Lights, Camera, Action: Leicester PhD researcher scores sought-after opportunity to work within ‘beating heart’ of the television industry

Posted by ap507 at Aug 16, 2018 03:24 PM |
Anna McKay will attend the Edinburgh International Television Festival from 20-24 August as part of collaborative ‘TV PhD’ programme with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Issued by University of Leicester on 16 August 2018

A photograph of Anna McKay available at:

University of Leicester PhD researcher Anna McKay will be working within the ‘beating heart’ of the television industry as one of only six emerging academics from across the UK to be selected to take part in the first ‘TV PhD’ mentoring programme.

‘TV PhD’ is a collaborative training and mentoring programme by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Edinburgh International Television Festival (ETF).

Establishing links between academic researchers and TV professionals, the programme has been designed to help participants secure work in, or with, the television industry.

Those selected receive a unique opportunity for training and mentoring tailored to support them in their research and future careers.

Anna McKay is a third-year collaborative PhD student at the University of Leicester and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Before she began her PhD, Anna worked alongside theatre company Freedom Studios in Bradford and secured a two-month work experience placement at CBBC in Salford. Following this, she was shortlisted in the Channel 4 Writing for Television category of the Northern Writers’ Awards.

Her thesis, ‘The History of British Prison Hulks, 1776-1864’ focuses on both war and peacetime uses of prison ships, or ‘hulks’. The project examines them from the ground up, asking how prison hulks were experienced, why government was slow to respond to criticism, and what led to their eventual disbandment.

During her PhD Anna has also undertaken a Research Councils UK Policy Internship with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at their Whitehall office, where she produced an evaluation document for the UK City of Culture Competition organisers.

As part of the programme, Anna and her fellow participants will spend four days at the Edinburgh International Television Festival from 20-24 August.

In addition to receiving 12 months of mentoring and development, during the festival she will be paired with an industry guide, and attend bespoke sessions to enhance the festival experience and provide support with networking opportunities.

The ETF draws over 2,000 delegates from across the TV world including the big national and international broadcasters, production companies and digital providers.

There will also be opportunities to attend seminar, workshops and talks across the festival. Past speakers have included Sir David Attenborough, Jon Snow, Nicola Sturgeon, Vince Gilligan and Eric Schmidt.

Anna said: “I’m delighted to be taking part in this scheme. PhD researchers have an enormous range of transferable skills, and this a fantastic opportunity to see how they can be used in the film and television industry. I’m looking forward to making new contacts, attending the fascinating line-up of talks and building upon my previous industry experience.”

Dr Paul Meller, Strategic Lead for the Creative Arts and Digital Humanities at the AHRC said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for these six AHRC-funded students who will participate in one of the biggest and most prestigious media events in the UK.”

Campbell Glennie, Director, Education and Talent Development at ETF, said: “’TV PhD’ will put the latest research from a diverse range of academics in close proximity to the beating heart of the TV industry.

“From helping those coming to the end of their research launch a career in television, to those looking for industry to contribute to their ongoing work, this initiative will be of enormous value to all involved. We are tremendously excited to be working with the AHRC on this project and look forward to welcoming them to Edinburgh this August.”


Notes to editors:

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. It invests in research at universities across the UK as well as in the country’s world-leading museums, galleries and libraries.  For more information, please visit Follow the AHRC on Twitter at @ahrcpress or Facebook at


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