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Students win television festival experience

Date: 12/08/2019

Fifteen PhD students, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), have been selected to take part in the second year of ‘TV PhD’, a residential scheme at the television industry’s prestigious Edinburgh Television Festival.

The TV PhD scheme, running from August 19-23, is the result of a partnership between the research council and the Festival. The successful TV PhD 2019 participants will benefit from six sessions in Edinburgh built with their particular needs in mind; addressing career development, how arts and humanities programmes are made, and how ideas are developed into programmes. Session leaders are drawn from across the television landscape including National Geographic, Nutopia, Storyboard Studios, Expectation and Plimsoll Productions.

They will also be able to take part in elements of the Festival’s other talent initiatives (such as The Network and Ones to Watch). The academics will enjoy access to a specially selected group of TV professionals who will be on hand in the lead-up and throughout their time in Edinburgh to guide, advise and answer questions.

Dr Paul Meller, Associate Director at UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, says:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for AHRC-funded students, either with plans to work in the TV industry or whose research focuses on that industry.

“The bespoke training and mentoring they will receive is unique and will help develop strong relationships between them as researchers and professionals in the TV industry.”

In addition, they will receive a pass that enables them to attend the remainder of the festival and experience a broad range of talks, interviews, and panel discussions. 2019’s programme includes talks from Hugh Laurie, Louis Theroux, Paul Feig and this year’s MacTaggart Lecturer Dorothy Byrne, as well as contributors from all of the UK’s major channels and global platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.

“I’m delighted to welcome the TV PhD scheme in an expanded format following last year’s inaugural cohort. The support for this initiative both from the AHRC and the TV industry overall has been particularly inspiring, so I am particularly excited to bring these two worlds together again in 2019,” said Campbell Glennie, Director, Education & Talent Development, Edinburgh Television Festival.

The scheme is intended to help them get work in or with the television industry. One of last year’s participants, Ayesha Taylor-Camara, is currently working in the audience research department at the BBC. She says:

“As well as helping to shape my future research and career goals, participation in the festival allowed my BBC application to stand out and I used what I had learnt to give me the edge during my interview and assessment.”

Those taking up their places on the scheme this year are PhD students drawn from academic institutions across the UK. TV PhD participants are:

  • Mimi Goodall - University of Oxford
  • Anna Varadi - University of Bristol
  • Georgina Wilson - University of Oxford
  • Nicole Brandon - University of Dundee
  • Sean Kinnear - Glasgow School of Art
  • Charles Beirouti - University of Oxford
  • Aleena Din - University of Oxford
  • Abigail Walker - Kings College London
  • Naomi Oppenheim - UCL
  • Lisa Taylor - Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Nick Havergal - University of Bristol
  • Nina Rasmussen - Kings College London
  • Vincent Chabany-Douarre - Kings College London
  • John Beales - Keele University
  • Laura Minor - University of Leeds

In addition, two further AHRC-funded academics who already have a background in TV: Patcee Francis (Nottingham Trent University) and Mhairi Brennan (University of Glasgow) have been selected from the application process to attend the Festival to develop their careers.

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