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Mr Neil Percival

Director of Student Experience

Department: Arts

Neil Percival worked for 15 years as a factual producer/director in the TV industry before joining Northumbria in 2007. He now teaches documentary TV production, and researches entry-level employment practices in the media industry, as well as educational research into issues of media teaching. He is the Director of Student Experience for the faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences.

Neil Percival began his media career in 1992 as a production trainee with Newcastle-based independent TV production company, filmNOVA. In 1995 he went freelance as a writer/director, before specialising in broadcast documentaries in 1998, when he moved to the South West. Four years later he moved to London working as a freelance self-shooting producer/director for some of the UK's biggest factual TV producers. He created and ran Media Industries North East (MINE), formerly the North East Telly Net, a networking group for professionals working in the TV industry in the North East and also created an online community for freelancers in the TV industry. 

In January 2007 he joined the staff of Northumbria University as a full-time Senior Lecturer and subsequently became a Principal Lecturer, with remits since that time including student wellbeing and experience, and partnership development. In his current role, he works to enhance the student experience across the faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences. His research interests have led to publication on the subject of entry level experiences of workers in the film and TV industry, especially related to attitudes to unpaid work.


MA Oxon, English Language and Literature

MAA Academic Practice

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Following an extensive involvement in freelancers’ employment issues during his time in the TV industry. Neil has continued to research the field of employment practices and experiences in the film and TV sectors, especially around issues of entry level work, unpaid labour, and industrial relations. He carried out an extensive survey of over 1,000 workers in these industries in 2011, leading to subsequent publication.

He also has a strong interest in media education, has recently completed an MA in Academic Practice focusing on the creation of an online repository of experiences and resources relating to the management and assessment of student groupwork; he has also given conference papers on the use of video online streaming, for teaching and student peer assessment.

Teaching Experience

I have taught several modules on the BA Hons Media Production programme, including a first year production management module, a second year documentary production module and a third year Professional Practice module which includes an industry placement scheme. I also supervise a number of students in their final year practical film-making projects.

Key Publications

Neil Percival and David Hesmondhalgh

Unpaid work in the UK television and film industries: Resistance and changing attitudes European Journal of Communication April 2014 29: 188-203, first published on January 21, 2014 doi:10.1177/0267323113516726


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