PH.D. Profiles

burcu.jpgBurcu Gümüş is an Econometrics graduate from Uludag University, MBA degree from Istanbul Bilgi University and is currently a PhD candidate of Communication Science in İstanbul Bilgi University. She is currently working as a program manager of markaokulu at Istanbul Bilgi University.

Research interests: consumer behavior, technology, ubiquitous computing.


BG VesikalıkBârika Göncü (2017 BİLGİ Communication PhD graduate) graduated with a B.A. in English Langugage and Literature from Boğaziçi University, and went on to  to Istanbul Bilgi University, where she earned an M.A. in Comparative Literature.

Following a range of corporate communications positions, she established her own public relations consultancy business in 1997, acting as the Agency President until 2011. During the same period, she sat on the boards of Communication Consultancies Association of Turkey (IDA) and Turkish Public Relations Association (TUHID). She is currently a member of IDA’s Board of Inspection and of the Media and Communication Council of Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).

Goncu lectured as a part-time instructor in the undergarduate Public Relations Program of Istanbul Bilgi University between the dates of 1999 and 2011. Since 2011, she is a full-time lecturer at the same program, also lecturing in the Public Relations and Corporate Communication Graduate Program (PRCC) of Bilgi University. She specializes in reputation management, public relations ethics, crisis management and communication, and issues management.

Research interests: public relations, external communication consulting, issues management, activist PR, public relations ethics, crisis management and communication.

Ph.D. thesis title:  Construction and Presentation of Communication Consultancy Expertise in Turkey

Abstract: This study is concerned with the professional expertise of public relations consultants – or the  communication consultants as it is often referred to- in the public relations and/or communication consultancy agencies in Turkey. The objective of the study is to provide a detailed description of how these consultants construct and present their expertise. The research examines the activities of these consultants within the backdrop of the dramaturgical metaphor developed by Erving Goffman in The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959), through a focus on one of the core features of the communication consultancy work, namely the creation and maintenance of a series of impressions to persuade clients of the quality and value of this service.

While incorporating Goffman’s dramaturgy in the detailed examination of external communication consultancy services, the study is also inspired by scholarly work on the similar nature of management consulting services, as well as international and Turkish scholarly literature on the various aspects of services provided by public relations and/or communication consultancy agencies. Furthermore, with the objective of providing a full picture, the study also refers to up-to-date international and Turkish public relations industry literature. By focusing on the public relations/communication consultancy agency as the research site; the study offers a rich description of the the construction and presentation of communication consultancy expertise in the Turkish context, through the accounts of the most prominent and credible consultants of the industry.

The study adopts qualitative methodology in exploring the research question of the study, employing the method of in-depth interviewing. 30 participants of the study are the leading Turkish communication consultants, most of whom are also the founders and the owners of the credible consultancy agencies in Turkey. Responding to the need for more research on the role and contribution of the external communication consulting, the study has revealed that although the intellectual capabilities of the Turkish communication consultants are highly developed, the industry has to enhance its professional capacity by developing  diverse and specialized services, by improving its human resources management, and by claiming authority through informed translation of the external world into the realm of communications.

Keywords: public relations, PR consultancy, communication consultancy, Erving Goffman.


Funda Lena (2017 BİLGİ Communication PhD graduate) graduated from Boğaziçi University with her BA (2004) and MA (2007) degrees in Economics. She graduated ranking second in her BA class and ranking first in the MA class. She is a winner of Alper Orhon Econometrics and Statistics Award (2004) and Murat Sertel Graduate Achievement Award (2005). After having a 5 years of professional experience in the music industry as a singer/songwriter and music producer, she started her PhD study in 2012 in at İstanbul Bilgi University Faculty of Communication and graduated in 2017.

Since the year 2012, Lena has worked as a project coordinator in YEKON Creative İstanbul Ateliers Project funded by İstanbul Development Agency and as a senior researcher in İstanbul Bilgi University Cultural Policy and Management Research Center. She is the coordinator and a founding member of the Cultural Diversity Coalition for Turkey (KEGeP), which is a member of International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD). She works as a part time instructor at İstanbul Bilgi University Department of Arts and Cultural Management. She also has her own research institution (KREKSA) in which she carries out research and consultancy facilities on cultural policy, cultural management and cultural economy.

Research interests: Cultural policy, cultural management, cultural economics, cultural diversity, popular culture, culture industries, music industry, creative city, culture-based development.

Ph.D thesis title: Cultural Diversity in the Music Industry of Turkey.

Abstract:  The principal aim of this dissertation is to investigate whether there exists a significant gap between the level of cultural diversity produced in Turkish music industry and the level of diversity consumed by the majority of the music listeners in Turkey, and to identify the determinants of this gap if it exists. The impact of mainstream music media on the musical preferences of the Turkish society, and hence on the consumed diversity, was specifically analyzed.

