Dr. Mark Taylor

Mark tells us about anagrams, never ending research and Jinkx Monsoon.

old fashioned TV, speakers, books

Favourite quote?
Remember, if you get booed offstage, that's just the applause from ghosts. -  Sharon Needles

Describe your job in three words.
Talking, reading, writing

How long have you worked for The University of Sheffield?
Since September 2014.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?
I get to research stuff I’m interested in, with people who i like, and I get to teach stuff I think is important, to great students.

What research are you working on now?
I’m just starting a project supported by the AHRC titled Understanding and Challenging Inequality in Culture, where we’re using a wide range of different data sources (many not originally designed for research data) to get a better sense of the social structure that underpins existing inequalities in culture.

What would you like to be the ultimate outcome of your research?
It never ends!


Britney Spears is an anagram of Presbyterians"

Dr. Mark Taylor

Lecturer in Quantitative Methods


What legislation would you change to improve how science in your field is done?
I’m not sure legislation is the way to go! That said, anyone who uses secondary data sources and doesn’t cite them properly should probably be in prison.

Is there controversy in this area?
Other schools of thought? I don’t think anyone is against data citation, but it’s not taken particularly seriously compared with, say, using someone’s ideas and not citing them in your bibliography. For me, data collection is such an important part of the research process that it’s essential to give credit to the people who did it when it isn’t you.

How did you get involved with the SMI?
I joined the SMI in 2014 as it was set up, as one of the original Q-Step Lecturers.

Do you have another area of research that you’re currently not working on that you would like to?
I’m juggling far too much already to start anything new!

What kind of response have you gotten to your research / findings?
I’ve worked on a few projects that have had positive responses from the media and policy circles. Most recently, I was involved in a project along with colleagues at Edinburgh where we launched something at the Barbican summarising a lot of work we’d previously done on questions of inequality in culture, which you can read here.

Why is your research important? What are the possible real world applications?
If people working in cultural and creative industries are drawn from a narrow section of society, there’s implications not only in terms of social justice, but also in terms of the kind of culture that we produce. Through the analysis of how this situation has come to exist and how it persists, we can start to think about how it might be changed.

Why is your area of scientific discovery important (or relevant) for the ordinary citizen of this country?
You watch TV, right?

What is your favourite thing about what you do?
Working with people in and around creative jobs to understand the dynamics of how those industries work.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
Jinkx Monsoon

What is something you learned in the last week?
“Britney Spears” is an anagram of “Presbyterians”

What is currently on your bedside table?
A Kindle, about 5 USB memory sticks, a sleep mask, about 8 pens, three phone chargers…

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I’d like to be better at drawing

Your top 3 favourite Podcasts/Books?
Let’s go podcasts for all three:

  • Off Menu with James Acaster & Ed Gamble;
  • Boners of the Heart with Rose Matafeo & Alice Snedden;
  • Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast
Text that says Why Numbers Matter

Why Numbers Matter

SMI's series on why it's important to get numbers right.

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