MEDIA CONFERENCE 2013: Creativity in Front of and Behind the Screen

31 October 2013 Live

Tallinn University Baltic Film and Media School 

Estonian Public Broadcasting

Supported by Nordplus, British Council, French Institute and Yleisradio

Conference program

9:00 – Registration and morning coffee

9:30  – 9:45 Opening
Katrin Saks
, Director of Tallinn University Baltic Film- ja Media School
Margus Allikmaa
, General Director of Estonian Public Broadcasting

9:45 – 10:30  David Hesmondhalgh, Head of the Institute of Communications
Studies and Professor of Media and Music Industries, University of Leeds

Towards a Moral Economy of Media and Culture
Relations between culture, media and economy have been a major topic of interest in recent social theory and in media studies, including television and film industries. The terms ‘political economy’ and ‘cultural economy’ have been used widely to advocate particular understandings of these relations. This paper claims that a fundamental question in understanding the culture-media-economy nexus is as follows: In what ways do different economic arrangements enhance and/or diminish the contribution of knowledge and aesthetic-artistic experience to modern societies? It applies this question to the issue of cultural markets, and advocates a “moral economy” approach to the problem.  That term is explained, and its value in combating simplistic understandings of markets is outlined.

10:30 – 11:15  Göran Bolin, Professor, Department of Media & Communication
Studies, Södertörn University 

Value and creativity in media production and consumption
The digitization of the media the past two decades has not only led to increased abilities for media users to chose amongst a seemingly endless stream of media content, but also to manipulate and take part in production processes at a scale previously impossible. Creativity has appeared as one of the main concepts for characterizing “what people do with the media”, and is used in the academy as well as among policy makers and industry. However, most often in the debate on creativity, clear definitions are lacking, to the point where one could ask the question “what do anybody mean with ‘great creative work’?” (quoted from a panel heading at an advertising summit).
In this presentation I will reflect on this question, and discuss some of the meanings that the concept of creativity has been associated with. I will do this from the perspective of the value that is supposedly the outcome of creativity, and I will argue that the concept of creativity works so well as a mediator between different interested parties (the academy, stakeholders in the media industry, policy makers and culture debaters) because it is a prism through which economic, cultural, social, political and aesthetic value forms are transformed.

11:15 - 11:30 Coffee break

11:30 – 12:15  James Bennett, Reader in Television & Digital Culture,
Department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London

Public service as production cultures: Commerce, Creativity & Constraint
What does public service broadcasting mean to those who produce it, and how does it influence production? Despite the wide-ranging research and continued interest in public service broadcasting from media, communications and television studies, these are questions that we have few answers to. This paper draws on a two year AHRC research project, including over 100 interviews with industry professionals, to explore what public service broadcasting means to those who make it for the BBC and Channel 4: not only to those working inside the broadcasters, but also the commercial independent sector that supplies much of their content. I suggest PSB can be understood as a diffuse set of production cultures, but one that is often in tension with creative and commercial pressures, particularly as broadcasters make the transition to a digital, multiplatform age.

12:15 – 13:00  Roberto Suárez Candel, Head of the Media Intelligence Service,
European Broadcasting Union

Being more creative: A challenge and a necessary step for Public Service

In a more competitive and complex media environment, public service media currently face multiple challenges: from justifying its legitimacy and ensuring its funding to developing a new offer of content and services as well as new relationships with their audiences. More than ever, public service media are questioned and their role is contested. Therefore, a proactive attitude by PSM professionals is required, from the top managers to the producers and journalist. Creativity is an important component of that attitude, and it needs to be applied to management, production, audience research, etc. Public service media institutions need to take account of the new structures and life styles within our societies and that will be only possible by being more open minded, audience focused and creative. This presentation will review some of the current challenges faced by PSM, trying to generate debate about how a creative attitude can result in solutions to make PSM relevant and indispensable for the citizens.

13:00 - 13:45 Lunch

13:45 – 14:15 Susanna Snell, Head of Audience Insight / Creative Content, YLE
Finnish Broadcasting Company

Liberating Creativity with Audience Insight
The huge changes in media environment have brought a lot of discussion on the changing nature of “the audience”. With examples of current practices in the industry, I will discuss how this change is really taking place, and how it is transforming the relationship between the creatives and the audiences.

14:15 – 14:45 Hagi Shein, Head of Media Department, Baltic Film and Media

Film repository into creative use!?
Ideas and arguments for actuation of Estonian Film Database  (

14.45 – 15:15 Mathilde Trichet, an independent counselor in development and production strategy, working with TV and
cinema producers

Why would a French producer go into a European coproduction?
Most of the French productions, feature films as well as TV stock programs, benefit more or less directly from public funds. This particular state support explains the unique amount of French films and creative programs produced in France each year… and also the length of the process. From the idea to the final cut, years can pass. On the other hand, this system allows new talents to emerge.
In this very specific context, why would a French producer go into a European coproduction-rather than in a pure French one, for instance?  What are the pros and cons of international coproduction-should you be a majority or a minority co-producer (this latter case appearing too, notably with developing countries)? And how to meet the “right” partner(s)?
After a general presentation of the French production system and its funding sources, I will present some cases I have worked on as a development and production freelance consultant for small independent French companies.

15:15 – 16:00 Tõnis Leht ja Erik Moora – Catapult Films

Possibility of creativity on Estonian TV-landscape?
Creators of  “Tujurikkuja” and “Riigimehed” share their experiences about
creation of innovative audiovisual works.

16:00 - 16:15 Summary