Skip to main content
Ecologies of Cultural Production

Ecologies of Cultural

Ecologies of Cultural Production

This Creative Ireland Programme research project was delivered by the School of Creative Arts at Trinity College, Dublin. The project investigated careers in Irish film, television drama and theatre. It focused on how people entered the fields of filmmaking, television drama and theatre-making and how do they then went on to build and develop their careers.

Through a survey of prominent creative workers (actors, writers, and directors in film, television drama and theatre) the research aimed to:

  • understand how creative workers in film, television drama and theatre entered the sector and progressed their careers
  • examine the role of public cultural subsidies in career development
  • illuminate the extent of career mobility between the film, television and theatre sectors
  • examine the evolution of creative clusters (e.g. drama societies, production companies, theatre groups, regional broadcasters, etc.)
  • examine the extent to which creative workers in these sectors must supplement their incomes from other sources.

The purpose of the project is to inform public policy on arts funding and to establish a methodology that might be applied to all sectors of cultural production.

The initial phase of the research involved gathering data about careers in acting, directing, screenwriting and playwriting. Later phases broadened out to examine a wider range of film and theatre occupations and extended the enquiry into additional creative, technical, and craft careers.

The approach adopted reflected new directions in international research on the effectiveness of arts policy. Previously researchers had measured success through analysing cultural consumption (e.g. through audience research), now the focus has shifted to cultural production and the interdependencies between cultural outputs. Ecologies of Cultural Production is the first survey of its kind in Ireland and took a ground-breaking approach to analysing the long-term effects of arts policy.

Findings were presented at one day seminar in the Long Room Hub at Trinity College, Dublin in July 2019. The seminar included a Q and A session with three of Ireland’s leading cultural practitioners Ed Guiney ( Element Pictures), Anne Clarke ( Landmark Productions) and Willie White ( Dublin Theatre Festival) who discussed issues around training, talent development, diversity, precarious work and the future of Irish theatre and film industries.

The research project was led by Assoc. Prof. Ruth Barton, Head of School, School of Creative Arts, Trinity and Emeritus Prof. John O’Hagan, Emeritus Fellow, Economics, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Trinity

To find out more visit TCD

Preliminary Research Findings

Open Video

Stay up to date