The project so far - August 2009


In June, the project team carried out an interview with Doug Richard, the California-born, British-based entrepreneur who appeared in the first two series of Dragon’s Den. Along with his business investments, Richard is also the founder of Cambridge Angels and School for Start-Ups, the latter of which provides business training for entrepreneurs in the UK. 


Over the last few months there has been a number of new business programmes on television, many of which attempt to respond in some way to the recession. These include the BBC’s Keep it in the Family and Mary Queen of Charity Shops as well as Channel 4’s Property Snakes and Ladders, I’m Running Sainsbury’s and Gerry’s Big Decision. This is in addition to the various documentary and current affairs programming dealing with the impact the financial crisis has had on business and the return of Dragons’ Den to BBC2 alongside a new online version of the show. This continued focus on business and the way in which these formats have began to adapt to a changing economy reinforces the timely nature of this project and has increased the range of television programming to be examined.


Since April, Dr Lisa Kelly has presented papers at two international conferences in which she has discussed the aims of the project and considered the findings from the initial stages.

On attending The Big Reveal II: Lifestyle Television Conference at the University of Brighton in May, she met both British and international scholars working on various forms of ‘transformative’ television and was part of a panel on ‘Work, Ethics and the Past’ that brought together a number of issues regarding the promotion of different lifestyles on television and the use of ordinary participants in reality-based programming.

The Creative Entrepreneurship and Education in Cultural Life Conference in July was organised by the Arts, Entertainment and Media Management Department at Columbia College Chicago in association with ENCATC to bring together academics from around the world involved in the relatively new discipline of creative entrepreneurship. On delivering the final plenary session, Dr Kelly found that the aims of the project were well-received by delegates and a number of interesting points were raised in relation to hero myths, the precarious working climate put forward in many of these shows and the use of television programming as one access point (amongst a range of strategies) to creative business and entrepreneurship. The programmes discussed included Project Runway, the Next Top Model series and So You Think You Can Dance?

A blog discussing the conference and the concept of cultural and creative entrepreneurship can be found here.

Prof Raymond Boyle will be attending the 4th European Conference on Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Antwerp on 9-11 September 2009. A report on this will be included in our Winter update.

Focus Groups:

The next phase of the project involves focus groups being carried out with viewers in both Glasgow and London to examine how the audience engages with such programming and the possible impact that this may have on their understanding of the role of business and entrepreneurship in society.

Glasgow focus groups will take place on 1-3 September 2009 at Gilmorehill Centre, University of Glasgow from 5.30pm onwards.

London focus groups will take place on the evenings of 16-18 September 2009 at Shoreditch Studios: The London Viewing Facility.