William Merrin is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies in the department of Political and Cultural Studies. His research and teaching focus on media and cultural theory, contemporary developments in digital media and the history and philosophy of technology. He is especially interested in the work of Jean Baudrillard, McLuhan and the Toronto School, contemporary digital theory, developments in digital media and the challenge traditional media studies faces from these developments, and the history and archaeology of digital culture and technologies.
William Merrin is also known as the creator of the concept of 'Media Studies 2.0', developing the blog of the same name in November 2006 to follow developments in digital media and critically reflect upon the state and future of media studies.
In his essay on 'Media Studies 2.0' he argues that media studies is an academic discipline that first emerged in the early-mid 20th century, at the same time as the rise of modern mass media - the modern newspaper industry, cinema, radio and television. Media studies was an academic response to the broadcast-era: it was a historical product and reflection of one historical model of media. The contemporary passage to a post-broadcast era and digital ecology, therefore, requires a transformation of traditional media studies and an upgrading of its broadcast-era concerns, categories and concepts. Merrin concludes that we need to create a media studies for the 21st century reflecting the realities and concerns of the contemporary media era, instead of a backward-looking discipline uninterested in and unable to follow or understand its own student's media experiences and worlds. We need a Media Studies 2.0.
As part of his interest in the history of media and technology William also collects pre-cinema objects and entertainments and modern media forms.