The Centre for the History of Television Culture and Production was officially opened on 22nd February at a launch event at the BFI Southbank.
The event brought together television scholars and industry professionals, highlighting shared interests, mutual concerns and the continuing importance of productive dialogue between academia and the TV industry. Guest speakers Prof. James Bennett, Prof. Andrew Chitty, Prof. James Quinn and Kate Maddigan all provided a thought-provoking and stimulating introduction to the aims and aspirations of the centre, particularly regarding its relationship with the industry.
Professor James Bennett, (Centre Co-Director) introduced the Centre’s Co-Directors (Prof. John Ellis and Prof. John Hill) as well as its aims and projects. The Centre intends to produce research not only about, but also with and for the industry, and sometimes all three simultaneously. He highlighted current work within the industry itself, such as documentaries like Hospital (BBC 2) produced by Helen Littleboy (RHUL). Similarly, the Forgotten TV Drama project has produced not only crucial research about neglected works of TV drama, but is also working with various agencies – broadcasters, archives, distributors and exhibitors – to make it available to new audiences.
Kate Maddigan (former Commissioning Editor ITV) went on to speak about the value of such work to industry professionals, particularly with regards to the Centre’s ADAPT Social Media Project (part of the wider ADAPT project). She noted the increasing influence of audience reactions and feedback on production cultures and processes, particularly now that social media makes that feedback so immediate. The industry must learn how to react and use this immediacy to good effect if it wants to stay relevant. Research such as the ADAPT Social Media Project will hopefully help guide producers into how they can integrate social media thinking into the production process and understand its full power and potential.
The team at the TV Centre is keen to hear from anyone with potential research projects that align with the Centre’s key interests. For further information or to discuss a project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.