Dr Ruth Deller

Dr Ruth A Deller SFHEA

Reader in Media and Communication


I am a Reader in Media and Communications, and I also teach on several media related modules. My research and teaching interests are varied but involve thinking about media representations of religion and gender, fan and audience studies, soap opera, celebrity, social media and reality/factual television.


I'm interested in media in all its shapes and forms and this is one of the reasons why I enjoy working in the Media Arts and Communications department at Sheffield Hallam University, which offers a broad spectrum of courses and modules in these areas. I currently teach modules on audience research, celebrity culture and media identities and representations, as well as supervising undergraduate and postgraduate research.

I'm interested in supervising PhD students in a range of areas relating to media and communication, especially social media, media representations, media audiences, celebrity or fan studies.

I have published widely on topics such as religion and the media, social networking, gender in the media, media fandom, media audiences, soap opera, celebrity, social justice, research ethics and factual TV. I'm currently working on a monograph about religion on television and articles on YouTube celebrity (with Kathryn Murphy), soap opera and religious celebrity.

I am also a member of my college research ethics committee and the college validation panel. For several years I served as a programme leader for courses in the communications area and have an interest in curriculum design, student experience and interdisciplinary teaching and research.

I am a regular contributor to television and radio, as 'Dr Ruth' I am a regular film and media expert for Radio Sheffield and always happy to liaise with media and external organisations. I enjoy running workshops for community groups, which I have done on topics such as women's magazines and social justice practices.

Outside of my work here, I am actively involved in amateur theatre. I also write for several entertainment websites and have recently completed my first novel.

Specialist areas of interest

Media and religion
Fans and audiences
Social media
Media representations
Soap opera
Reality and factual television
Qualitative research
Social justice
Research ethics
Curriculum design


Subject area

Media and Photography


Public Relations and Media
Public Relations


Media Audiences
Media Identities and Representations
Celebrity Culture
Applied Project/Dissertation


Collaborators and sponsors

PhD funded by AHRC 2008-11


Journal articles

Deller, R.A. (2023). Book Review: Special Issue of Journal of Popular Television on ‘Histories and new directions: Soap opera/serial narrative research’. Critical Studies in Television: The International Journal of Television Studies, 18 (4), 500-502. http://doi.org/10.1177/17496020231198597

Deller, R. (2023). Revisiting Martin Barker’s contribution to Audience Studies. Participations: journal of audience and reception studies, 19 (3), 61-68. https://www.participations.org/

Deller, R. (2023). Book Review: Special Issue of Journal of Popular Television on ‘Histories and new directions: Soap opera/serial narrative research’. Critical Studies in Television, 18 (4), 500-502. http://doi.org/10.1177/17496020231198597

Deller, R.A., & Murphy, K. (2019). ‘Zoella hasn’t really written a book, she’s written a cheque’: Mainstream media representations of YouTube celebrities. European journal of cultural studies. http://doi.org/10.1177/1367549419861638

Deller, R.A. (2019). Mediated intimacy: sex advice in media culture. Journal of Gender Studies, 28 (6), 746-747. http://doi.org/10.1080/14753634.2019.1630079

Deller, R.A. (2016). A companion to reality television. Information, communication & society, 19 (12), 1803-1805. http://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1170185

Deller, R.A. (2016). Star image, celebrity reality television and the fame cycle. Celebrity Studies, 7 (3). http://doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2015.1133313

Deller, R.A., & Tilton, S. (2015). Selfies as charitable meme : charity and national identity in the #nomakeupselfie and #thumbsupforstephen campaigns. International Journal of Communication, 9 (5), 1788-1805. http://ijoc.org/

Attwood, F., & Deller, R.A. (2015). Introduction: Transforming the makeover. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 18 (3), 263-267. http://doi.org/10.1177/1367877913513681

Deller, R.A. (2015). Religion as a makeover : reality, lifestyle and spiritual transformation. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 18 (3), 291-303. http://doi.org/10.1177/1367877913513687

