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Film Bang: communities of practice, cross media interconnections, and sectoral growth within Scotland's film and television industries

   School of Arts and Creative Industries

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  Dr A Scott, Dr Jonny Murray, Ms Kay Foubister  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Research question: How important were the working relationships and connections between filmmakers in the Scottish film and television industries for the historical growth of the sector? What can be learned about optimal strategies for talent development in the contemporary Scottish sector by tracking individual and collective work histories, especially in professional roles that scholarship has previously ignored?

This funded Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) Applied Research Collaborative studentship (ARCS) will investigate how the Scottish screen sector first coalesced, and then operated, as a ‘community of practice’ from the mid-1970s. It will develop new knowledge about interconnections between Scottish professional filmmakers, informing historical understanding of talent development in previously under-explored areas such as camera, sound and editing, drawing on information in the Film Bang directories first launched in 1976 as a manifesto to campaign for increased funding for Scottish film. From then until the present day, the Film Bang directories have published annually details of Scottish-based freelance personnel in both production and craft roles. The research will analyse this data and track the evolution of the sector. The first edition of Film Bang listed 11 production companies and 66 freelancers active at that time. Over the next three decades these figures grew to a high point of 804 freelancers in 2004. Joint Supervisor Dr Alistair Scott has already gathered a database from the original directories which will be available to the student. The project will variously track and/or uncover historical patterns and networks of working relationships between Scottish filmmakers in a variety of creative and technical disciplines. The project will identify and assess these individuals’ and networks’ contributions to the growth and success of the Scottish film and television industries. This research will throw new light on the history of the creative, economic, institutional and interpersonal development of film and television in Scotland. It will reveal the ways in which pipelines of creative talent emerged from previous generations of the local filmmaking community. New in-depth knowledge of these careers and the symbiotic interrelationships between them will inform and support Scottish film makers of the future.

Throughout the project the student will have regular work placements with the Moving Image Archive, National Library of Scotland (NLS), based at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, and will gain appropriate training through the supervision of curatorial staff in addition to the support of academic supervisors. The student will also be part of the postgraduate training network organised by the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and will take part in the annual SGSAH Summer School and other events.

Academic qualifications:

A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in one of the following disciplines

- Film, Television, Media, Cultural Studies, Scottish Studies, or Museums and Archives with a good fundamental knowledge of qualitative research methodologies and gathering evidence of work histories.

English language requirement IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:

Experience of fundamental archive research

· Competent in qualitative research methodologies including interviewing contributors, organising and leading focus group research

· Knowledge of production roles in the film and television industries

· Good written and oral communication skills

· Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project

· Good time management

Desirable attributes:

Preferably the candidate will have existing knowledge of Scottish film screen sector, although previous specialist expertise is not essential. Given the aim of investigating roles within the screen industry that have been under-researched we encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds and are also open to candidates with relevant experience in the cultural sector or industry at a level equivalent to a Master’s qualification.

Funding Notes

The funding will support UK Fees and a stipend currently £15,609 over 3.5 years (part-time 5 years). International students can apply but will be required to pay the balance of fees due. This is an Applied Research Collaborative Studentship (ARCS) supported by the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) the two HEIs are Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Edinburgh. The partner organisation is the National Library of Scotland, Moving Image Archive.


Dick, E. (Ed) (1990) Limelight to satellite, Glasgow, BFI, Scottish Film Council
Murray, J. (2005) That Thinking Feeling: A Research Guide to Scottish
Cinema, 1938 – 2004 Glasgow/Edinburgh: Scottish Screen/Edinburgh
College of Art
Murray, J. (2011) Discomfort and Joy: the Cinema of Bill Forsyth, Oxford:
Peter Lang
Murray, J. (2015) The New Scottish Cinema, London: I.B. Tauris
Murray, J., Farley, F. and Stoneman, R. (eds.) (2009), Scottish Cinema Now,
Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press
Murray, J. (2018) Alliteration, America and Authorship: The Television
Drama of John Byrne’, in Visual Culture in Britain, Vol. 18. 3, pp. 378-400
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Franceschild’, in International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen, Vol.
11. 1 pp. 119-144
Petrie, D. (2000) Screening Scotland, London, British Film Institute
Scott, A. (2018) ‘STV at sixty’, peer-reviewed article in the International
Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen Studies, Vol 11, Edinburgh, Queen
Margaret University
Scott, A. (2017) Representing Scottish Communities on Screen, Chapter 4 in
Malik, S., Chapain, C., Comunian, R. (Eds), Community Filmmaking: Diversity,
Practices and Places (pp 60- 76), London, Routledge
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