected to grow to more than $2.5 trillion by 2025. Within that, the UK is forecast to become one of the world's largest national markets, with predictions suggesting a market share in excess of £88 billion, and in response to levelling up initiatives, much of that growth outside of London.

The Centre for Research in the Digital Entertainment and Media Industries (DEMI) was developed in response to this growth to establish a rigorous research base for the study of the media industries. We are dedicated to the creation of an embedded research and innovation culture across all our activities, ensuring the integration of a research-led curriculum that draws upon the work that we are doing in the Centre.

We have specialisms that are interested in the role of a of screen organisations and institutions, screen production distribution and consumption networks, the legal and regulatory frameworks governing the screen industries, the role of health and well-being and the importance of media literacy initiatives and, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the contemporary screen industries, members of the Centre come from across the University and from a variety of different disciplines: from film, music and games to photography and fine, architecture and philosophy.

Group leader

Dr Kieran Hicks

Course Director

Dr Kieran Hicks is a game design lecturer, they are the director of the DEMI research centre. Their research explores games from user-based and design-based lenses, using games as a tool to engage diverse groups in beneficial activity.

Kieran's profile

Researchers within Centre for Research in the Digital Entertainment and Media Industries

Dr Islam Abohela

Senior Lecturer

Islam is the Architecture Course Leader. He is an Architect with extensive experience in the design and construction of the built environment. Islam’s research focuses on the intersections between Architecture, Film and Sustainability.

Islam's profile

Michael Safaric Branthwaite

Course Director - Associate Prof.

I am a Contemporary Fine Artist as well as an active researcher in integrated practices. My main area of interest is the use of technology and the digitisation of History and Heritage

Michael's profile

Professor Ian Brown


Prof. Brown’s research investigates how contemporary social identity is constructed through rituals of consumption within popular culture. His research also explores the Invented World and the Natural World, including plant/human relations.

Ian's profile

Dr Sharon Coleclough

Senior Lecturer

Sharon works across all areas of film and media production, focusing upon specialisms in sound design, editing, acting and performance in film. She is an active researcher with international publications on lighting, sound and representation in film.

Sharon's profile

Stephen Griffiths

Course Director

Stephen's teaching centres on broadcast programme histories and media performance, especially acting on television. His research interests include broadcast light entertainment and comedy, television drama, and children's programming.

Stephen's profile

Dr Ying-Ying Law

Course Director - Esports

Ying-Ying is a sociologist and an active researcher in digital cultures. Her main area of interest includes video gamer culture, communities, play, esports, research methods and gender studies from a sociological perspective.

Ying-Ying's profile

Professor Esther Maccallum-Stewart


Professor of Game Studies, specialising in player behaviour and analog games, including tabletop roleplaying games.

Esther's profile

David Murphy

Senior Lecturer

David is a Senior Lecturer in Game Development and an active researcher in the fields of communication and culture studies, game studies, digital heritage, and community management.

David's profile

Rebecca Nunes

Associate Professor Of Lens-Based Media

Becky Nunes is an artist and educator whose work has been awarded, published & exhibited locally and internationally. Nunes’ lens-based practice considers the complexities of land use and amplifies marginalised and polyphonic voices.

Rebecca's profile

Dr Patrick O'Connor

Associate Professor

Patrick is an associate professor of Philosophy . His main area of interest is European Philosophy. He writes about philosophy, film and literature

Patrick's profile

Dr Dave Payling

Associate Professor

Dave is an audio-visual artist who holds a PhD in composition. His primary research focus is Electronic Visual Music and he teaches composition, audio-visuals and mastering at undergraduate and post-graduate levels

Dave's profile

Dr Andrew Stubbs-Lacy

Senior Lecturer

Dr. Andrew Stubbs is Senior Lecturer of Film Industries and Studies in the Department of Creative Industries where he leads on the critical, contextual and employability strands and produces high-quality research into the screen media industries.

Andrew's profile

Stephen Webley


Emma Fallows


Emma is an artist, researcher, and lecturer in Games Development. Her research explores applying virtual reality to museum displays to enhance the education and overall visitor experience.

Emma's profile

Dr Kieran Hicks

Course Director

Dr Kieran Hicks is a game design lecturer, they are the director of the DEMI research centre. Their research explores games from user-based and design-based lenses, using games as a tool to engage diverse groups in beneficial activity.

Kieran's profile

Dr Mark Mckenna

Associate Professor

Dr Mark McKenna is a lecturer in Film, Television & Radio. His teaching is focused on the theoretical and critical underpinnings of film production and draws upon his research which is focused on the film and media industries.

Mark's profile

Professor Christopher Headleand

Head Of Department - Sugi

Prof. Headleand is a Computing & Video Games academic with over 20 years' experience; internationally recognised as an expert in student engagement. He is head of Games Design & Technology & researches Virtual Reality, Visualisation & Serious Games.

Christopher's profile

Dr David White

Senior Lecturer

Post Graduate Lead and Course Leader for MPhil / PhD in Games Technology. Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Programming – 3D graphics programming and AI.

David's profile

Dr Mathew Dalgleish

Sl In Games Audio And Technical Design

Mat is an interdisciplinarian with degrees in sculpture and media arts, and a PhD in music computing. His main areas of interest are synthetic sound (primarily for games), interface design, interactive environments, and accessible technology.

Mathew's profile

Dr Monireh Astani

Senior Lecturer

Monireh is a researcher and practitioner invested in the interdisciplinary, audience-oriented, creative practices of animation, visual design, and VR/AR.

Monireh's profile

Dr Michael Day

Senior Lecturer

Dr. Michael Day is an artist, researcher, lecturer, and occasional curator. He is interested in the ways that digital technologies can structure experience, and produces artworks that explore relationships between technology and agency.

Michael's profile

Human Esmaeili


Human is a lecturer and researcher with years of experience in creative multimedia and game development. His main areas of interest include games art and creating realistic game-ready assets through various photogrammetry and 3D scanning techniques.

Human's profile

Luke Haslett


Luke is a Game Designer that leads multiple modules focusing on the foundational principles of game design, narrative, tabletop, and cross-reality games. Luke is also an active researcher advancing the way we think and use game design.

Luke's profile

Nicola Edwards

Senior Lecturer

Nicola is a visual artist with a specialism in life drawing and visual analysis. Her main area of interest lies in anthropological analysis of visual imagery.

Nicola's profile

David James

Course Director

I am a Games Technical Design Lecturer at Staffordshire University, specialising in the design principles and technical implementation of game software.

David's profile

Davin Ward

Senior Lecturer

Davin brings the knowledge and understanding of running an indie games company into his teaching. Davin is also responsible for supporting placements opportunities for all students within the department of Games and Visual Effects.

Davin's profile

Benjamin Williams

Senior Lecturer

Daryl Marsh

Senior Lecturer

Course Leader for BA(Hons) Animation with long term professional animation experience in London, Manchester and Copenhagen. Specialisms include CGI, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality. Researching immersive experiences and emerging technology.

Daryl's profile

Dr Agata Lulkowska

Senior Lecturer

Dr Agata Lulkowska is a Senior Lecturer in Film Production in the Department of Film, Media and Journalism. Agata’s background is in film practice, installations and photography.

Agata's profile

Steven Speed

P/T Lecturer (Hrly) - Journalism

Steven is an award-winning digital media artist, photographer, writer and editor who has worked in the media for 20 years. Since joining us at Staffordshire University he has co-created the Digital Content Creation course.

Steven's profile

Matt Buckingham

Senior Lecturer

Matt Buckingham is an internationally published author, illustrator, educator and designer with specialisms in children’s publications and picture books.

Matt's profile
in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021