Deller, R.A. (2015). Simblr famous and SimSecret infamous : performance, community norms and shaming among fans OF "The Sims". Transformative Works and Cultures, 18. http://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2015.0615

Deller, R.A. (2015). Starstruck: the business of celebrity. Celebrity Studies, 6 (1), 140-142. http://doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2015.995899

Deller, R.A. (2014). The art of Neighbours gaming : Facebook, fan-crafted games and humour. Intensities : The Journal of Cult Media, 7, 97-106. https://intensitiescultmedia.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/10-deller-the-art-of-neighbours-gaming-pp-97-106.pdf

Deller, R.A., Harman, S., & Jones, B. (2013). Introduction to the special issue: Reading the Fifty Shades 'phenomenon'. Sexualities, 16 (8), 859-863. http://doi.org/10.1177/1363460713508899

Deller, R.A., & Smith, C. (2013). Reading the BDSM romance : reader responses to fifty shades. Sexualities, 16 (8), 932-950. http://doi.org/10.1177/1363460713508882

Bury, R., Deller, R.A., Greenwood, A., & Jones, B. (2013). From Usenet to Tumblr: the changing role of social media. Participations: journal of audience and reception studies, 10 (1), 299-318. https://www.participations.org/Volume%2010/Issue%201/14%20Bury%20et%20al%2010.1.pdf

Deller, R.A. (2011). Twittering on: Audience research and participation using Twitter. Participations, 8 (1), 216-245. http://www.participations.org/Volume%208/Issue%201/deller.htm

Book chapters

Deller, R.A. (2020). Fans and Fan Cultures. In Ross, K. (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Gender, Media, and Communication. Wiley-Blackwell: http://doi.org/10.1002/9781119429128

Deller, R.A. (2019). Safer spaces. In Kinna, R., & Gordon, U. (Eds.) Routledge handbook of radical politics. New York: Routledge: https://www.routledge.com/Routledge-Handbook-of-Radical-Politics-1st-Edition/Kinna-Gordon/p/book/9781138665422

Deller, R.A. (2019). Safer Spaces. In Routledge Handbook of Radical Politics. (pp. 222-239). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315619880-18

Bell, S., & Deller, R.A. (2018). Endings in soap opera: Fan anticipation, speculation and reaction to EastEnders’ 30th anniversary storyline. In Williams, R. (Ed.) Everybody hurts: Transitions, Endings, and Resurrections in Fan Cultures. (pp. 87-100). Iowa City: University of Iowa Press: https://www.uipress.uiowa.edu/books/2019-spring/everybody-hurts%C2%A0.htm

Deller, R.A. (2018). Ethics in fan studies research. In Booth, P. (Ed.) A companion to media fandom and fan studies. (pp. 123-142). Wiley: http://doi.org/10.1002/9781119237211.ch8

Deller, R.A. (2016). Outdoor queueing, knicker throwing and 100th birthday greetings : newspaper narratives of mature female fans. In Bennett, L., & Booth, P. (Eds.) Seeing Fans : Representations of Fandom in Media and Popular Culture. (pp. 197-207). Bloomsbury Academic: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/seeing-fans-9781501318467/

Deller, R. (2016). A decade in the life of online fan communities. In The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures. (pp. 238-248). Taylor & Francis: https://www.routledge.com/The-Ashgate-Research-Companion-to-Fan-Cultures/Duits-Zwaan-Reijnders/p/book/9780815382706

Deller, R.A. (2016). Gender performance in american idol, pop idol and the X factor. In Adapting Idols: Authenticity, Identity and Performance in a Global Television Format. (pp. 181-194). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315565620-24

Deller, R.A. (2014). A decade in the lives of online fan communities. In Duits, L., Zwaan, K., & Reijnders, S. (Eds.) The Ashgate research companion to fan cultures. (pp. 237-248). Farnham: Ashgate

