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Tue, 06 Jun


Online Webinar, via Zoom

Reality TV: Working Practices and Duties of Care

WFTV members are invited to this special online discussion which will look into the working practices and duties of care within UK Reality TV, focusing on upcoming AHRC funded project; RE-Care TV.

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Reality TV: Working Practices and Duties of Care
Reality TV: Working Practices and Duties of Care

Time & Location

06 Jun 2023, 18:30 – 19:30 BST

Online Webinar, via Zoom

About the Event

WFTV members are invited to this special online discussion which will look into the working practices and duties of care within UK Reality TV, focusing on upcoming AHRC funded project; RE-Care TV.

Join academics Professor Helen Wood, Dr Jack Newsinger and Dr Jilly Kay as they discuss the intentions of their studies into the controversial, ever-growing industry of the UK’s Reality TV sector.

There will be an opportunity for WFTV members to participate in the study via an interview process.

Event Schedule:

18:25: Please join the webinar waiting room

18:30: In conversation with the team

19:15: Attendee Q&A opens

19:30: Finish

About the RE-Care TV project:

This project will develop a theorisation of care in the cultural industries, by holistically considering the interrelations between production, participation and policy in the UK's reality television (RTV) sector. RTV is a significant and highly controversial site of media production that has rapidly expanded over the last two decades with an increasing share of the UK's £1.48bn global TV export market. High profile concerns around mental health risks have led to changes to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code around improved welfare for participants, whilst broadcasters increasingly understand a need for the continued evolution of care practices across the sector. Most policy and industry initiatives have thus far focused on risk management around mental health concerns for individual participants, without any interrogation of the broader contexts of cultural labour and working practices.

This project will use a cultural industries approach (Hesmondhalgh 2019) to investigate how care is understood and experienced across reality television by asking four overarching research questions:

1. Production. How is care understood, mediated and practiced by different workers across reality television production?

2. Participation. How should the working experiences of participants inform our understanding of care in RTV?

3. Policy. How is care understood, inscribed and implemented in policy and industry decision-making?

4. Care. How can the analysis of care be incorporated into theorisations of cultural labour in the creative industries?

The project will work with the co-operation of all the UK Public Service Broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Paramount/Channel 5 and Channel 4) and three key project partners.

We will be partnering with BECTU, the media and entertainment workers’ union, in order to understand how care is implemented in production, which will inform the creation of a report and training materials. We will be partnering with Equity, the trade union for creative practitioners, to listen to participants’ voices, understand their needs, and to consider whether and how they can be formally recognised as cultural workers. This will lead to the production of a video for would-be participants which informs them of their rights and helps them to negotiate the complex terrain of RTV production. We will be partnering with the DCMS select committee to integrate findings from production, participation and policy, both to consider the current protections in place and to propose future policy recommendations. 

In order to generate a dialogue between our analysis of working practices and concerns around mental health, we will consult with the Chair of the British Psychological Society's Media Advisory Board (Prof John Oates) to understand how our findings can support developments around mental health protections, which will also inform our report to the DCMS select committee.

The empirical knowledge produced by this project has transformative potential for re-conceiving care in RTV production, whilst the new theoretical framework, derived from careful empirical analysis, will offer a far-reaching academic agenda for care in the creative industries more widely.

To participate as an interviewee

Details about how production workers can participate as interviewees will be made available in the future on the project website. In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to register your interest in participating, please contact or

Team Bios:

Professor Helen Wood is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Lancaster. She is author of numerous articles and books on gender, class and television. She was adviser to the 2019 Parliamentary Inquiry into reality television, and is Principal Investigator of ‘Re-CARE TV: Reality Television, Working Practices and Duties of Care’, a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Dr Jack Newsinger is Associate Professor in Cultural Industries and Media at the University of Nottingham. He is the co-author of Locked Down and Locked Out? – a report on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent government lockdowns on mothers working in UK unscripted television, an evidence review on workforce diversity in the UK Screen Sectors for the British Film Institute, and numerous academic publications on aspects of screen industries policy and practice. He is co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘Re-CARE TV’.

Dr Jilly Kay is Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. She is author of Gender, Media and Voice: Communicative Injustice and Public Speech (Palgrave 2020) and has published widely on gender, feminism, television, and media culture. She co-convenes the Media and Gender research group and is an editor of the European Journal of Cultural Studies. She is co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘Re-CARE TV’.

This event is for existing WFTV members only.

If you are not a member and would like to join, membership costs just £100 + VAT/yr , please click here or email

At WFTV, we want our events to be accessible for everyone. If you have any access requirements, please let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate you. Please contact and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


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