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Cathy Johnson

Associate Professor in Culture, Film and Media, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I joined the Department of Culture, Film and Media in September 2010 having previously worked for 8 years at the Department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London. My interest in film and television stems from my first degree in Drama at Royal Holloway, where I became fascinated by the debates about the forms and values of popular culture. This lead to me taking an MA in Media Studies at the University of Sussex, where I was introduced to cultural and contextual approaches to the study of all forms of media. I persued by interest in popular culture in my PhD at the University of Warwick, which examined a then much maligned form of television - telefantasy - and situated the aesthetic debates around programmes such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer in terms of the historical contexts within which they were produced. This has lead to a long-standing interest in the television and media industries, which I am currently persuing through research examining the burgeoning sector that produces media promotion and design. I retain my interest in history through membership of the Southern Broadcasting History Group, which I co-founded in 2001, and of the European Television History Network.

Expertise Summary

My research is characterized by an interest in the production cultures of the media industries (primarily television) and how they affect the cultural artifacts produced. My current research examines the broader creative industry sectors that produce promotional material for the screen industries, such as idents, logos and trailers. This is based on an AHRC-funded project with Paul Grainge entitled 'TV and Digital Promotion', which involved collaboration and knowledge exchange with Red Bee Media and the British Film Institute alongside wider industry engagement. More information about that project can be found here: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cfm/research/tvanddigitalpromotion.aspx This research is currently being developed into a book (co-authored with Paul Grainge) entitled Promotional Screen Industries that will be published by Routledge in 2015.

My most recent book Branding Television (Routledge 2012) examines why and how the UK and US television industries have turned towards branding as a strategy since the 1980s in response to the rise of satellite, cable, digital television, and new media, such as the internet and mobile phone. This includes exploring the role of design in branding channels and the increasing emphasis on developing programmes as brands that can be extended across multiple media platforms.

Click http://www.wordsoftheworld.co.uk/videos/interstitial.html to see me talking about some of this research.

My work also examines the historical development of television, for example in a co-edited book on Transnational Television History (with Andreas Fickers, Routledge 2012). This has also included co-editing (with Rob Turnock) ITV Cultures the first book on the history of ITV (the commercial broadcaster in the UK), writing about the development and production cultures of visually innovative drama (in my first book Telefantasy), and exploring why cult television has become valued by the US television industry.

I have worked with media archivists on two EU-funded projects that made audio-visual material available from across Europe online (Video Active and EUscreen), and acted as consultation with the British Film Institute's National Archive and the British Universities Film and Video Council around television archiving.

PhD supervision: I have supervised PhD students on a range of topics, including audience responses to transmedia drama (Elizabeth Evans), the history of theatrical adaptations on British television (Billy Smart), the historical reception of televised political comedy in the UK (Matt Crowder), the history of acting on television (Richard Hewett), Transnational television, media buying and channel brand identities (Sam Ward) and web drama (Aisling Harkin). I am interested in supervising doctoral research on contemporary and historical television, particularly projects that are interested in the production and/or institutional contexts of television and their impact on programme production, the relationships between television and other media, digital television, and promotional screen cultures and branding. I have been awarded a Collaborative Doctoral Award by the AHRC for a doctoral student (Elinor Groom) to work with the BFI's Southern Television paper collection to examine the history of this ITV regional franchise.

Teaching Summary

I believe that students learn best through being active learners. In my teaching I use a range of methods to encourage active and applied learning, from giving students specific seminar preparation… read more

Research Summary

My new book Branding Television (Routledge, 2012) examines why and how the UK and US television industries turned towards branding as a strategy over the 1990s in response to the rise of satellite,… read more

Selected Publications

  • JOHNSON, C., 2013. The authorial function of the television channel: augmentation and identity. In: GRAY, J. and JOHNSON, D., eds., A companion to media authorship Wiley-Blackwell. 275-295
  • CATHERINE JOHNSON, 2013. Doctor Who as programme brand. In: MATT HILLS, DAVID MELLOR and BENJAMIN EARL, eds., New Dimensions of Doctor Who I.B.Tauris. 256 (In Press.)

I believe that students learn best through being active learners. In my teaching I use a range of methods to encourage active and applied learning, from giving students specific seminar preparation tasks each week, to devising modes of assessment that encourage independent learning, to encouraging critical participation in lectures. Such techniques offer students structured opportunities to take control of their own learning in ways that are always tied to the goals and assessments of the module.

I have many years of experience in teaching film, television and media studies. In the Department of Culture, Film and Media I have taught the following modules:

Film and Television in Social and Cultural Context

Film and TV Genres 2

Understanding the Cultural Industries

TV Cultures

Dissertations

Marketing and Promotion (MA module)

Current Research

My new book Branding Television (Routledge, 2012) examines why and how the UK and US television industries turned towards branding as a strategy over the 1990s in response to the rise of satellite, cable, digital television, and new media, such as the internet and mobile phone. This includes analysing the regulatory, technical and political shifts that have affected the television industries over the past 30 years, exploring the role of marketing and design in branding channels and corporation, and examining the increasing emphasis on developing programmes as brands that can be extended across multiple media platforms.

I am currently working with Paul Grainge on a new book, Promotional Screen Industries, that will develop this research in order to examine the industry that produces the design and promotion that has become increasingly important to the media industries. This is based on an AHRC-funded project with Paul Grainge entitled 'TV and Digital Promotion', which involved collaboration and knowledge exchange with Red Bee Media and the British Film Institute alongside wider industry engagement. More information about that project can be found here: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cfm/research/tvanddigitalpromotion.aspx

Past Research

I have written on the history of ITV, the development of cult television in the UK and US, the role of IP and the sale of rights to British radio and television programmes in the 1940s and 1950s, the place of aesthetics and judgements of value in histories of British television, and the production history of British and US science fiction and fantasy programmes, with particular focus on the industrial contexts within which innovation takes place.

Future Research

I have a history of working with archive partners, which has included working on large digitisation projects and consulting on archive policy. I would be keen to hear from any archives with television collections that may be interested in collaborating with academic partners.

I am developing my work on branding and television to examine the historical development and contemporary nature of media promotion, including researching the role of designers and marketers within the media and have a track record of collaborating with industry professionals in this sector.

  • JOHNSON, C., 2013. The authorial function of the television channel: augmentation and identity. In: GRAY, J. and JOHNSON, D., eds., A companion to media authorship Wiley-Blackwell. 275-295
  • CATHERINE JOHNSON, 2013. Doctor Who as programme brand. In: MATT HILLS, DAVID MELLOR and BENJAMIN EARL, eds., New Dimensions of Doctor Who I.B.Tauris. 256 (In Press.)
  • CATHERINE JOHNSON, 2013. The Continuity of "Continuity": Flow and the Changing Experience of Watching Broadcast Television Keywords: A journal of cultural materialism. (In Press.)
  • 2013. Cult Television e Industria Televisiva. In: Cult TV Rigel Edizioni. 51-65
  • JOHNSON, C., 2012. Branding Television Routledge.
  • CATHERINE JOHNSON and ANDREAS FICKERS, eds., 2012. Transnational Television History Routledge.
  • JOHNSON, C., 2010. Cult TV and the Television Industry. In: ABBOTT, S., ed., The Cult TV Book I.B.Tauris. 135-154
  • JOHNSON, C. and FICKERS, A., 2010. Transnational Television History: a comparative approach Media History. 16(1), 1-11
  • BOURDON, J., IBÁÑEZ, J.C., JOHNSON, C. and MULLER, E., 2008. Searching for an Identity for Television: Programmes, genres, formats. In: BIGNELL, J. and FICKERS, A., eds., A European Television History Wiley-Blackwell. 101-126
  • JOHNSON, CATHERINE, 2007. Negotiating Value and Quality in Television Historiography. In: WHEATLEY, HELEN, ed., Re-viewing Television History: Critical Issues in Television Historiography I.B.Tauris.
  • JOHNSON, CATHERINE, 2007. Tele-branding in TVIII: the Network as Brand and the Programme as Brand New Review of Film and Television. 5(1), 5-24
  • JOHNSON, CATHERINE, 2005. Quality/Cult Television: The X-Files and Television History. In: HAMMOND, M. and MAZDON, L., eds., Previously On: Approaches to the Contemporary Television Serial Edinburgh University Press. 57-71
  • JOHNSON, CATHERINE, 2005. Telefantasy British Film Institute.
  • JOHNSON, CATHERINE and TURNOCK, ROB, eds., 2005. ITV Cultures: Independent Television Over Fifty Years Open University Press.
  • JOHNSON, CATHERINE, 2002. Exploiting the Intimate Screen: The Quatermass Experiment, Fantasy and the Aesthetic Potential of Early Television Drama. In: THUMIM, J., ed., Small Screen, Big Ideas: Television in the 1950s I.B.Tauris. 181-194

Department of Culture, Film and Media

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD


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