Before the research questions were set forth and the answers to these questions looked at, the theoretical and political significance of the cultural diversity issue was discussed. After doing so, consumed and produced levels of diversity in Turkey and in the world, and the impact of the ‘digital revolution’ on these levels were evaluated in light of relevant studies found in the literature. Then the historical progress of diversity in the music industry of Turkey was overviewed based on the popularity of different genres in different eras starting from 1923.

The cultural diversity in the music industry of Turkey of today – with a specific focus on pop music – was thoroughly analyzed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research techniques in Chapter 5. There were three research focuses: music consumption, mainstream music media and alternative music market. First of all, music consumption in Turkey was discussed based on the following question: “What are the musical preferences of people living in Turkey and what factors determine these preferences?” In order to look for an answer to this question and to test the related hypotheses, LCA and multivariate regression analyses were used. Basic findings were the following: the majority of the population likes and listens to the music promoted on the mainstream music media, only a small number of listeners are aware of the alternative artists but at the same time the majority of the listeners have a tendency to like the alternatives, and the factors that determine the musical preferences are: age, gender, education, personality traits such as openness to novelties in music, level of exposure to mainstream music media, taking part in amateur music activities and the familiarity gained through repeated exposure.

As the mainstream music media were found to be significantly influential on the musical preferences, its dynamics were analyzed specifically. This second part of the research was based on in-depth interviews with music media and music industry representatives. It was found that only the songs within certain musical standards that were released by major record labels and/or performed by popular artists were broadcasted on mainstream music media.

The third focus of the dissertation was the alternative music scene in Turkey, which can be accepted as the source of diversity. As for the methodology, in-depth interviews with alternative artists were used. The findings can be summarized as follows: alternative artists face several problems in each phase of music production and distribution, and even though the live music venues and the internet are important channels of promotion for alternative artists, these platforms are insufficient in helping them reach the majority of the population.

This dissertation, which regards the cultural diversity issue from the perspective of and to the benefit of the society, concluded that the way to improve the level of consumed diversity (among the majority of the population) is to diversify the mainstream music media and/or to generate an alternative mainstream. Policy recommendations were made accordingly at the end of the dissertation.

Key words: Cultural diversity, music industry, mainstream music media, pop music, alternative music market.


Sedef Erdogan Giovanelli (2017 BİLGİ Communication PhD graduate) is a lecturer at Özyegin University teaching in the Undergrad English Programme.  She completed her BA in English Language Teaching (Gazi University), MA in International English Language Teaching and Applied Language Studies (London Metropolitan University) She has been teaching since 2004, and has taught and lived in France, the UK and in Turkey.

Research interests: intangible cultural heritage, culinary culture, new media & digital culture, cultural policies.

Ph.D. thesis title: Culinary Heritage in Turkey: Cultural Policy, Official Practice and Online Representation of Food Culture

Abstract: The primary aim of this research was to investigate the recent raised awareness of intangible cultural heritage management, specifically ‘culinary heritage’ in Turkey and focused on the contemporary need to manage the cultural heritage in national and international contexts by looking at the opportunities the digital media may offer. Briefly stated, the food culture as an Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) was analysed through four different perspectives. First of all, at the international level, the research attempted to crystalize various factors which influence the ICH management in international and policy framework by looking at international agreements, policy texts, and policy discourses of UNESCO and its’ relevant bodies. Then, at the national level, the research aimed to provide a detailed understanding of the ICH management in Turkey from historical and critical perspectives in general, and then traced back the development of food culture in Turkey and its relationship with public policies and governing strategies. Afterwards, by locating the culinary heritage and its representations in the digital domain, this research discussed the current debates that shaped the food content in the digital age. Finally, the last part of the research was dedicated to data analysis. This part of the research aimed to analyse the online representation of culinary heritage of Turkey with the use of official websites of the country. More specifically, in this part, the representations of food culture on the Internet by official bodies of Turkey were interpreted and analysed by using Computer- Mediated Discourse Analysis.

The major findings of this study indicated that the careful analysis of representation of food culture through official websites of the states could reveal a lot about a specific society or culture and the digital media is a powerful tool to disseminate culinary heritage of the country for a larger audience. Based on the analysis of four food related official websites of Turkey, the findings can be summarized as follow; Turkish state had different focus while representing culinary heritage of Turkey in digital domains due to the different communication objectives of each website had and different audiences each website targeted. This dissertation, which regards the culinary heritage issue from the perspective of intangible cultural management in digital settings concluded that the digital content that was prepared by Turkish state across four food related official websites differ in terms of the discourse, the representation of culinary heritage online, how these perceptions were constructed, promoted and challenged, the language used, the usage of digital platforms and multimedia data, and intended audiences and intended messages.

didem yalinay1Didem Yalınay was the Channel Director for Discovery Channel. She launched her own consultancy company and delivered consultancy services to Reysaş Holding for their cultural entrepreneurship program. A graduate of Ankara University Radio TV and Cinema Department, Yalınay is currently a PhD Candidate at BİLGİ Communication PhD and gives lectures on critical thinking at Gazi University’s Medical Faculty.

