Public Practices

Global North/USA

Emma O'Regan-Reidy

Dissertation Title

An Exploration of How the Production, Design and Consumption of Solange’s Music Videos from 2016-2019 Form Her Brand

Emma O'Regan-Reidy

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I’m a freelance writer, editor and illustrator based in Dublin, Ireland. Before this course, I graduated from University College Dublin’s English Literature and Film Studies BA. At the start of this 15-month MA programme, I researched dining trends and popular foods in Victorian London through the sole source of a lace menu in the V&A’s collection. In the second unit, I analysed the impact of deindustrialisation on high street and couture fashion in the US from the 90s to today and the class implications of these trends.

My dissertation is titled: The Material Culture of Solange Knowles from 2016-2019: An Exploration of How the Production, Design and Consumption of Solange’s Music Videos Form Her Brand. Like most major celebrity musicians, Solange effectively utilises music videos to shape her brand identity. The dissertation aimed to challenge the notion that Solange has sole agency over these visuals and their dissemination, despite her title of Creative Director on most of her brand. Mechanisms of communication – such as digital publications and social media – encourage both the press and fans to also participate in this construction of her brand through their responses and coverage of Solange’s output. The economic factors and technical – as well as creative – labour behind these videos are often uncovered by the press, resulting in a mythologisation of Solange which fortifies celebrity status and brand. By utilising design as a strategy surrounding and within her music videos, and through testimonies on digital publications and social media, Solange is propelled to the top of the creative hierarchy. Although music videos are one of the primary mediums through which the average consumer receives music in 2020, these visuals are rarely discussed in academic and journalistic contexts. This dissertation argued the significant impact they have on contemporary entertainment brand building and marketing.

Though my research interests are varied, I continue to explore these multifaceted topics through my work as a freelance writer and illustrator. Currently, I am a monthly columnist for ScreensShot Media where I trace trends in contemporary food, technology and fashion at all levels of consumption.