Simon J Potter


Research interests
My research focuses on British imperial history and on media history, including the history of newspapers and the periodical press, radio broadcasting, and television. I seek to bring research in these different fields together, to reveal the connections between empire and the mass media during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

I am currently leading a Leverhulme Trust International Research Network 'Connecting the Wireless World: Writing Global Radio History' (running 2016-2019) bringing together a group of scholars from around the world to think about global perspectives on the history of international broadcasting. In parallel with this, I am working on early British initiatives in global radio broadcasting in the 1920s and 1930s.   I'm interested in exploring transnational perspectives on British broadcasting, the impact of radio on global news flows, the history of listening and audience responses, and in piecing together the incomplete record of past programmes broadcast for international listeners.

I am also currently developing a project on the history of press freedom and regulation in Britain and the British empire.

My earlier research examined the role played by newspapers and news agencies in linking up the component parts of the ‘British world’ (Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More recently, I have written on the role of the BBC in building and strengthening imperial connections since 1922, and the BBC's response to the decline of the British world after the Second World War.

I have also published on the wider historiography of the British empire and the British world.


Research Supervision
I have supervised a number of PhD students through to successful completion and have considerable experience of examining PhD theses at Bristol and at other universities.  

I welcome research proposals on the political and cultural history of the British empire, particularly on the 'metropolitan' history of British imperial policy-making and the history of Britain's relationship with the 'British World', notably Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. I am currently supervising a cluster of PhD projects on the British imperial presence in Greece and Cyprus, and developing an interest in the history of the British link with Hong Kong.

I also welcome research proposals on media history, including the history of newspapers and the periodical press, radio broadcasting, and television.

Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss your research plans or if you would like to talk about applying to the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Programme (SWW DTP) or other sources of funding for research.



I teach courses on the history of the British empire and the British world; decolonization; the South African War; global and transnational history; and the mass media and democracy.