Home > Research > Researchers > Carla Banks

Dr Carla Banks

Research student

Carla Banks

Research overview

My principal research interests lie in the field of consumer culture touching on themes of ‘the material’, ‘the visual’ and consumption. In particular, I am interested in work around shopping, retailing, retail environments, visual merchandising and display practices. 

Thesis Title

Practicing Display: The Visual – Material Making of Retail Space


Thesis Outline

I am an ESRC 1+3 funded student. My doctoral research is an ethnographic enquiry into the visual and material making of retail space based on research with practitioners in the British department store, John Lewis. Using a number of methods including, participant observation, interviews and photography, I seek to understand how retail display practitioners (visual merchandisers) design and implement display schemes. I argue that analysing ‘display practice’ is essential to understanding retail environments and specifically, the notion of creating and enacting a brand’s ‘handwriting’ through display practice is central to processes of consumer culture.  I consider what kinds of shopping environments are constituted by particular display practices and discuss in detail the various ways in which visual merchandising is implicated in the visual – material making of retail spaces.

Supervised By

Dr. Anne Cronin

Current Teaching

I am currently a seminar tutor on Sociology 209 Consumer Culture and Advertising


BA Sociology (First Class with Honours) MA Sociological Research (Distinction) Supported Learning Award in Higher Education. All attained at Lancaster University.

View all (1) »