School of Politics and International Relations
 

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Abigail Blyth

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

Having completed my PhD 'The British Intelligence Services in the Public Domain' at Aberystwyth University, I joined the School of Politics and International Relations in January 2020.I teach on a variety of undergraduate courses, particularly those related to my personal areas of interest including a third year module 'Secret Intelligence and International Security'.

I am a member of the Women in Intelligence Network, giving a presentation as part of the Brown Bag Lunch Series in April 2022.

Expertise Summary

My expertise lies in the intelligence realm, the role of the media, and particularly within news journalism and popular culture and what images can be portrayed to the public through these avenues of information. Yes, that means watching James Bond is research!

Teaching Summary

My teaching interests centres upon intelligence and security, and I teach on a variety of modules which are associated with these themes including:

Secret Intelligence and International Security

Covert Action and Unacknowledged Interventions

Russia and Great Power Politics

I am also passionate in ensuring representation in these fields, and highlighting to aspiring students that anyone can excel when studying these realms.

Research Summary

I am currently working on exploring how the portrayals which the British Intelligence Services provide of themselves, compare to those which are evident through popular culture depictions. What… read more

Current Research

I am currently working on exploring how the portrayals which the British Intelligence Services provide of themselves, compare to those which are evident through popular culture depictions. What impact does this then have, can we see popular culture portrayals as providing the public with accurate information, and if not, what are the ramifications of this on public understanding of the intelligence realm.

Another area which I am working on, is intelligence pedagogy to ensure best practice in the field. This builds on recent discussions within intelligence studies to explore how to ensure the subject remains relevant, interesting and engaging for students. This has become of even more importance arguably, following the Covid-19 pandemic, and the move to online teaching and challenges which were associated with this, particularly in relation to student engagement. The article will explore these themes in assessing best intelligence pedagogical practice.

Past Research

My PhD explored the British Intelligence Services in the public domain, and looked at what information is publicly available to educate the public on the intelligence realm. It assessed the depictions which are provided directly by the Intelligence Services, although these can often be hard to find, before comparing these to the portrayals evident in other avenues of information. These were, wider Government, academia, news journalism, and popular culture.

Future Research

I have future plans to explore the link between intelligence accountability and politicisation. This is something which came back into public consciousnesses following the issues surrounding the appointment of the Chair of Britain's Intelligence and Security Committee; something Prime Minister Boris Johnson got personally, and directly involved with. The research will explore how accountability is becoming a new way in which intelligence politicisation can occur and what can be done to overcome this.

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