Leighton Evans is Senior Lecturer in Media Theory at Swansea University, and is Undergraduate Programme Director for Media and Communications. Leighton was previously Senior Lecturer in Digital Media Cultures at the University of Brighton and a postdoctoral research fellow on the ERC-funded Programmable City project at Maynooth University, Ireland. Leighton received his PhD from Swansea University in 2013. 

Leighton’s research background is in the Philosophy of Technology and new media, and he has published work on social media, location-based social networking, phenomenology, webnography, management systems, smart logistics and smart cities. Leighton’s primary research interests lie in the transformation of natural phenomena into data through digital technologies, and how this transformation leads to a normalisation of the digital in everyday life. His work draws on philosophical theory from the Continental school, in particular the works of Martin Heidegger, Peter Sloterdijk, Herbert Marcuse and Bernard Stiegler to work through the emergent issues of the co-presence of digital technology in everyday life. Leighton’s current research work is on 'virtual worldliness', assessing how users make sense of environments in virtual reality through their engagement with virtual objects, things and other users. This project was initially funded by a £10,000 grant through the Rising Stars initiative at the University of Brighton.

Leighton welcomes applications from doctoral candidates who wish to pursue research in the fields of digital media, social media, virtual and augmented realities, media theory and computational culture.

Areas of Expertise

  • location-based social networking
  • phenomenology
  • locative media
  • virtual reality
  • augmented reality


  1. Kitchin, R., Coletta, C., Evans, L., Heaphy, L. Smart Cities, Algorithmic Technocracy and New Urban Technocrats (Ed.), Planning and Knowledge: How New Forms of Technocracy are Shaping Contemporary Cities 199 212 Bristol Policy Press
  2. Evans, L. Barriers to VR use in HE (Ed.), Proceedings of the Virtual and Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Conference 2018 1 13 Swansea University Swansea University AR/VR conference
  3. Kitchin, R., Coletta, C., Evans, L., Heaphy, L. Creating Smart Cities (Ed.), Creating Smart Cities 1 18 London Routledge
  4. Evans, L. The privacy parenthesis: Private and public spheres, smart cities and big data (Ed.), Creating Smart Cities 194 204 London Routledge
  5. Coletta, C., Evans, L., Heaphy, L., Kitchin, R. Creating Smart Cities (Ed.), Regions and Cities London Routledge

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  • MS-100 Introduction to Media Communication

    The module will consider approaches to the study of media and communication which focus variously on institutions, technologies, texts, audiences and policy issues. It will also introduce discussion of what power or powers are wielded through use of media in our culture The module builds to an examination of the effects of new media technologies on 'co-present' and interpersonal communication. The module provides a detailed consideration of media institutions, media 'texts' and media audiences. Here it will focus on issues surrounding the analysis of the power of media institutions; the interpreting or 'reading' of media 'texts'; the study of how media are used and interpreted by audiences/consumers; and attempts by the state and other policy agencies to use, control and censor the media. Finally, basic issues in the implications of the 'new media'/media convergence will be addressed. Please note, students are also expected to attend four film screenings.

  • MS-120 Introduction to Media History

    This module critically explores the history of modern media from the birth of printing to the internet. It traces the rise of mass-media and analyses the cultural, economic, social and political dimensions of the major broadcast forms and their impact. The module concludes with an exploration of the rise of computing and the internet, the digital transformation of all older media forms and the end of the dominance of the broadcast model of informational production, distribution and consumption.

  • MS-219 Studying Digital Media

    This module critically considers the development of digital media and introduces concepts central to the analysis of digital environments and their economical, social, cultural and political impact. It connects theory with practice by providing a grounded view of digital media and examining the forms of contestation that they produce.

  • MS-232 Social Media Cultures

    This module aims to provide a basis for the critical assessment of social media. Social media are at the forefront of cultural, social and economic change, marking a shift from 20th century industrialism to 21st century networks. Social media are no longer merely networking tools; instead they have become crucial platforms for social, cultural and economic exchange. Many feel an intense familiarity with social media brought on by everyday day use, and while this familiarity may seem to equip young people for thriving in these 21st networks, this is often not the case. Beginning with current thinking on participatory culture, platform capitalism and the sharing economy, this module pushes past the everyday user experience and opens up critical understanding of the ways social media intersect with and shape our daily lives. This module is for individuals that are looking to understand the impact of social media on users and wider society. The module offers a synthesis of current research and thinking with direct, hands-on approaches and techniques for fully understanding social media and offers a starting point for understanding social media as an experience, as platforms and industries, and as part of our culture.

  • MS-310 Dissertation Preparation

    This course introduces the practice of dissertation writing and research approaches for the study of media forms. texts and systems and their contribution to social life. It begins to explore the breadth of media studies through attention to the ways in which media matter. In what ways, and how significant are the media in the formation of individual identities and in the practices of everyday life? In the more public world, to what extent are media key to providing knowledge and enabling the debate necessary to the practices of democracy? The course enables students to build on their own experiences of media as consumers and users. But it also encourages critical attention to how the field of media studies has historically been forged: through argument and contestation between different academic approaches and disciplines.

  • MS-311 Dissertation

    This dissertation enables students to engage in long term, in-depth research on a topic of their choice subject to the approval of the Department.

  • MS-M10 Dissertation or Project

    An innovative practice-based alternative to a Masters dissertation. Students are encouraged to develop projects across more than one area of media practice and to do so with dual supervision that embraces both theory and practice. Work produced should be at a professional level, accompanied by a reflective essay and presentation exploring the contextual, theoretical and practical issues raised by the project.

  • MS-M11 MA Project and Dissertation Preparation

    This core module comprehensively prepares students for their Master¿s project or dissertation, which is an integral part of the requirements for the degree. It incorporates several key themes and issues across the communications, media practice and PR industries. It is a challenging, and stimulating module ¿ both for professional practitioners and those new to communications and media practice. The module encourages students to unite theory and practice in productive ways. It introduces students to a number of important research and project management methods essential for undertaking a successful project or dissertation.

  • MSDM00 The Digital Revolution (VR)

    Through close analysis of digital media/new media texts, this module will examine the theoretical and practical issues of new media technologies and the implications for social, political and economic spheres.

  • MSDM01 The Digital Revolution

    Through close analysis of digital media/new media texts, this module will examine the theoretical and practical issues of new media technologies and the implications for social, political and economic spheres.


  • Exploring the Role of Cyberspace and Social Networks on Migration: The case of Poles in the UK (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Joanna Rydzewska
  • Digital and Media Literacy Education (current)

    Other supervisor: Mr William Merrin
  • Incorporating the identity-related needs of visitors with Virtual Reality systems for designing personalized interactive museum experiences. (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Sian Rees