Research interests: cultural studies, globalism, arts.


Melike Özmen completed her B.A. in Visual Arts and Design/Graphic Design in Başkent University in 2008, and M.A. in Visual Communication Design in Yeditepe University in 2012. Currently she is a research assistant in the Communication Design and Management Department, Visual Communication Design Program and a PhD candidate in Communication at Istanbul Bilgi University with a concentration on information design.

Her research interests include information design, transmedia storytelling and urban communication. More specifically, her work examines designer’s personal experience as a user in context of designing information.


sarper_bioSarper Durmuş worked as an editor for various culture and arts magazines following the completion of his bachelor’s degree in Communications at Galatasaray University. He is now a PhD candidate at Istanbul Bilgi University, dwelling on media, society and technology.

Research interests: technology studies, media ecology, nationalism, public sphere theory.

zeynep_kuntZeynep Kunt is a Social Anthropology and Sociology graduate from University of Kent (UK) and a Media Studies graduate from New School University (USA).  She is currently a PhD candidate of Communication Science in İstanbul Bilgi University.  After working as a teaching assistant and a TV producer in both USA and Turkey, she has worked as a communication consultant.

Research interests:  ethnography, game studies, performance studies, cyber anthropology, transmedia storytelling, documentary

tuge1Tüge T. Gülşen is an instructor at Istanbul Bilgi University teaching English for Academic Purposes courses. She completed her BA in Foreign Languages Education (Middle East Technical University), MA in Learning and Teaching of English and Literacy (UCL Institute of Education, University of London), MA in Cultural Studies (Istanbul Bilgi University). She is currently a PhD candidate in Communication in Istanbul Bilgi University.

Research interests: digital communication, new media, interpersonal and group communication, digital literacy


Arın Kusaksızoglu is a philosophy graduate (B.A.) from Middle East Technical University, a cultural studies graduate (M.A.) from Istanbul Bilgi University and is currently a PhD candidate of Communication Science in İstanbul Bilgi University. After working in press and music industry, he is currently working as a voice artist and singer for the rock band ‘Kül’.

Research interests: Psychoanalysis, social anthropology, musicology, memory.


Dilek Gürsoy has always been passionate about the field of visual communication, that is why she decided to start her academic journey with a graphic design education in Parsons The New School for Design in New York. During her undergraduate study, she discovered her interest path to be the coherence between the field of biomimicry and information design, which unexpectedly turned out to be an ongoing interest even in her graduate thesis/project, “Biomimicry: The Inspirational Nexus”. Currently, her academic journey has taken her to inquiries related to the improvement of education, where she studies fresh approaches of teaching through emergence of recent possibilities offered by the new media and renascent theories of collective thought.

Research Interests: new media, collective intelligence, education, transmedia storytelling

photo Yuan ZhangYuan Zhang is a lecturer in Translation Studies Department of Okan University. He received dual diploma of International Trade and English Language and Literature at bachelor’s degree in China Radio & Television University. He completed his master’s degree in Translation Studies in Okan University. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate of Communication Studies in İstanbul Bilgi University.  He is also a translator, his translation works:  “A Millennium of Turkish Literature” (Orient Yayıncılık, 2014), “Bulut Kuş” (Günışığı Kitaplığı, 2014), “Peçesi Düşen Osmanlı” (Yeditepe Yayınevi, 2014).

Research interests:  culture studies, media studies, media translation studies, critical discourse analysis, intercultural and political communication.

10371367_10152234492248611_1927301270246149278_nŞehlem Sebik is a photographer. She  graduated from Ege University Communication Faculty (B.A., MA). Her latest project was supported by the Danish Government Cultural Scholarship, she opened an exhibition in Women’s Museum in Denmark. Currently she pursues her Communication PhD degree at Istanbul Bilgi University on photography and gender.

Research interests: photography, women photographers, war, feminism, gender.

1471918_10152360854550830_414642176_nHande Çayır (2016 BİLGİ Communication PhD graduate) graduated with a B.A. in Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design from Sabancı University, and went on to Istanbul Bilgi University, where she earned an M.A. in Cinema and Television. Her writing is published in PukkaLiving, Whichcontent, Kaos GL, Kural Dışı, Psikeart, Memlekent and Radikal İki.She is now a Ph.D. candidate at the Istanbul Bilgi University Communication/Cinema Department and is a lecturer at the Graphic Design Division of Yeni YuzYil University. For the last six years she has been working as Publications Manager at Whichcontent.

