The grant is for a total of £28,239, and the funds will support the set up of the research network and several major activities and events over an 18-month period, to support The Cult TV: TV Cultures Network.
The Cult TV: TV Cultures Network will bring scholars together with non-academic users and stakeholders in the television culture and industry to address key developing areas in the digital TV era, in order that these are not just analysed after the fact, but shaped according to national agendas and expertise. The National Media Museum in Bradford has recently opened a new permanent gallery devoted to the internet, demonstrating the need to publicly document, explore and archive new digital media. The UK industry body Creative Skillset has identified gaps in the skills and training of TV personnel now that new technologies are entering the broadcast landscape.
Recent reports predict that while live broadcast will remain important to television, consumption by other access routes will account for an increasing share of its viewers (Foster and Broughton, 2011). Cult TV scholars have long been aware of ‘overflow’ from television screens to other media and the activities of the network will focus creative thinking and foster collaboration in areas vital to understanding how the digital era is transforming television, and with it, our cultural environment.
This new network will explore the ways in which television generally has taken on aspects once linked to Cult TV, offering engagement and immersion for consumers beyond weekly TV programming. Key areas to be addressed by the network include archiving and the digital era (TV as cultural heritage and cultural memory), authorship (intellectual property, creativity, audience and fandom, multimedia expanded narratives), and creative challenges (new delivery technologies demand new content). The network and its activities will involve a range of participants from academics who research different aspects of cult and mainstream TV, to museums preserving our TV heritage, to fan-scholars and bloggers engaged in ‘unofficial’ archiving and analysis, and industry specialists with a stake in developing the skills necessary to produce digital-era television.
Dr Jowett is excited to get started with the network, saying: “I’m delighted to receive this grant and look forward to forming a network which will explore the ways in which television is deeply embedded in our culture, and how our experience of it is changing in the digital age.”