Screen Agencies in Small Nations

3 April 2019 at 4pm to 5pm

Location: ATRiuM, CA A413

Audience: Public

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Screen Agencies in Small Nations: Shaping and Delivering Cultural Policy

Dr Roderik Smits and Dr Caitriona Noonan (Cardiff University)

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Screen agencies have emerged as one of the most prominent pillars of publicly funded intervention and as a route to making indigenous film and television industries sustainable, diverse and competitive. Despite their significant role in the creation and circulation of screen content, they have been largely overlooked in scholarship about screen industries. We redress this absence in our AHRC-funded project Screen Agencies as Cultural Intermediaries, anchoring our analysis in the small nations research framework and developing a comparative study of screen agencies in several small nations including: Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and Croatia.

At a time of disruption to traditional business models (Johnson, 2019; Lobato, 2019), we analyse how screen agencies in these different countries are organised and work to new priorities, opportunities and challenges in the sector. For instance, our research demonstrates that an emerging strategy for a number of screen agencies is a shift away from project-based modes of support to increasingly allocating funding to support cultural entrepreneurship among established and start-up companies. This is particularly through engagement with intellectual property assets beyond films or television series. This strategy further legitimises their value as public support agencies but brings with it associated risks for their cultural mission.

Our analysis provides insight to the meso-level interventions by cultural intermediaries and tastemakers in an era of disruption. Through its comparative work, we argue that entrepreneurship, sustainability and diversity have particular properties in the cultural policy landscape that screen agencies inhabit in small nations.