Research interests: autoethnography, documentary, human rights, identity, representation of female subjectivity, surname

Ph.D. thesis title: Documentary as Autoethnography: A Case Study Based on the Changing Surnames of Women

Abstract: In the autoethnographic research method, researchers analyze their own subjectivity and life experiences, and treat the self as “other” while calling attention to issues of power. At this juncture, the researcher and the researched, the dominant and the subordinate, individual experience and socio-cultural structures can be examined. As an emerging filmmaker I have made the seventeen-minute documentary Yok Anasının Soyadı / Mrs. His Name (2012) which is defined as a form of self-narrative that places the self within a social context. My filmmaking experience spread the seeds, gave birth to this thesis, created a researcher—me, in this case—and as such, theory in practice and practice in theory go hand in hand. The interdisciplinary nature of this enquiry highlights the link between surnames and identity, which is a crucial human rights debate, and also focuses on the feminist quote “the personal is political”.

Sevgül AkbuzSevgül Akbuz is an Instructor in Ozyegin University, Turkey, and a PhD candidate of Communication Studies in Istanbul Bilgi University. She received her BA in the Department of English Language Teaching from Hacettepe University, and then completed her MA in the Department of EU Politics and  International Relations. She has been teaching English since 2004. Currently, she is writing her PhD dissertation called Arts Education in Cultural Policies of Turkey and Germany: A Comparative Study under the guidance of Assoc. Prof. Serhan Ada

Research interests: cultural policy, arts education, cultural governance, comparative cultural pollicy research, education policy.

metinözerMetin Özer has an Astronautics Engineering graduate (BA) from Istanbul Technical University, besides passionate about media, devices and marketing. Worked at telecommunications industry more than 5 years and currently a freelance communication consultant and copywriter. Completed a Media and Communication Systems (MA) from Istanbul Bilgi University and now PhD Candidate in Communication in Istanbul Bilgi University.

Research interests: Media ecology, human-computer interactions, digital communication, interaction design.

kareSercan Şengün (2016 BİLGİ Communication PhD graduate) graduated from Visual Communication Design (B.A.), Film and Television (M.A.), and is currently a Ph.D. candidate of Communication Science in İstanbul Bilgi University. He is also a game designer, an acting member of Turkish Game Developers Association (Oyunder) and a lecturer in Bahçeşehir University Game Design Master’s Degree. His work could be followed from his website;

Research interests: video game studies, video game design, interactive narratives, gamification.

Ph.D. thesis title: Narra Ludens: Explaining Video Game Narrative Engagement Through Player Types

Abstract: This study aims to understand the behaviours of video game players regarding different narrative components inside video games. A branch of academic game studies called player type resarch seeks to understand why and how different players engage with video games. Various previous player type research offered a category of gamers commonly known as “narrative” or “fantasy” player type, yet failed to address the behaviours of this type in detail. To explain narrative players, the methodology of textual analysis on user reviews was chosen. The study gathered 1690 user reviews from Steam platform about 18 video games that were determined as the most popular games with narrative components in the first quarter of 2016. The reviews were run through a semantic cluster and a valence analysis. Initially they were divided into clusters of narrative components, then the valence scores of each components were calculated. This provided the quantitative data of what components were leading the players’ perceptions of the games, and how the players approached to each cluster sentimentally. However to understand the player types, a proximity analysis was performed on valence/cluster data. This analysis outlined five narrative player types. Tracing back to manually analysing selected reviews of these types, the types were named and their behaviours were explained through the clusters that they demonstrated low, high, and median valence scores to.


selimeSelime Büyükgöze is a Cultural Studies graduate (M.A.) from İstanbul Bilgi University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate of Communication Science in İstanbul Bilgi University. She is also lecturer at Plato College of Higher Education Radio & Television Programme.

Research interests: film studies, memory, affect, feminism.

Muge (002).JPG

Müge Hasbay Öztunç worked as a head of marketing in different industries and multinational companies.  During her career, she has launched many new products and established new brands and devised marketing strategies. She graduated from Ege University Communication Faculty  (BA., and MA). She has also master degree on Production Management and Marketing in Marmara University Business Administration. Hasbay is currently a PhD Candidate at Bilgi Communication Science.

Research interests: Consumption and marketing, consumer culture, social classes.

thumbnail_OSOnur Sesigür got his BSc in Physics from Middle East Technical University and his MA in Audio Production from University of Westminster. He is currently a PhD candidate in Communication at Istanbul Bilgi University. He previously worked as a sound designer, music producer and post-production coordinator in TV and advertising before his current occupation as a client relations manager in an international digital music and film distributor. He is one of the co-founders and writers of online arts, culture and politics magazine

Research interests: digital music, culture industries, popular music, music sociology.

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