Professor Beth Johnson

Professor Beth Johnson


I am PI of the AHRC-funded research project What’s on? Rethinking class in the television industry. Working in partnership with the BBC and Channel 4, What’s on? analyses the production, consumption, and reception of two case study dramas. In doing so, it connects questions of who produces, what is made, and how class is represented and understood. The projects uses four complimentary methodologies: a newtork ethnography for each programme; fieldwork interviews; textual analysis of the programmes; and analysis of audience data.

The reseach project runs from October 2023 to April 2026. The team includes Co-I’s Prof. Dave O’Brien (University of Manchester), and Dr Laura Minor (University of Salford), and Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Dr Anna Viola Sborgi (University of Leeds). More information about the research project can be accessed here.

I am the EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Lead for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, actively working to create resources, policies and conversations that support our equality and inclusion agenda. 

I am currently working on a monograph entitled Class and Poverty on Popular Television: A Case for Change (E.U.P.) due for publication in 2025, and a co-authored book with Professor Kristyn Gorton on television screenwriter, Sally Wainwright (Manchester University Press, 2024).

I am Vice-Chair of Royal Television Society (Yorkshire, 2022–), a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, and Principal Co-Editor for the Journal of British Cinema and Television. I work as an academic consultant for the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity (2022-), and am an expert contributor on diversity and television for the DCMS. I previously led EDI work for the Screen Industries Growth Network across 2020-2021.


  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Lead for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

Research interests

My main research interests concern televisual and filmic representations of social class, gender, poverty, race and place on and off screen. I am also engaged in research on activism, performance, emotion and politics.

In my remit as EDI lead on SIGN, I collaborated with Candour Productions and industry professionals to create a film series called Industry Voices (2021), shortlisted for the BAFTSS Innovation Award.

Across 2018–19, I led and convened the Sadler Seminar Series The Performance of Political Feeling, funded by the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute.  

A selection of recent press articles/interviews include:

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • MA (Distinction)
  • BA (Hons)

Professional memberships

  • SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies)
  • MeCCSA (Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association)
  • BAFTSS (British Association for Film, Television and Screen Studies)
  • PSA (Political Studies Association)
  • RTS (Royal Television Society)
  • Chair of MeCCSA Women's Studies Network
  • ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association)

Student education

I currently supervise four PhD students, researching projects including: American female-led drama, Chinese popular television drama and policy; the music industry and feminist intervention; and class and non-scripted UK television production.

Research groups and institutes

  • Gender
  • Visual Media and Communication

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>