Acting on Television – Analytical Methods and Approaches: An International One-Day Symposium organized as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations for Critical Studies in Television

Symposium- Friday 8 April 2016, University of Reading

Call for Papers

Scholarship on television and acting is a burgeoning field, both in the Anglophone world and internationally. This is important, not only because acting is central to the appeal of TV drama in all its forms, but also because the methodological strengths of television studies as a discipline can help meaningful engagement with acting. Television studies’ diverse and inter-disciplinary approaches have, for example, moved the field beyond the long-standing focus on stars, and towards considering the labour and creative agency of ‘regular’ working actors.

This symposium aims to take stock of past and present achievements, and to look ahead to the remaining challenges for critical reflection on television and acting. We welcome proposals for papers, panels and flash panels on all aspects of television and acting, including:

  • Acting as creative agency and aesthetic achievement
  • Acting as labour and industrial product
  • Acting and the vexed issue of precise critical vocabulary
  • Acting and the contexts of training, rehearsal and process
  • Acting and risk and/or failure
  • Acting and cultures of production and/or reception
  • Acting and the significance of (developments in) technology and/or genre
  • Acting and history/historiography
  • Acting and professional working relationships and collaborative networks
  • Acting and scholarly methodology and/or disciplinary traditions
  • Acting and the politics of representation, on- and off-screen
  • Acting and the social and cultural background of actors
  • Acting across the boundaries of nation and/or medium

Individual case studies are welcome, especially those that seek to engage with wider questions and issues.  We particularly welcome contributions that compare UK television acting with that of other TV cultures, and/or engage with non-Anglophone traditions of drama and acting.

Confirmed Keynote Speaker

Professor Jonathan Bignell, University of Reading

Proposal Submissions

Please submit a title and max. 300-word abstract along with institutional affiliation and max. 150-word bio, or a panel proposal (minimum 3 speakers, 300 word panel rationale plus 300 words per paper abstract) to:  by the 30th October 2015.

Selected papers will be considered for publication at a special issue of Critical Studies in Television.


Symposium Team


Dr Simone Knox, University of Reading

Professor Stephen Lacey, University of South Wales



Dr Tonia Kazakopoulou, University of Reading


Follow us on twitter: @ActingonTV


Inbetweeners, Block Attackers and Wonderful Worlds: FTT’s Widening Participation Summer School a Resounding Success

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Film, Theatre & Television recently ran its first two-day Summer School designed for the study of film, theatre and television, led by Dr Simone Knox. With extensive support from the University’s Student Recruitment and Outreach team, FTT welcomed a group of 16-17 year old students, from schools and colleges from both the local area and across the wider UK, to explore the representation of identity both theoretically and practically. The two days kicked off with a seminar discussion that looked at the kinds of representations offered by films like Attack the Block, TV series like The Inbetweeners, and plays like The Wonderful World of Dissocia. Paying close attention to the use of stylistic choices in these cultural media, the students then set about undertaking their own creative practice.


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Aided by current FTT undergraduate helpers, technician support and tutor expertise, the students realised short multi-media projects for which they shot films that they then projected as part of a devised theatre performance, using the specialist facilities of the Minghella Building. With their considerable energy and cheerful eagerness to ‘get stuck in’, the students achieved intriguing projects that showed a talent for communicating conceptual ideas via stylistic means, as can be gleaned from the photographs. The students also enjoyed the opportunity to have a Q&A session with FTT alumni Emily Pickthall, now an assistant producer at Hat Trick Productions, who spoke about how her degree in FTT has benefited her career and gave tips for how to get started in the creative industries. Overall, the Summer School was a resounding success, with enthusiastic feedback from the students, several of whom are now thinking seriously about coming to Reading for their degree; and FTT happily anticipates a repeat performance for summer 2016.

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Dr Simone Knox interviewed for BBC Radio Berkshire about diversity and the creative industries

Dr Simone Knox was interviewed by Bridgitte Tetteh for BBC Radio Berkshire about diversity and the creative industries. The interview drew on her research on the lived experience of screen culture and especially the work of actors, on which she has previously blogged for Flow. Simone spoke about the challenges faced by anyone, but especially those of a minority identity and/or non-privileged background, wishing to pursue a career in film, television and/or theatre. She further offered some reflections on the current high-profile debates about on- and off-screen diversity, led by Lenny Henry, Equity and the Act for Change project. The interview was broadcast on 5 July 2015, and is available until shortly after the end of July here.