Partners: Royal Television Society West; Creative England; Creative Skillset; Bristol Media

Base: UWE Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC)

Mentors: Professor Andrew Spicer; Dr Steve Prescence


Freelance labour is central to production in the creative industries yet studies have identified the often precarious nature of freelance labour and the difficulties of sustaining ‘portfolio’ careers. The significance of the creative industries to the UK economy makes it imperative to understand further how freelance labour works and analyse the specific ways in which it contributes to productivity and innovation. This project will be the first to investigate the importance of freelancers to the ecology of a regional ‘cultural cluster’, specifically Bristol’s film and television industries and draw on Spicer and Presence’s data on freelancers ( The fellowship has two principal objectives: i) to map the interconnecting networks of freelance film and television workers in Bristol and analyse how they create value for these industries and the ways in which they contribute to Bristol’s creative ecology; ii) to provide a detailed portrait of the freelancers’ working lives, aspirations and the challenges they face through conducting and analyzing a range of interviews with freelancers from a variety of occupational groups within the film and television industries and analyzing the interview transcripts. This analysis would provide policy insights into sustaining a local economy cluster.

The fellow will liaise with the partners to discuss nature of this investigation and will have scope to bring in her/his own research interests and expertise. S/he will discuss approaches to creative ecology analysis in collaboration with staff and postdoctoral fellows in the Creative Economy Research Unit that is part of the DCRC and in particular another research fellow on the ‘Beyond the Metropolis’ project which scopes the clustering of the UK’s film and television industries outside London. At interview applicants will be expected to demonstrate imaginative and viable preliminary ideas for research into this topic and evidence that you have, or can develop, the skills required to start the proposed research.


Contact: Andrew Spicer –