Deller, R.A. (2013). The 7/7 Bus. In Bennett, P., & Macdougall, J. (Eds.) Barthes' "Mythologies" today : readings of contemporary culture. (pp. 118-121). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9780203568422

Deller, R.A. (2012). Gender performance in American Idol, Pop Idol and The X Factor. In Zwaan, K., & de Bruin, J. (Eds.) Adapting idols: authenticity, identity and performance in a global television format. (pp. 181-194). Farnham: Ashgate: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315565620-24

Deller, R.A. (2010). 'What the World Needs... is a Doctor'. In Smithka, P., & Lewis, C. (Eds.) Doctor Who and Philosophy. (pp. 239-247). Chicago: Open Court


Deller, R.A. (2019). Reality Television the TV phenomenon that changed the world. Emerald Group Publishing. https://books.emeraldinsight.com/page/detail/Reality-Television/?k=9781839090240

Theses / Dissertations

Murphy, K.D. (2021). Joe Sugg: authenticity, self-branding and networking from YouTube microcelebrity to mainstream star. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Deller, R., & Mcseveny, K. http://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00399

Alsolamy, F. (2017). Social networking in higher education: academics' attitudes, uses, motivations and concerns. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Deller, R.A., & Adam, A.

Deller, R.A. (2012). Faith in view: religion and pirituality in factual Britishtelevision 2000-2009. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Attwood, F., & Blain, J.

Saputro, K.A. (2010). Engaged audiences in the mediated disaster of Mount Merapi in Indonesia 2010. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Green, G., Deller, R.A., & Postill, J.

Internet Publications

Deller, R.A. (2019). 63 Up: long-running documentary series shows how reality TV should be done. https://theconversation.com/63-up-long-running-documentary-series-shows-how-reality-tv-should-be-done-118304

Deller, R.A. (2019). Captain Marvel: why female superheroes are not just for International Women’s Day. https://theconversation.com/captain-marvel-why-female-superheroes-are-not-just-for-international-womens-day-113083

Deller, R.A. (2019). BAFTAs 2019: diverse set of winners led by The Favourite and Roma bodes well for the Oscars. https://theconversation.com/baftas-2019-diverse-set-of-winners-led-by-the-favourite-and-roma-bodes-well-for-the-oscars-111395

Deller, R.A., & Bennett, L. (2018). The State of Fandom Studies pt1: Ruth Deller and Lucy Bennett. http://henryjenkins.org/blog/2018/4/23/the-state-of-fandom-studies-2018-ruth-deller-and-lucy-bennett-pt-1

Deller, R.A., & Bennett, L. (2018). The State of Fandom Studies pt2: Ruth Deller and Lucy Bennett. http://henryjenkins.org/blog/2018/4/23/the-state-of-fandom-studies-2018-ruth-deller-lucy-bennett-pt-2

Deller, R.A., Jones, B., & Taylor-Harman, S. (2013). Reading the Fifty Shades phenomenon. https://www.litro.co.uk/2013/02/reading-fifty-shades/


Artsnight, B.B.C. (2015). Artsnight: Fame (BBC 2). BBC

Four, B.B.C. (2015). When Pop Ruled My Life: The Fans' Story (BBC 4).


Rodriguez-Amat, J., Zhang, H., & Deller, R. (2023). Waka Waka and the Platform Influencers Labor in the Spanish Speaking Music Industry. Presented at: Global Perspectives on Platforms and Cultural Production, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Deller, R., Murphy, K., Rodriguez-Amat, J., & Zhang, H. (2022). Siblings that vlog together brand together: analysing networked connections between YouTuber siblings. Presented at: 9th European Communication Conference, Aarhus, Denmark

Zhang, H., Deller, R., Kathryn, M., & Rodriguez-Amat, J. (2022). Are real-life siblings also algorithmic siblings? Mapping algorithmic connections between YouTuber brothers and sisters. Presented at: Global Perspectives on Platforms and Cultural Production, University of Amsterdam, 2022

