Hilde Van den Bulck

Health Narratives


Hilde Van den Bulck

Universiteit van Antwerpen


Hilde Van den Bulck is Full Professor of Communication Studies, head of the Media Policy and Culture research group and dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Antwerp.

She obtained an MA in Communications from the KULeuven (B) and an MA in Mass Communications from the University of Leicester (UK). In 2001, she obtained a PhD from the KULeuven (B) with an historical study of the role of public service broadcasting (PSB) in the project of Modernity, focussing on Flemish PSB. She has worked at the University of Antwerp since 2001. In 2014 she is also part time guest professor at the University of Bergen in Norway.

She is vice-chair of the Communication Law and Policy section of ECREA, vice-president of NeFCA, the Netherlands-Flanders Communication Association, and vice-chair of NeFCA’s popular culture devision. Furthermore, she is vice chair of the Flemish Media Council (SARC).


Van den Bulck combines complementary expertise in the areas of media structures and policies with a focus on public service broadcasting, and of media culture and identities with a focus on celebrity culture. With regards to the latter, she focuses on how mediated communication about celebrities creates social and moral discussions, focusing on the role of celebrities as philanthropists and endorsers of social profit issues and causes, including health. Her research involves inductive framing analysis of (off- and online mediated communication about) celebrities endorsements’ narration of social profit issues such as those relating to health. Her research further focuses on the impact of such celebrity endorsed messages on audiences and the way in which audiences deal with such celebrity endorsement stories of social profit issues, analysing how communication with peers, parasocial relations with celebrities and personal experiences are intermediaries in how people deal with celebrity-related (online) media content.


Celebrity endorsements of social profit/health issues, celebrity philanthropy, framing analysis, media audiences

Key publications

Representative of carreer

[ISI] Van den Bulck, H. & Van Poecke, L (1996). National Language, Identity Formation and Broadcasting: Flanders, the Netherlands and German speaking Switzerland, European Journal of Communication, 11(2), 217-223. (ISI, peer review, IF 1998: 0.237).

[ISI] Van den Bulck, H. (2001). Public Service Broadcasting and National Identity as a Project of Modernity, Media, Culture and Society, 23(1), 53-69. (ISI, peer review, IF 2001: 0.465 second most quoted MCS article in 2005).

[VABB] Van den Bulck, H. (2008). Can PSB Stake Its Claim in a Media World of Digital Convergence? The Case of the Flemish PSB Management Contract Renewal from an International Perspective, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 14(3), 335-350. (peer review)

[ISI] Van den Bulck, H. & Claessens, N. (2013). Celebrity Suicide and the Search for the Moral High Ground: Comparing Frames in Media and Audience Discussions of the Death of a Flemish Celebrity, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 30(1), 69-84. (IF: 0.633 )

[ISI] Van den Bulck, H. & Donders, K. (2014). Of Discourses, Stakeholders and Advocacy Coalitions in Media Policy: Tracing Negotiations towards the New Management Contract of Flemish Public Broadcaster VRT, European Journal of Communication, 29(1), 83–99 [IF 0.556)

Key to this project
[ISI] Panis, K. & Van den Bulck, H. (2012). Celebrities’ Quest For a Better World Understanding Flemish Public Perceptions of Celebrities’ Societal Engagement, Javnost/The Public, 19(3), 75-92. (IF: 0,13)

[ISI] Panis, K. & Van den Bulck, H. (2014). forthcoming). In the Footsteps of Bob and Angelina: Celebrities’ Diverse Societal Engagement and Its Ability To Attract Media Coverage Communications, The European Journal of Communication Research (IF: 0,24)

Van den Bulck, H. & Panis, K. (2010). Michael As He Is Not Remembered: Jackson’s ‘Forgotten’ Celebrity Activism, Celebrity studies, 1(2), 242-244 (peer review).

Van den Bulck, H. Panis, K. & Claessens, N. (2013). Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising: The Serious Request and Music For Life Radio Telethons, Media, and Citizenship, in K. Howley (ed.), Media Interventions, pp. 109-126, New York: Peter Lang.