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Dr Marianne Colbran

Honorary Fellow

B.A. English Language and Literature (Oxon), M.Sc Criminology (LSE), Ph.D. Sociology (LSE)

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Dr. Marianne Colbran is a writer and academic and is Honorary Fellow in Criminology at the Law School. She has also been awarded a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship for the academic years 2024-2026.

Marianne has been Visiting Fellow in the Department of Social Policy at the LSE since 2016. Prior to this, she was a Research Associate and M.Sc. Tutor at the Centre for Criminology, Oxford, having previously held a Howard League / Oxford Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Criminology at the Centre.

Marianne is an ethnographer. Her research focuses on how production processes and working practices of media professionals shape crime news reporting and crime drama. Her first study looked at production processes on nine leading British and European crime dramas, including The Bill, Broadchurch, Spiral and The Killing. This resulted in her first monograph, Media Representations of Police and Crime: Shaping The Television Drama (Springer 2014). 

Marianne’s second monograph was an ethnographic study of crime reporting, Crime and Investigative Reporting in the UK (Policy Press 2022). This was the first ethnographic study of crime reporting in the UK for over 25 years, and broke new ground by exploring the influence of the new non-profit journalism organisations on the field and how they are changing the scope of traditional crime reporting. As a result of her work, Marianne has given expert written evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the sustainability of local journalism and has been a guest at a number of literary festivals in the UK, talking about her research into crime journalism. She has also published in the British Journal of Criminology, Policing and Society and the Journal of Aesthetic Education. She is currently working on a third book under contract, Policing and The Media, to be published by Routledge.

She is also interested in the new field of 'live journalism' – the interaction of journalism and theatre. In 2022, she was a consultant on "It's Criminal", a storytelling project based in Glasgow, which was a collaboration between two Scottish non-profits, The Ferret and Greater Govanhill Magazine, and was funded by City University. It investigated the ways in which traditional crime reporting models can perpetuate inequality and negative perceptions of certain neighbourhoods and groups, culminating in a show at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow in 2022.

Marianne will be working on a new play during her Royal Literary Fund Fellowship and a fourth book, What We Talk About When We Talk About Crime and Punishment, which will draw on interviews with journalists and film-makers to explore why they tell the stories they do about the criminal justice system.

Before becoming an academic, Marianne was a staff writer on the police drama, The Bill, and on the soap opera, Brookside, where one of her episodes was nominated for a BAFTA in 2001. She has also written for other shows, including Peak Practice and The Vet, and for stage, including shows at the National Theatre Studio and the King’s Head Theatre Club.