Spaces of television - Production, site and style
This research project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and runs from July 2010 to March 2014. It concerns television fiction produced in the UK from 1955-94. It analyses how spaces of production (in TV studios and on location) conditioned the form and visual style of programmes, and how fictional spaces represented on screen used the opportunities and constraints of studio and exterior space, film and video technologies, and liveness and recording. So, for example, we investigate the histories of BBC studios in London and the regions, the sound-stages where programmes for ITV were made, and location shooting of drama series and serials. Genres of programme studied include the police and adventure series, science fiction, soap opera and period costume drama.
The Principal Investigator leading the project as a whole is Professor Jonathan Bignell - Department of Film, Theatre and Television (University of Reading), working with Co-Investigators Professor James Chapman (University of Leicester) and Professor Stephen Lacey(University of Glamorgan). There are two Postdoctoral Research Assistants based at the University of Reading, Leah Panos and Billy Smart. There are also two PhD students in the team, Ben Lamb at Glamorgan and Victoria Byard at Leicester.
Topics and research questions
Some issues addressed in the project include:
- How archival work can trace the history of production spaces in British TV.
- How TV assimilated spaces and uses of space from cinema (e.g., using film studios, location shooting, film cameras and directors).
- Comparisons between videotaped and filmed television in terms of their uses of space.
- How the changing uses of the TV studio affected the performance styles of actors.
- How production spaces and technologies impacted on the work of directors.
- Comparisons across genres, institutions and periods to chart how uses and representations of space change over time.
- What testimony from TV production staff and performers can tell us about spatial opportunities and constraints.
Results of the research
The project's published outcomes will include an edited collection of chapters presenting results of the research, four books and two special issues of academic journals. There will also be other articles and chapters published by the research team. We have held two one-day conferences and will hold a three-day conference in 2013. For further information about research results and events, see the links below.
'Politics of Television Space' one-day conference
The first symposium arising from the research took place at the University of Leicester on Friday 8 April 2011. Victoria Byard's report on the conference for the Journal of British Cinema and Television can be downloaded here.
'Performance and Television Space' one-day conference
The second symposium arising from the research took place at the University of Glamorgan on Friday 20 April 2012. Ben Lamb's report on the conference for CSTonline can be downloaded here.
'Spaces of Television: Production, Site and Style' three-day conference
The conference will be from Wednesday 18 to Friday 20 September 2013 at the University of Reading. The call for papers can be downloaded here: Spaces of Television 2013 Conference CFP
Blogs about our research
We have our own blog, titled Spaces of Television, where we publish results of work in progress. James Chapman, Leah Panos and Billy Smart have also blogged about their research for CSTonline. Billy Smart has blogged for the University of Westminster's 'Screen Plays' project, and for the CrossRoads Network Forum.
For further information please contact:
- Professor Jonathan Bignell J.Bignell@reading.ac.uk
- Professor James Chapman email@example.com
- Professor Stephen Lacey firstname.lastname@example.org
Things to do now
Visit the Spaces of Television blog
Download the 2013 conference call for papers: Spaces of Television 2013 Conference CFP
Discuss our Research
- Tel: +44 (0)118 378 4073
- Fax: +44 (0)118 378 4089
- Email: email@example.com