Experts at Edge Hill University have launched a new TV studies research group to take a closer look at the cultural impact television has on today’s society.

The TV Studies Research Group will unpick the secrets behind the TV programmes we all know and love, expand research into the often-overlooked topic of how television has shaped modern society as both a technology and an art form, and examine the technical expertise used to create it.

A picture of Elke Weissman

Reader in Film and Television Elke Weissman said: “So many of us get engrossed in TV and it has a huge impact on all our lives. Whether it’s programmes from history, Coronation Street alone has been in our lives for over 60 years, or modern streaming services like Netflix that saw Bridgerton get over 82 million streams last year.

“There can be no doubt that television is central to our everyday lives, and that’s why we want to study it and work out exactly what impact the TV we watch is having on culture and society.”

While much academic analysis and research focuses on films and big budget television series, Edge Hill’s research group aims to look at the shows that most of us watch, whether that’s our favourite soaps, gripping British drama or hit documentaries.

A picture of Dr Hannah Andrews

Senior Lecturer in Media, Film and TV Hannah Andrews said: “One of our aims is to highlight ‘unfashionable’ TV. While much attention is given to big budget and very artistic shows like The Sopranos, Game of Thrones or The Crown, it’s the smaller TV shows that take up most of our viewing time and have the biggest impact on our lives. And yet it’s the small shows that are rarely looked at by academics. At Edge Hill we want to change that by looking at TV in the round to see how all programmes, large and small, get created and the intuitions and technology involved.

“Our media department has academics with a huge variety of expertise and different research strengths that focus on different genres and methods of production. Now we want to bring them all together to put TV on the academic map.”

The group recently hosted their first event, celebrating 100 years of women at the BBC. The workshop saw television experts from all over the country coming together to discuss the influence of females who worked at all levels of the newly-created BBC. Conversations like this will be carried on in a series of research article for the journal Critical Studies in Television, which will be released in 2022 to coincide with the centenary of the founding of the BBC.

Also coming soon is the TV Studies conference being hosted by the Research Group from 19th July to 6th August. It will bring together industry experts and academics from all over the world to discuss how TV is made internationally, and how different cultural identities affect the programmes people watch. To sign up for the conference and for more information visit the page on the Edge Hill website.  

Alongside the new research group, Edge Hill is launching a new degree, BA (Hons) Television, that will create the next generation of TV programme makers. Over three years the degree will equip students with the technical skills and artistic knowledge needed to break into the TV industry. In addition to the University’s incredible teaching staff, students will gain access to industry experts who will divulge the secrets of making incredible TV.

If you would like to study at Edge Hill there are a number of film and television courses available, for the full list visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/film-media-and-television.