Dr David Lee

Dr David Lee


Before joining the School of Media and Communication in 2009, I had a diverse career in the media and cultural sectors. I started in current affairs and documentary production, working for the BBC and independent production companies on programmes such as Newsnight, Panorama and The Money Programme. This gave me valuable insights into the practices and challenges of audio-visual cultural production, which inform my teaching and research. I then moved into policy research and consultancy, working for think tanks such as Demos and BOP Consulting. There, I led several national and regional projects on cultural and creative industries policy for clients such as DCMS, CABE, regional development agencies, and most of the regional screen agencies.

My academic journey began at Goldsmiths, University of London, where I completed my AHRC funded PhD on cultural production in the independent television production industry in 2009. My doctoral research adopted a qualitative approach to understand the changing nature of work within this cultural industry, focusing on networking, precarity, craft and cultural value. These themes have continued to shape my research interests in the cultural industries, cultural policy, cultural economy and television studies. I have published widely in these areas in books and journals. Some key publications include my monograph Independent Television Production in the UK: From Cottage Industry to Big Business (Springer 2018), which provides a comprehensive account of this sector along with an in-depth analysis of the working conditions within it; Culture, Economy and Politics: The Case of New Labour (Palgrave Macmillan 2015), co-authored with David Hesmondhalgh, Kate Oakley and Melissa Nisbett; which examines how culture was used by New Labour as an instrument of economic growth; Advancing Media Production Research: Shifting Sites Methods (Palgrave Macmillan 2016), co-edited with Chris Paterson et al., which explores new approaches to studying media production across different platforms.

I have also received funding for my research from various sources such as the AHRC, ESRC and the Screen Industries Growth Network among others. I am currently working on a range of projects connected to the screen industries. These include research funded by Screen Industries Growth Network looking at how the TV and games industries in Yorhisre adapted their work practices during and beyond the Covid-19 lockdowns; another project funded by Screen Industries Growth Network exploring Channel 4’s Production Trainee Scheme.

I am also involved in teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses on media industries, media production, media policy and television studies among others . I supervise PhD students on topics related to my research interests . I am an external examiner for University of West England .









  • Programme Leader MA Media Industries

Research interests

My research focuses on several interconnected areas within media and communication, media and cultural policy. A key area of my research activity is in the screen industries - I have published widely on the independent television industry and audio-visual cultural production. For example, my monograph The Independent Television Production Industry: From Cottage Industry to Big Business (Springer 2018) provides a comprehensive account of this sector, along with an in-depth analysis of the working conditions within it. I have also published on arts and talk television and regional cultural production.. My other key area of research is in the study of creative labour where I have published widely on precarity, affect, networking and cultural value. I have also undertaken extensive research on media and cultural policy. For example, with colleagues David Hesmondhalgh, Kate Oakley and Melissa Nisbett, I am the co-author of a book on New Labour’s cultural policies Culture, Economy and Politics: The Case of New Labour (Palgrave Macmillan 2015), which emerged from a major study of British cultural policy funded by the AHRC. I am currently leading a research project on regional cultural production after the pandemic funded by the Screen Industries Growth Network (SIGN) and am a Co-investigator on a project looking at screen skills, also funded by SIGN.  I am also currently developing strands of work around creative labour mobilisation and affective creative economies.

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

Professional memberships

  • HEA Fellow

Student education

My teaching in the school connects to my research interests in documentary, television studies, media policy and media industries. I teach across a range of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level in these areas. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Media Industries and Cultural Production
<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="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>