Emeka Dumbili

Emeka Dumbili undertook his Mildred Blaxter Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brunel University from March 2016 to March 2017, having received his PhD from the same University in 2015. He is now a lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria.

What was the focus of your work?

During the fellowship, I carried out a project entitled ‘Media consumption, gendering of alcohol and sexual risk behaviour’. The project was roughly divided into three interrelated sections. The first explored the interplay between young people’s consumption of local and foreign popular media and how these channels mediate alcohol consumption. Here, I demonstrated the plurality of factors that shape the patterns of young people’s media use. These factors include the quality of movies, whether the movies were produced by Hollywood or Nollywood (Nigeria’s movie industry), and the gender of the viewer. In effect, I illustrated how these factors result in gendered, sophisticated, aspirational drinking, particularly among those who prefer Hollywood movies. The second and third components explored the gendering of alcohol consumption and risky sexual behaviour. Here, I focused on how the social constructions of alcohol consumption in Nigeria facilitate the use of heavy drinking to construct a range of gender identities, and how the gendering of alcoholic beverages facilitates sexual violence and rape culture.

I focused on producing scholarly articles from the project, and this resulted in eight articles (see below). I also developed an application for the Brunel University Internship which was successful.

I presented my research at three conferences (two in the UK, including the BSA annual conference and BSA Medical Sociology conference, and another in Nigeria). These conferences provided me with networking and other opportunities.

What did the Mildred Blaxter fellowship offer you that you would not otherwise have been able to do?

No doubt, the fellowship gave me excellent opportunities to fully think through the data collected during my PhD in a more relaxed way, because I had enough time to focus on my data so as to maximise what I got from them.  Because of the space and resources the fellowship provided, I was able to see what I couldn’t see in the data during my doctoral research, and this helped me to write all the ideas that were in my mind.  The fellowship also gave me ample opportunity to think and decide on what to do afterwards.

What are you doing now?

I am currently a lecturer/researcher at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, and the knowledge and experience I garnered during the Mildred Blaxter Fellowship are helping me to consolidate my fast-growing research path as well as to assist other colleagues who are making fellowships and other grants applications.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying for a Mildred Blaxter fellowship?

I would strongly encourage those who want to become excellent and independent early-career researchers to go for the Mildred Blaxter Fellowship. Before you submit your application, make sure that you are specific regarding what you want to do during the 12 months. State your plans clearly. For example, if you are planning to disseminate your findings, state the journals/conference(s) and if possible the reasons for your choices. Think of what is possible within 12 months, and do not try to overblow your planned output.

I also would advise that you choose who will serve as your mentor wisely. I had the best working relationship with my mentor (Professor Clare Williams), and her support made a clear difference in my output.

You can find out more about Emeka’s work on his webpages here and here, and follow him on Twitter. Publications arising from his Mildred Blaxter fellowship include: