School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

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Paul Grainge

Professor of Film and Television Studies, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

My research concentrates on contemporary film, television and digital media culture. I have written extensively on branding and promotion in contemporary media industries. My co-authored book with Catherine Johnson, Promotional Screen Industries (Routledge, 2015), draws together fieldwork with TV and digital promotion specialists, movie trailer houses, design companies, advertising agencies and SMEs that compete and collaborate in the fast-moving world of promotional screen work.

I am currently Academic Director of Digital Nottingham, a major strategic initiative, and vision of collaboration, to develop Nottingham's potential, skills and ambitions, and provide opportunities for growth and regeneration in a digital and data-driven world. Located on the University's new Castle Meadow Campus, Digital Nottingham will bring together academics, businesses, communities and organisations to catalyse civic, research and innovation endeavour around digital transformation.

Between 2016-2020 I was Director of the top-ranked AHRC Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C), responsible for the strategic and operational delivery of M4C and its predecessor Midlands3Cities. M4C brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the professional and personal development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers.

I was appointed to the AHRC Advisory Board in 2020 and have served on the editorial boards of Cinema Journal, Screen, and Memory Studies.

My recent publications include (see publication tab for full list)

Promotional Screen Industries: Amazon.co.uk: Grainge, Paul: Books

Books:

PhD supervision: I have supervised 16 PhD students to completion and am currently co-supervising doctoral candidates working on subjects ranging from transnational television drama to digital streaming in Chinese media culture. I would be happy to supervise PhD students who would like to work on the cultural/screen industries, promotion, marketing and branding, Hollywood entertainment, or on general topics relating to contemporary film and television that take a media industries approach.

TV and Cars

Teaching Summary

In recent years, I have taught modules including Understanding the Cultural Industries, Film History, The New Hollywood, and Researching Culture, Film and Media. In designing Understanding the… read more

Research Summary

My research over the last decade has explored the promotional screen industries in a period of digital transformation. This emerged from an AHRC 'Beyond Text' workshop on 'ephemeral media' (2009)… read more

Recent Publications

In recent years, I have taught modules including Understanding the Cultural Industries, Film History, The New Hollywood, and Researching Culture, Film and Media. In designing Understanding the Cultural Industries, I have been keen for students to reflect on the complex workings of the film and television industry: from the role of advertising and the rise of market research to issues surrounding copyright, media convergence and creative labour. This has culminated in students devising and pitching their own 'transmedia franchise,' a group project designed to provide hands-on experience of the dynamics and challenges of work in the media industries. This model of theoretical and applied learning, tapping the creativity of students, has been extremely rewarding and has produced some highly innovative film and TV ideas.

Current Research

My research over the last decade has explored the promotional screen industries in a period of digital transformation. This emerged from an AHRC 'Beyond Text' workshop on 'ephemeral media' (2009) that examined the role of promotional media such as logos, promos, idents, apps and trailers. The workshop led to a long-standing collaboration with the UK's leading broadcast design company Red Bee Media, and to an AHRC Follow-On Fund project (with Catherine Johnson) titled 'TV and Digital Promotion: Agile Strategies for a New Media Ecology.' This project explored how companies specializing in brand communication and promotional design are developing strategies to 'connect viewers to content' in a multiplatform world. Our work with Red Bee formed the basis of an REF2014 impact case study which became an AHRC impact case study (see future research for more details)

I have published a book with Cathy Johnson based on this research titled Promotional Screen Industries (Routledge, 2015). In beginning to think about why we might study logos, channel idents and emerging forms of branded entertainment, see the link below for a YouTube video:

'Why study television idents?'

Future Research

I have three ongoing research projects

1) Media Industry Metaphor: Metaphors abound in the lexicon of the media industries and in the language used by media industries research to organise thinking about forms, technologies and practices. This project takes metaphor as an explicit object of study in media industries research and considers the way that metaphoric language has both enabled and constrained ways of thinking about, and acting within, media industry contexts and cultures.

2) TV and Cars: I have recently written the first book in the new 'TV and ...' series for Edinburgh University Press, edited by Karen Lury and Amy Holdsworth. TV and Cars looks beyond questions of speed, spoilers and cylinders to explore the small screen intimacy of cars - the way people interact, sing and dwell in the habitat of automobiles. Considering the industrial, cultural and aesthetic relation between TV and cars, I examine how comedy entertainment such as sitcoms, talk shows, web series and vlogs have been drawn to the practice of 'passengering'.

3) Promotional Videography: Developing interests in the promotional screen industries, this strand of research investigates intermediaries and agencies specializing in video marketing. This has informed workshops and consultancy with local SMEs on 'spreadable marketing' as part of the University of Nottingham's award-winning 'Arts into Business' programme. These workshops have been a featured 'success story' for the National Centre for Universities and Business.

For recent blogs on promotional and videographic practice, see contributions in Antenna on BBCiPlayer and in Flow on University video paratexts

For reflections on media industry method, based on work with Red Bee Media, see the video Interviewing Media Professionals (part of an event hosted by the postgraduate-led 'Industrial Approaches to Media Network')

School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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