Creator labour: Screen production cultures and transmedia intersectionality in Yorkshire

Principal Investigator: Errol Salamon (University of Huddersfield)

Co-Investigators: Ysabel Gerrard (The University of Sheffield), Sophie Bishop (The University of Sheffield), Rebecca Saunders (University of Huddersfield), Catherine Johnson (University of Huddersfield), and Cornel Sandvoss (University of Huddersfield)

The rise of social media platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitch, has arguably increased the potential for content creators to diversify screen industries. How can social media content creators help us develop strategies to support diversity and inclusivity initiatives in screen media industries in Yorkshire that move beyond the shortcomings of existing initiatives?

To answer this question, we analyse the labour conditions, personal experiences, motivations, production practices, creative uses of technology, and collective organising actions of intersectional creators from historically marginalised groups.

Creators use digital platforms to produce and distribute content outside legacy screen industries. They include racially, ethnically, and sexually diverse vloggers, influencers, micro-celebrities, YouTubers, Grammers, and TikTokkers.

Bringing together critical-cultural media studies, management, and sociology, our project explores the multidimensional contexts of transmedia creator labour in Yorkshire. It maps the structure of digital platform-based screen industries and diversity initiatives for creators. It also consists of interviews with creators and an analysis of their online accounts.

By focusing on creators’ discourse, we could better understand how creators express their social identities, form production cultures, and organise online to support diversity, inclusivity, and quality work. Doing so could widen access to and participation in screen content creation.

This project is funded through SIGN’s Collaborative Research Grants scheme.

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