Working in Telly is Bad for You

2:00 pm - 19 Jan 2022


Culture will keep you fit and healthy. Culture will bring communities together. Culture will improve your education.

The Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN), in association with the University of Huddersfield, brings you the second in a series of four research seminars exploring screen-related topics specific to Yorkshire and the Humber.

This event will explore what is bad about working in TV and film and what we can do to address those issues, highlighting, in particular, the working conditions and inequalities that this workforce continues to face. You will hear from the co-author of Culture Is Bad For You, Dr Mark Taylor (University of Sheffield), and the latest findings from The Time Project. The event also marks the launch of Yorkshire Film and Television School’s Innovation Lab focusing on equality, diversity and inclusion in screen media production.


2pm to 2.05pm – Welcome from the University of Huddersfield

2.05pm to 2.10pm – Welcome from the Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN)

2.10pm to 2.30pm – The Time Project

2.30pm to 2.45pm – Q and A

2.45pm to 3pm – Break

3pm to 3.30pm – Culture Is Bad For You

3.30pm to 3.45pm – Q and A

3.45pm to 4pm – Break

4pm to 4.30pm – Panel discussion: Where do we go from here? Next steps for research and industry.

  • Professor Catherine Johnson (chair)
  • Natalie Grant
  • Dr Marcus Ryder MBE
  • Dr Jon Swords
  • Dr Mark Taylor

4.30pm to 4.45pm – Q and A

4.45pm to 5pm – Launch of Yorkshire Film and Television School’s Innovation Lab


Dr Rowan Aust

Rowan received her PhD in 2019 from Royal Holloway, University of London as part of the ADAPT Project, a major ERC-funded project which investigated television production culture through a technological lens. Prior to joining ADAPT she worked in television production, starting in Sydney on Australia’s Ground Force but once back in the UK, specialising in arts news and documentaries for the BBC and ITV. Her research looks into ethics of care and the felt experience of television production, with an interest in the equality, diversity and inclusivity agenda(s). She is a co-director of the group Share My Telly Job, which advocates for parity of working conditions in TV.

Culture is Bad for You

Culture will keep you fit and healthy. Culture will bring communities together. Culture will improve your education. This is the message from governments and arts organisations across the country; however, this book explains why we need to be cautious about culture.

Offering a powerful call to transform the cultural and creative industries, Culture Is Bad For You examines the intersections between race, class, and gender in the mechanisms of exclusion in cultural occupations. Exclusion from culture begins at an early age, the authors argue, and despite claims by cultural institutions and businesses to hire talented and hardworking individuals, women, people of colour, and those from working class backgrounds are systematically disbarred.

While the inequalities that characterise both workforce and audience remain unaddressed, the positive contribution culture makes to society can never be fully realised.

Natalie Grant

Nat is a freelance Senior / Series Producer / Edit Producer and first became involved with Share My Telly Job in 2017 following the birth of her daughter.

Her professional background is primarily in reality, entertainment and factual entertainment programming.

Since 2017, Nat has job-shared with a number of job-share partners, some of whom she knew very well and some of whom were total strangers… she has job-shared on pilots and first series, as well as on established formats.  She has also hired other job-sharers on her teams. She is a firm believer that job-sharing brings enormous benefits for both the employer and the freelancer and hopes more companies are beginning to realise that.

In 2020, Nat was elected to be the first ever Bectu representative specifically for job-sharing and flexible working – a voluntary role within the unscripted TV branch of the union.

As well as regularly job-sharing TV roles, Nat also works as an editorial consultant within the gaming industry – an industry she believes TV could learn a lot from in terms of attitudes towards flexible working.

Professor Catherine Johnson

Catherine is Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Huddersfield, UK and is internationally recognised for her research on television and the screen industries. She is the author/editor of six books and many articles. Her most recent book, Online TV, examines the rise of internet-distributed television and its impact on the TV industry and regulation. She frequently works with industry and regulators and was special advisor to the DCMS Select Committee’s inquiry into the future of public service broadcasting (2020-21). She is currently researching the impact of platformisation on public service media, and (with Dr Ben Spatz) leads the Yorkshire Film and Television Studies Innovation Lab, which aims to develop experimental methods to address systemic inequalities in the film and TV industries.

Dr Richard McCulloch

Richard is Senior Lecturer in Media and Film, and joined the University of Huddersfield in January 2016. He has held previous appointments at five other UK universities, most notably Regent’s University London, where he was responsible for overseeing the design of a new Film Studies degree pathway in 2015.

He studied Film and American Studies at the University of East Anglia, where he later went on to complete his MA and PhD. His doctoral research looked at reputation and discourses of quality in relation to Pixar Animation Studios, and he is in currently updating and expanding on his ideas for a forthcoming monograph.

Richard is co-director of The World Star Wars Project – a five-year study of the post-Disney Star Wars franchise and its audiences – and he is also on the board of the Fan Studies Network.

Marcus Ryder MBE

Marcus is a leader on the issue of diversity in the media industry, backed by a track record of award-winning news and current affairs productions delivered by diverse teams for a range of organisations including the BBC. He has recently taken up the position of Head of External Consultancies at the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity dedicated to increasing diversity in the British media industry, and he was also recently appointed as Chair of Council for RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts). He co-edited the book, Black British Lives Matter, with Sir Lenny Henry CBE. He regularly blogs on diversity issues at Black On White TV.

Dr Jon Swords

Jon is the lead for SIGN’s research work stream. In this role, Jon oversees the development and implementation of SIGN’s research strategy which will help inform both the other work streams and academic outputs from the project. The research work stream will help us to identify and understand screen industries in Yorkshire and the Humber, and to design interventions for developing them.

Jon is an economic geographer with an expertise in cultural and creative industries, and local and regional development. He has worked on and researched various parts of the creative industries, predominantly film and TV, heritage, and immersive media and technology. Jon is also a research fellow on XR Stories, which is closely aligned with SIGN.

During his time as a researcher, Jon has spent time examining processes of creativity, mapping the creative industries and looking into how creative industries develop through funding and policy regimes. He specialises in a range of research methods, from quantitative approaches such as social network analysis, to qualitative methods such as interviews, visual methodologies and participatory approaches.

Dr Mark Taylor

Mark is Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Methods (Sociology) at the Sheffield Methods Institute, University of Sheffield. His research interests are in inequalities in culture, in both audiences and work, as well as quantitative methods, particularly data visualisation. He is the co-author of Culture Is Bad For You (Manchester University Press) with Orian Brook and Dave O’Brien. He’s currently working on projects on diversity in the video games workforce, on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the cultural sector, and on knowledge and attitudes towards data practices.

The Time Project

The Time Project is a collaboration between SIGN and Share My Telly Job examining working patterns in the UK’s television industry. Long working hours have long been the norm in television but the impacts are increasingly highlighted as problematic for the health and wellbeing of impacts, for people with caring responsibilities and for the general work–life balance of television workers.

Drawing on over 73,000 hours of working time, The Time Project provides analysis of how long people are working to make TV shows and keep us entertained and provides recommendations to improve the industry.

Booking info

Cost: FREE