Neil Blain joined the University as professor and head of the former department of Film & Media early in 2007, having held various posts at Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of the West of Scotland (where he was a professor and associate dean until 2006). He was head of Communications, Media & Culture at Stirling until 2011. Other roles have included directorship of the Stirling Media Research Institute, and director of learning and teaching for the School of Arts & Humanities, of which he was deputy head when he retired at the end of 2014. He has been professor emeritus of communications at Stirling since the beginning of 2015.
He is a frequent public platform speaker on a range of media and cultural issues, and has made numerous radio, television and press contributions since the 1980s, more recently including media commentary on several continents on royal and monarchic matters, and on the Scottish independence question; and (in the UK media) on broadcasting policy. He has given evidence to various media inquiries and commissions, including appearing as a witness in press industry inquiries at Westminster and Holyrood during 2009 and 2010; and in commissions/inquiries on the broadcasting industry (eg 2008, 2016). He was a member of the Scottish Digital Network Panel in 2010/11, which reported to the Scottish Government on digital network funding. He has acted in an advisory capacity for a number of funded research projects and has undertaken very extensive refereeing and rapporteur work for several research councils, as well as refereeing for many journals.
Professional positions have included membership of AHRC’s Peer Review College (2007-15), and periodic AHRC panel membership; Carnegie Research Assessor (2014 -); editor (with Prof Katharine Sarikakis, University of Vienna) of The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics (2005-2014); membership of the Scottish Industry Skills Panel from 2002-2008, and of its successor, Creative Skillset’s Scotland National Board, from 2008-2013. He was a member of the 2008 RAE subject panel in Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, and has been active in subject associations in various roles.
Prof Blain has had a long involvement in quality assurance and curricular matters in higher education, which has included work for Open University Validation Services, the Hong Kong Council for the Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (as a former member of HKCAAVQ’s Specialists Register), Creative Skillset, and QAA Scotland. He has undertaken numerous validation, review and examining commitments in UK universities and overseas and is a past member of the Scottish Higher Education Enhancement Committee.
Prof Blain’s publications have covered a wide range of topics, often addressing questions of the media and collective identity, in both Europe and Scotland, including writing on European monarchy, on sport and the media, and on cultural theory and semiotics. He worked extensively as a broadcast research consultant during the 1990s, supervising and co-designing large scale audience research, and producing policy-related reports. He published extensively on issues of identity, representation and ideology, also on Scottish media topics, during the 1990s. Later publications include Media, Monarchy and Power (with Hugh O’Donnell, 2003); Sport, Media, Culture: Local and Global Dimensions (co-edited with Alina Bernstein, 2003); and a volume of essays on Scottish media themes, The Media in Scotland (co-edited with David Hutchison, Edinburgh University Press, 2008).
Projects have included The Scottish Cultural Memory Project (2012-14), funded by Creative Scotland, with screen producer Peter Broughan; and a project (with Julia Jahansoozi and Matthew Hibberd) on media and journalism education in India, funded by UKIERI. A collection of essays focusing on media accounts, from a number of nations, of the Scottish independence referendum and its consequences through until the May 2015 General Election, Scotland's Referendum and the Media: National and International Perspectives (edited by Neil Blain and David Hutchison, with Gerry Hassan: Edinburgh University Press) was published early in 2016.
Blain N (2018) The Sunday Post: how Scotland’s sleepiest newspaper silenced the detractors. The Conversation. 02.05.2018. https://theconversation.com/the-sunday-post-how-scotlands-sleepiest-newspaper-silenced-the-detractors-95890
Blain N (2017) Scottish media is in dire straits – it’s why alternatives like Bella Caledonia are vital. The Conversation. 16.01.2017. https://theconversation.com/scottish-media-is-in-dire-straits-its-why-alternatives-like-bella-caledonia-are-vital-71292
Blain N & Hutchison D (2016) The Media Landscape in Scotland. In: Blain N, Hutchison D & Hassan G (eds.) Scotland's Referendum and the Media: National and International Perspectives. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ Press, pp. 16-25. https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-scotland-039-s-referendum-and-the-media.html
Kehoe K, Blain N & Salmon T (2014) Scotland Decides ’14: if No wins, what happens next?. The Conversation. 11.09.2014. https://theconversation.com/scotland-decides-14-if-no-wins-what-happens-next-31542
Kehoe K & Blain N (2014) Scotland Decides ’14: could the Commonwealth Games swing it for either side?. The Conversation. 24.07.2014. https://theconversation.com/scotland-decides-14-could-the-commonwealth-games-swing-it-for-either-side-29632
Whatley C, Curtice J & Blain N (2014) Scotland Decides ’14: does anyone really care what celebrities think?. The Conversation. 26.06.2014. https://theconversation.com/scotland-decides-14-does-anyone-really-care-what-celebrities-think-28480
Blain N & Gunn K (2014) Scotland Decides ’14: what does independence debate mean for the BBC?. The Conversation. 24.04.2014. https://theconversation.com/scotland-decides-14-what-does-independence-debate-mean-for-the-bbc-25894
Midwinter A, Curtice J, Kehoe K & Blain N (2014) Scotland Decides ’14: has Better Together blown up?. The Conversation. 10.04.2014. https://theconversation.com/scotland-decides-14-has-better-together-blown-up-25514
Blain N (2012) Ideological production, print media and the Internet: the case of the British monarchy in 2012. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 8 (2-3), pp. 287-303. https://doi.org/10.1386/macp.8.2-3.287_1
Jenkins B, Blain N, McGhee C, Mackenzie J & Wightman D (2011) Scottish Digital Network Panel: Final Report. Scottish Government. Scottish Digital Network Panel. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/01/19140602/0
Blain N & Boyle R (2010) Sport. In: Albertazzi D & Cobley P (eds.) The Media: An Introduction, Third Edition. Third ed. Harlow: Longman (Pearson), pp. 519-533. http://catalogue.pearsoned.co.uk/educator/product/The-Media-An-Introduction/1405840366.page
Blain N (2009) The Scottish Dimension in Film and Television. In: Veitch K (ed.) Scottish Life and Society: Transport and Communications. A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Volume 8, 8. Edinburgh: Birlinn (Imprint: John Donald) in association with The European Ethnological Research Centre, pp. 768-792. http://www.birlinn.co.uk/book/details/Scottish-Life-and-Society--Transport-and-Communication-9781904607885/
Blain N & Burnett K (2008) A Cause Still Unwon: the Struggle to Represent Scotland. In: Blain N & Hutchison D (eds.) The Media in Scotland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 3-19. http://www.euppublishing.com/book/9780748628001