Shaping screen talent: conceptualising and developing the film and TV workforce in Scotland



Kelly LW & Champion K (2015) Shaping screen talent: conceptualising and developing the film and TV workforce in Scotland. Cultural Trends, 24 (2), pp. 165-175.

Together with “creativity”, the concept of “talent” has emerged within UK and global policy discussions as being central to unlocking economic success within the creative industries. At a crucial time of political and technological change, Scotland finds itself competing within a highly competitive global market to identify, attract and retain creative talent and strengthen its skills base. As such, developing “talent” is a key aspect of the Scottish Government’s Strategy for the Creative Industries. However, while creativity has been interrogated across academic disciplines in recent years, talent remains under-theorised within the academy and lacks a clear definition across policy and industry. Taking the screen industries as its focus, this paper draws on empirical data derived from a series of knowledge exchange workshops funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh designed to initiate dialogue between academics, policy-makers and stakeholders within Scotland and beyond. In doing so, it scopes out some of the key ways in which screen “talent” is conceptualised by these groups and raises questions regarding how particular understandings may impact on policies designed to identify, attract and retain a diverse range of skilled workers within the sector. We argue that greater precision should be used in policy discourse to emphasise the importance of developing particular and discrete craft skills rather than privileging a workforce that is highly flexible and mobile. We also suggest that policy-makers and educators must acknowledge and encourage transparency regarding the precariousness of building a career within the screen industries.

cultural policy; creative talent; screen industries; knowledge exchange; film and television; Creative Scotland

Cultural Trends: Volume 24, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2015
Publication date online07/04/2015
PublisherTaylor and Francis

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Dr Katherine Champion

Dr Katherine Champion

Senior Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture