Institute for Screen Industries Research

Industrial Approaches to Media

Industrial Approaches to Media (IAM) is a research methods training initiative aimed at postgraduate and early career researchers interested in engaging directly with media industry professionals and companies to produce original and collaborative research.

I think that this is a moment where we can actually try to put our money where our mouth is and actually study ways to interact with the industry more effectively.

Professor Michele Hilmes

Some of the IAM team explain the aims of the project and how you can get involved



Project Overview

The project, funded by the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies and the Graduate School Researcher-Led Initiative, gathers practical information on the methodological issues and techniques involved in media industry research, acting as a starting point for understanding the challenges and implications of academia-industry collaborations.

While media industry research has emerged as a priority at several major institutions, emerging scholars often lack the professional training and resources necessary to approach and engage with media companies, studios and organisations. Initial connections are difficult to make and the lack of fully developed methodologies for conducting industry-focused media research often impedes the formation of lasting collaborations that would benefit both academia and the media industries.

IAM therefore establishes a unique and widely distributable research methods training initiative. The project will be disseminated in two forms.

1. Research training event Thursday 5 June 2014, University of Nottingham

Take a look at the videos of the workshops at IAM's inaugural event, held at the Centre for Advance Study.

This event brought together junior researchers with media industry professionals and established academics with first-hand experience of industry research.

The training event comprised methods workshops, covering practical and theoretical topics such as: Interviewing Media Professionals, Knowledge Exchange between Media and Academia, and The Ethics of Media Industry Research. Focusing on how research practice can be enhanced by collaboration with industry, the training event explored such questions as: 

  • How do we do media industry research practically, methodologically, and institutionally?
  • In the context of a multi-platform and transmedia landscape, how do we define the object of study in media industry research? What counts as an ‘industrial media text’?
  • What are the challenges in writing up media industry research?
  • What is the value of media industry research for both academia and industry?
  • What can we learn from our experiences of engaging with industry professionals as junior researchers?

2. Online resource

This online resource intends to act as a gateway to information, methodology, and contacts for pursuing industry-engaged media research. Featuring interviews with established academics and industry professionals about their perspectives on the values and potentials of industry-academia partnerships, blog posts by academics and University of Nottingham postgraduates on their own industry-research collaborations, and video recordings of workshops from the training event, this space forms a sustainable resource about the methodological techniques involved in media industry research.



Open Educational Resources


An Interview with Professor Paul McDonald

Nottingham's Professor of Cinema and Media Industries and the founder of the SCMS Media Industries Scholarly Interest Group introduces the sub-field and considers its future development.

Potentially, by holding industry at such a distance, researchers fail to fully comprehend the complexities of the working lives of media professionals.


An Interview with Professor Michele Hilmes

The broadcasting historian and Fullbright Visiting Professor talks about her perspective on media industry studies, how it relates to archival research, and the future prospects for collaboration between academics and media professionals. 

One thing that strikes me these days is that media professionals have often been media studies students, and some of them at quite a high level.


Understanding Media Industries from all possible perspectives

Derek Johnson, author of Media Franchising, interrogates ideas of knowledge transfer between media and academia, and considers best practice in media industry research.

"The need for multiperspectival work": A conversation
with Henry Jenkins

The author of Textual Poachers and Convergence Culture talks about the practical, ethical, and professional implications of academia-industry collaboration and gives key points of advice for postgraduates looking to engage with industry partners.

Media Industry Studies: Challenges, Pitfalls, Obstacles

Amanda Lotz, author of Understanding Media Industries and The Television Will Be Revolutionized, highlights some of the challenges facing media industry researchers.  

The Value of Historicising Media Industry Practices

By Matthew Freeman, a PhD Candidate in Culture, Film and Media at the University of Nottingham and Visiting Lecturer in Media and Communication at Birmingham City University.

Interviewing Media Professionals: Why? Where? and Whither?

By Sam Ward, a PhD candidate in Culture, Film and Media at the University of Nottingham.

Archiving the Media Industries

By Elinor Groom, a PhD Candidate in Culture, Film and Media at the University of Nottingham. More about her research into Central Television can be found at

Project Team

  • Matthew Freeman, PhD Candidate, Department of Culture, Film and Media
  • Sam Ward, PhD Candidate, Department of Culture, Film and Media
  • Leora Hadas, PhD Candidate, Department of Culture, Film and Media
  • Ash Harkin, PhD Candidate, Department of Culture, Film and Media

IAM Workshop videos

Social Media

Follow us on Facebook




Institute for Screen Industries Research

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD