Dr David Lee


My teaching and research focuses on the cultural industries, cultural policy, cultural economy and television studies. I have published broadly in all these areas. I joined the School of Media and Communication in June 2009. I completed my PhD at Goldsmiths, London, where I undertook an AHRC funded PhD on cultural production in the independent television production industry. This took a qualitative approach to understanding the changing nature of work within this cultural industry, focusing on networking, precarity, craft and cultural value.I also have extensive experience of working in think tanks and consultancy research, with a focus on cultural and creative industries policy. This includes working for Demos and BOP Consulting, where I led a number of research studies which were undertaken for organisations such as DCMS, CABE, regional development agencies, and most of the regional screen agencies, amongst others.

Prior to academia, I worked at the BBC and in the independent sector in current affairs and documentary production, on programme strands such as NewsnightPanorama and The Money Programme. I draw on this professional experience within my teaching and research.

My research and teaching encompasses a number of areas, connected to media and communication studies and cultural policy. These include: documentary production and theory media ethnography creative and cultural labour critical cultural policy the history and sociology of communications With colleagues David Hesmondhalgh, Kate Oakley and Melissa Nisbett, I recently co-authored a book on New Labour's cultural policies, funded by the AHRC.

Other current interests include creative labour and cultural production (see papers below), and arts broadcasting. I completed my PhD, taken in the Media and Communications Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. The title of my thesis is "Precarious Creativity: Working lives in the British independent television industry", available to download below. It focuses on the nature of creative work in the British independent television industry, the history of this sector, and on the nature of individual subjectivity that is encouraged within this particular cultural industry.Before working in academia, I worked in television production at the BBC and in the independent sector, on programmes such as Newsnight, Panorama and The Money Programme, as well as history documentaries. I also have experience of working within thinktanks and consultancy research. This included working for the British thinktank Demos and the economic and arts consultancy BOP Consulting, where I led a number of research studies for organisations such as DCMS, CABE, a number of regional development agencies, and most of the regional screen agencies.


  • Programme Leader MA Media Industries
  • School representative, Arts, Humanities and Cultures Faculty Research Ethics Committee
<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>

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://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>