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Call for papers: TV Archives accessing TV History

1 October 2009

Television Archives: Accessing TV History

Critical Studies in Television: Scholarly Studies in Small Screen Fictions
Issue Editors: Lez Cooke and Robin Nelson

The current research picture would seem to have an upside and a downside for television researchers. On the upside, digital technologies promise to make archive material readily accessible to many more people than hitherto. The aims of organisations such as the BBC and BFI to digitise and disseminate their substantial holdings would appear to afford great opportunities to researchers. The use historically made by television scholars of the valuable resources of the BBC Written Archives Centre and the BFI’s National Film and Television Archive will be considerably extended if digital plans are realised.

However, there is a downside in that the holdings of other archives and libraries - e.g. regional archives, the film and video libraries of the regional ITV companies - are often patchy and/or inaccessible. Furthermore, although valuable research has been done on television history in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to get such work into print as publishers focus on books about contemporary television at the expense of scholarly research into TV history.

In this context, Critical Studies in Television is planning a special issue on television archives and the opportunities and problems of accessing and publishing TV history in order to explore these issues. Contributions are welcome on any aspect of television archives including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The role of national/regional television archives in relation to teaching and/or research
  • Problems of access and availability
  • Case studies relating to particular aspects of archival research
  • The libraries and archives of the regional ITV companies
  • The archives/collections of individual writers, directors, producers, etc.
  • Overseas archives
  • Internet and other digital archives
  • Future developments in television curation and collection
  • TV dramas about archiving
  • Issues around the publication of research on TV history

Contributions are invited from television researchers and teachers, curators and others interested in the past, present and future of television archives and related issues of accessing TV history. Articles will normally be 4000-6000 words in length, but proposals for shorter or longer articles will be considered.

Please send an abstract (max. 300 words) to Lez Cooke ( or Robin Nelson ( by 30 October 2009.

Completed articles will have a submission deadline of 31 March 2010, for publication in Autumn 2010.

Prof. Robin Nelson
Department of Contemporary Arts
Manchester Metropolitan University
MMU Cheshire
Crewe Green Road