Perceptions of Broadcast and Film Media Practitioners in UK Higher Education

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With a growing emphasis on employability and commercial relevance, universities are increasingly involving practitioners in delivery to add perceived value and credibility to their film and television courses. Likewise, film education researchers including Bergala (2016) and others see significant value in practitioner involvement in teaching. Yet, from both the academic and industry sides this integration has been questioned and challenged resulting in a longstanding discussion of the ‘theory/practice divide.’ Through analysis of two formal surveys conducted in 2012 and 2014, involving 131 respondents from 64 UK Higher Education Institutions, this paper reports on the perceptions of broadcast television and film practitioners working in academia. It also briefly considers whether the issues raised have changed since the surveys were completed. Responses suggest that an appreciable number of respondents encountered a mixed or negative reaction from new academic colleagues immediately upon joining their institution, and that this has had a potentially lasting negative impact on their productivity. The data indicates that many media practitioners working in HE do not feel they are seen as equal to non-practitioner colleagues although they do still feel part of the academy as a whole. Respondent institutions were broken down by type and there is statistically significant evidence of perceptions of systematic disadvantaging of media practitioners across all types of UK academic institutions, although Arts-focused universities were seen most favourably. This suggests that, despite the UK government’s increased emphasis on teaching and employability, and new commercially-focused research funding initiatives, HE institutions need to do more to redress the perception of a ‘theory/practice divide’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFilm Education Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 Mateer.


  • academic life
  • theory/practice divide
  • conditions of practice
  • media practitioners in education
  • film education

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