Deller, R.A. (2020). The real deal? Reality TV’s relationship to social media. Presented at: MeCCSA 2020, University of Brighton

Deller, R.A. (2019). The Golden Girl Next Door: Transmedia celebrations of Kylie’s 50th (Keynote). Presented at: Kylie: The Symposium, Maynooth University

Deller, R.A. (2019). The Future of Reality TV. Presented at: CCRC seminar series, Sheffield Hallam University

Deller, R.A. (2019). ‘Queering Christianity? Gay religious celebrity in Britain. Presented at: Queer Celebrity Conference, University of Portsmouth

Deller, R.A. (2018). ‘All hail the comedy vicar’: Clergy as celebrity. Presented at: Celebrity Studies Conference, Sapienza University, Rome

Deller, R.A. (2017). 30 years in Holby: Analysing Casualty’s Anniversary. Presented at: British Medical Television Conference, University of Brighton

Deller, R.A. (2017). 'Academics cry censorship, students cry trauma': Media representations of ‘safer spaces’ debates in Higher Education. Presented at: MeCCSA 2017 Conference, Leeds, UK, 2017

Deller, R.A. (2017). Transmedia Storytelling in soap opera. Presented at: Huddersfield Centre for Participatory Research seminar series, University of Huddersfield

Deller, R.A., & Murphy, K. (2016). 'PewDiePie doesn't sing or dance': Mainstream media representations of YouTube celebrities. Presented at: YouTube Conference, Middlesex University

Deller, R.A., & Murphy, K. (2016). ‘As sugary as a frosted cupcake’: Newspaper representations of a YouTube star. Presented at: Celebrity Studies Conference, University of Amsterdam

Deller, R.A. (2015). Soap opera anniversaries as media events. Presented at: C3Ri seminar series, Sheffield Hallam University

Deller, R.A. (2015). Imagining the Social Justice Warrior. Presented at: Association of Internet Researchers Conference, University of Phoenix

Deller, R.A., Hoffman, A.L., Martey, R., & Guzman, A. (2015). Social Justice and Pedagogy Fishbowl. Presented at: Association of Internet Researchers Conference, University of Phoenix

Deller, R.A. (2015). 'Like the women have been beamed down en masse from BHS': Newspaper representations of mature female fans. Presented at: Fan Studies Network Conference, University of East Anglia

Deller, R.A., Walters, C., & Barker, M.-.J. (2015). Workshop on trigger warnings. Presented at: Sexual Cultures Conference, Middlesex University

Deller, R.A. (2015). Tawdry, trashy and a turn on: Reader responses to Fifty Shades. Presented at: Science Museum Lates, Science Museum, London

Deller, R.A. (2015). Hollyoaks at 20: ‘Teen’ soap no longer? Presented at: MeCCSA conference, Northumbria University

Deller, R.A. (2014). Pull the Trigger? Workshop on trigger warnings. Presented at: LaDIY Fest, Sheffield

Deller, R.A. (2014). What is this Sims 4?: PR, Promotion and Play. Presented at: C3Ri Seminar Series, Sheffield Hallam University

Deller, R.A. (2014). Charitable selfies, national identity and gender: Comparing the #nomakeupselfie and #thumbsupforstephen campaigns. Presented at: Picturing the Social conference, University of Sheffield

Deller, R.A. (2014). (Over) A Decade in the Life of Online Communities. Presented at: Fan Studies Network Conference, Regent's University, London

Deller, R.A. (2014). Celebrity Reality Television and the Fame Cycle. Presented at: Celebrity Studies Conference, Royal Holloway, University of London

Deller, R.A. (2014). Cosmopolitan Readers’ Working Group.

Deller, R.A. (2013). The Fifty Shades Phenomenon.

Deller, R.A. (2013). Of Simblr and Simstagram: Simmifying Social Media. Presented at: Fan Studies Network Conference, University of East Anglia

Deller, R.A. (2013). More Awesome than Electronic Arts: Resistance and appropriation within the Sims gaming community. Presented at: Association of Internet Researchers conference, University of Denver

Deller, R.A., & Smith, C. (2013). A nice girl’s nasty book: reading the readers of Fifty Shades.

