Hugh Ortega Breton

Dr. Hugh Ortega Breton

Senior Research Assistant, Psychosocial Research Unit

School of Social Work, Care and Community

Eden Building, ER333

+44 (0) 1772 89 6378

Subject Areas: Art, Drama, Dance and Music, Journalism, Media, Performance, Psychology, Social Care, Sociology

Hugh’s current research evaluates social arts practice and museums, and their respective roles in generating cultural activity and civic spaces. He is working with Creative People and Places Programmes in England.  He has published research on the representation of the ‘war on terror’ on British and American television, radio listening and production, and environmental advocacy in film. He has taught extensively in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies and worked on systematic reviews in Public Health.

Hugh is research active within the Psychosocial Research Unit and the Institute for Citizenship, Society and Change.


Full Profile

Hugh’s research applies object relation psychoanalysis to investigate the role of emotions in communication. He is particularly interested in the impact of risk aversion and therapeutic discourse on political agency, and how this impacts on other areas of social life. In doing so, his work draws on interdisciplinary scholarship including psychocultural studies, sociology, object relations psychoanalysis, media studies and the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. His many research collaborations attest to his advocacy of transdisciplinary and team working.

He has designed and delivered research-informed teaching on the screen representation of armed conflicts and international terrorism, and the role of emotions in political and popular culture. He has taught both social workers and media production students.


  • Ph.D. Media & Cultural Studies, University of Roehampton, 2011
  • Graduate Certificate Learning-Teaching, University of Surrey, 2013
  • M.Sc. Sociology, University of Bristol, 2002
  • M.A. (Hons.) Sociology and Philosophy, University of Glasgow, 1997


(2016) (co-authored with Hammond, P.) ‘Eco-Apocalypse: Environmentalism, Political Alienation and Therapeutic Agency’ in K. A. Ritzenhoff & A Krewani (eds.) The Apocalypse in Film, Rowan and Littlefield. ISBN: 978-1-4422-6029-0.

(2015) ‘The Paranoid Style’s traumatic speculations of suffering’ in S. Lacey & D. Paget (eds.) The War on Terror: Post-9/11 Television Drama, Docudrama and Documentary, pp.81-94, University of Wales Press. ISBN: 978-1-7831-6245-1.

(2014) (co-authored with Hammond, P.) ‘Bridging the Political Deficit: Loss, Morality and Agency in Films Addressing Climate Change’, Communication, Culture and Critique, Vol. 7 Issue 3 pp.303-319. DOI: 10.1111/cccr.12052.

(2011) ‘Coping with a Crisis of Meaning: Televised Paranoia’ in Free Associations (62). ISSN: 2047-0622. 9 citations.

External Affiliations

  • Review Editor for Frontiers in Communication, ISSN: 2297-900X

Research Activities

  • The evaluation of Creative People and Places Programmes in Lancashire

Membership of professional bodies

  • The Association for Psychosocial Studies


June 2013: Melancholia: Imaging the End of the World. International Conference Organized by Central Connecticut State University and Philipps University, Marburg, Germany. The Eco-Apocalypse: A psycho-cultural approach to Melancholic Loss, Political Alienation and the Desire for annihilation (with Philip Hammond)

June 2013: 12th Biennial Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE) International Environmental Communication Association, Uppsala University, Sweden. Therapeutic redemptions? The secular eco-apocalypse in environmental advocacy films

Oct. 2012: ECREA - 4th European Communication Conference, Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey   An Emotional Climate: Melancholic Agency in Environmental Film (with Professor Philip Hammond, Head of Centre for Media and Culture Research London Southbank University)

May 2012: Skepsi Fifth Annual Conference: Don’t Panic, The Apocalypse in Theory and Culture, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent. Loss, Alienation and the Desire for Annihilation: Phantasies in the Politics of the Eco-Apocalypse (with Philip Hammond)

Jan. 2012: Annual MeCCSA Conference, University of Bedfordshire. The Emotional Engagements of Environmental Television and Film (with Philip Hammond)