As a mass medium, television has a great reach and appeal. Many successful quality television series refer to history and contemporary debates, and use a lot of research work to create good stories and compelling, realistic story worlds. In this panel, we want to examine the kind of research that is done by screenwriters in order to create strong series universes and enter into dialogue with academic research on contemporary television. To what extent does television both confirm and challenge prevailing stereotypes (race, gender, sexuality)? Do series aspire to address and also influence contemporary political and social problems? How diverse is contemporary television culture today, both on the level of production and on the level of representation? What are effective strategies to stimulate diversity in a credible way and still appeal to broad audiences?  How can local stories and histories affect global audiences?

14h > 15h Keynote Frederik Dhaenens (BE) - How (not) to represent sexual diversity: From queer over normal to normative
Since the turn of the twenty-first century LGBT characters are no longer absent or represented as one-dimensional, deplorable or stereotypical in television series. Yet, many of these representations are shaped to fit the dominant and normative discourses on gender and sexuality in Western societies. In this lecture, I will demonstrate the diverse ways used to depict LGBTs and argue why some representations can be considered stereotypical and offensive and others transgressive and queer.

15h > 16h Keynote Bridget Conor (UK) - ’It’s getting better': Debating and researching inequalities in television production studies’
In this talk, Bridget will discuss some of the current debates in academic research, policymaking and media coverage which focus on the problem of inequalities in the cultural industries. She will particularly focus on how these debates play out in television production, drawing on her own research on screenwriting, gender and creative labour.

16h30 >17h30 Masterclass Nicola Lusuardi – Make it Original. Aesthetical research and innovation in new serial storytelling.
Since 1990, Nicola Lusuardi has been working as a playwright for several production companies and as a screenwriter, story editor and supervisor for television networks RAI, Mediaset, Sky. He also works as a script consultant and tutor in TorinoFilmLab-Interchange and Biennale College.

17h30 > 19h Round table - Research in series
With Chris Brancato (Narcos, USA), Nicolas Peufaillit (Les Revenants, FR), Helen Perquy (Quizz Me Quick, BE), Nicola Lusuardi (1992, IT) and Bridget Conor (UK)

In partnership with KU Leuven