Fan & cultural studies | Coffee Culture | Heritage

I have worked in higher education in the UK and most recently, in Sarawak, teaching media, communication and cultural studies. I explore my passion through researching a myriad of things mostly centred around pop culture and culture-at-large. I’m particularly fascinated with how loyal audiences engage with cultural content and build communities of practice around their passions. At the core, I’m a fan.

Educated in the traditions of British cultural studies, I have also used the critical skills and knowledge attained by consulting for creative industries such as short films and gaming, as well as through volunteer work with charities, museums and festivals. I’m a conference organiser, as well as a passionate advocate for heritage conservation and academic curiosity who is also a board member for a research network (the UK-based Fan Studies Network) and on the editorial board of leading publications in the field of fan and celebrity cultural studies (Journal of Fandom Studies, Transformative Works and Cultures, Celebrity Studies). Currently working on a research project on Sarawak coffee as heritage crop and its culture as a ‘culture-in-transition’. 

I used to blog with fellow academics over at On/Off Screen.

Why “Coffee & Research”?

Coffee is fuel for many academics, and indeed, it helped with many long nights of writing and re-writing when I was finishing my PhD thesis. When I moved back to Kuching, coffee was an escape; a coffee shop, advocating for appreciation of quality specialty coffee the likes of London and Melbourne, became a safe space for someone who was essentially culturally displaced.

I became fascinated with the rituals and practices people ascribe to their coffee-drinking practice. It also became a way in which to apply cultural theory into the everyday practices of coffee drinking culture which was equally influenced by the people, the place, as well as the history.

Coffee in this case, is both a research topic and the (cultural and symbolic) fuel for the practice of research.

Dr Bertha Chin