Developing ‘talent’ is a key aspect of the Scottish Government’s Strategy for the Creative Industries (2011). 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. While the discussion of ‘talent’ appears ubiquitous in the policy context, this project takes as its focus the Screen Industries to examine current definitions and understandings and consider whether these reflect the reality and complexities of a changing industry. By identifying key gatekeepers and examples of best practice, we ask whether digital technology offers new pathways to capture and nurture a diverse talent pool and what kinds of policy intervention is required to achieve this. These questions were addressed through two themed workshops designed to initiate dialogue between academics, policymakers and stakeholders within Scotland’s Screen Industries and beyond.

This project, which was funded by the RSE, was carried out by Dr Lisa Kelly and Dr Katherine Champion, both of whom are based within the Centre for Cultural Policy Research (CCPR) at the University of Glasgow. CCPR’s mission is to produce world-class analytical, theoretical and empirical research that contributes to public debate on cultural, communications and media policies in Scotland, the UK, the EU, and globally.   More detail about the work of the Centre can be found here

Key themes:

Two themed workshops were held in 2014 addressing the following key areas:

  1. Conceptualising Talent: How is the term ‘creative talent’ currently defined and understood within the academy, public policy, the Screen Industries and popular discourse? Do particular understandings of ‘talent’ work to limit policy intervention or exclude certain groups both on and offscreen? How do these relate to the complexities of a global labour market and changing working styles?
  2. Best Practice: What are the different stages of talent development within the Screen Industries and are there examples of innovative approaches to supporting the film and TV workforce in Scotland and/or elsewhere?
  3. Talent Clustering: How important is ‘place’ and ‘mobility’ in relation to talent and how can Scotland compete with both London and overseas to attract and retain talent within the Screen Industries?
  4. New Pathways: Who are the gatekeepers of talent and what barriers to entry exist in the Screen Industries? Is digital technology being effectively utilised to identify and nurture talent and ensure a diversity of voices both onscreen and off?

About us:

Principal Investigator: Lisa Kelly is a Research Associate at the Centre for Cultural Policy Research (CCPR) at the University of Glasgow. She has published work on television sitcom, creative entrepreneurship and business entertainment formats such as The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den. She is currently part of an AHRC-funded project examining film policy and the history of the UK Film Council.


Co-Investigator: Katherine Champion is a research associate within CCPR at the University of Glasgow. She has published work on the spatial organisation of creative and digital media industries, managing creative work and creative cities. She is currently employed as a research associate on the ESRC-funded project ‘Multi-platform media and the digital challenge: Strategy, Distribution and Policy’.