Deller, R.A. (2013). Good news for the poor? Newspaper responses to the new Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury. Presented at: CRESC annual conference, Open University, London

Deller, R.A. (2013). BBC Three, Young People and Faith. Presented at: CMS Seminar Series, University of South Wales

Smith, C., & Deller, R.A. (2013). Readers' Responses to Fifty Shades. Presented at: Fifty Shades of Grey: An Inquiry Into 'Dangerous Things', University of Brighton

Deller, R.A. (2012). 'OMG it's been going for 16 years!!': The decline and survival of music fan mailing lists. Presented at: Internet Research 13.0, University of Salford

Deller, R.A. (2012). British television and religion: audience perspectives. Presented at: Religion and TV Workshop, Lancaster University

Deller, R.A. (2012). Portrayals of Religious Activism and Politicisation on British Television. Presented at: Religion in the Digital Age: Media, Performance and "Spectacular Activism", New York University

Deller, R.A. (2012). God Bless Britain: Religion, spirituality and national identity in factual British television. Presented at: C3Ri Seminar Series, Sheffield Hallam University

Deller, R.A. (2012). Regulating Belief: Television, policy and the representation of faith. Presented at: MeCCSA conference, University of Bedfordshire

Deller, R.A. (2011). Saving live TV? Watching television with Twitter. Presented at: Transforming Audiences conference, University of Winchester

Deller, R.A. (2011). Religious audiences and their response to media depictions of religion. Presented at: Media Spaces, Religion Networks and Social Change, Open University, London

Deller, R.A. (2011). Tweeting with the Audience: The use of Twitter in media research. Presented at: MeCCSA conference, University of Salford

Deller, R.A. (2010). Acceptable and Unacceptable Islam in British Television. Presented at: Islam and the Media Conference, University of Colorado, Boulder

Deller, R.A. (2010). "Please when you come to write about my official biography, please don’t say I travelled with her mother": Women in Torchwood, Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Presented at: What happened next? Feminist Television Studies in post-feminist times: researching the relationship between women, feminism, the feminine and British television, University of Sunderland

Deller, R.A. (2010). The Representation of Religious/Spiritual Experience on factual British TV, 2000-09. Presented at: Religion and Society: Religion and Media research day, University of Leeds

Deller, R.A. (2010). Tweeting Revelations. Presented at: Mediating Religion: Social Media and the Sacred conference, Open University, London

Deller, R.A. (2010). Representations of Religion and Spirituality on Mainstream British Factual TV 2000-09. Presented at: Conflicting Identities: Religion, Race, and Belonging in a Changing World, University of Manchester

Deller, R.A. (2010). Representing Religious and Spiritual practice. Presented at: Representations and ‘Realities’: Anthropology of Britain conference, Sheffield Hallam University

Deller, R.A. (2009). This is My Journey: Mediated Religious Experiences on British TV. Presented at: CRESC Religion, Media and Social Change 2nd Annual Symposium, Open University, London

Deller, R.A. (2009). Religion and Spirituality on Mainstream British Factual TV. Presented at: Sociology Research Group, Sheffield Hallam University

Deller, R.A. (2009). Religion on factual TV: PhD work in progress discussion. Presented at: Media and the Transformation of Religion conference, University of Manchester

Postgraduate supervision


Kathryn Murphy
Annie Watson


Kurniwan Saputro
Fahd Alsolamy


Ruth (aka 'Dr Ruth') Is a reader and principal lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University whose work covers a range of aspects of media and communication. Her main areas of research include fan and audience studies, celebrity, television, social media, gender, and religion although her teaching and research covers a broad spectrum of topics. She is a regular contributor to Radio Sheffield providing, film and media reviews, and has been interviewed for a number of documentaries and publications on a variety of topics.

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