Personal profile


Neil Percival worked in the TV industry for fifteen years, starting as a production trainee for a small independent company in Newcastle, and progressing to work as a freelance broadcast documentary producer/director for some of the UK's biggest factual TV producers. He ran an online community for freelancers in the UK TV industry which campaigned against exploitative working conditions, and created a successful networking group for media professionals in the North East.

Since joining academia in January 2007 he has taught professional practice modules on the BA (Hons) Film and TV Production programme, and as a Principal Lecturer has held roles in support of student experience, learning and teaching, and enterprise. His current role as Director of Employability for the Dept. of Arts draws on his research activity and publication in relation to entry level experiences of creative workers, attitudes to unpaid work, collective mobilisation, and career sustainability.

Research interests

Neil's research interests encompass working conditions and sustainable careers within the media industries, and development of employability within an educational context for those aspiring to creative careers. Based on former experience of running a major UK online community for TV freelancers, his work has explored various stages and experiences of media careers. A two-year longitudinal study (as a PhD thesis) tracked experiences of around 100 entry-level film and TV workers during the challenging early stages of launching their careers. He has carried out extensive research into attitudes to entry-level unpaid work in the UK media industry, with a survey of over 1,000 professionals in the sector exploring differences between the TV and film production communities.

Looking at career sustainability, he has also explored career exit from the media industry, interviewing professionals who have left the sector, and exploring the reasons why, especially in terms of gender differences and challenges of parenting. His research has also explored examples of collective action and resistance to exploitative working conditions, looking in particular at the 2005 TV Wrap campaign against unpaid work, and exploring ways in which resistance is mobilised and organised in the creative sector today.

For forthcoming publication, in terms of employability, he is currently exploring the experiences of entry level UK film and TV workers in relation to their educational background, and examining the aspects of their education which helped them to navigate the early years of their career, or which they felt could have better prepared them for entry to the sector. He has also carried out educational research in relation to student group work, and use of video streaming to support formative assessment.

Education/Academic qualification

Academic Studies in Education, MA, Academic Practice, Northumbria University

1 Sept 20111 Jul 2014

Award Date: 19 Nov 2014

Teaching & Learning, PCAPL

11 Oct 200731 Dec 2099

Award Date: 11 Oct 2007

English Literature, BA (Hons)

1 Sept 198831 Dec 2099

Award Date: 1 Sept 1988


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