The current research interests of Benjamin W. L. Derhy Kurtz are four-fold. A central one involves organizational research, industrial sociology and the transatlantic cultural industries. He has, for instance, developed a new task-based categorisation of the TV industry practitioners, divided into 7 sections. Furthermore, despite the ‘narrow’ focus of this thesis, his research tackles many topics related to creative labour. Evidences of job precariousness & satisfaction were palpable during the interviews and are addressed. With this thesis, which responds to the various conceptions of cultural production, Derhy Kurtz aspires to contribute to the classification /definition debates of the industry (cultural vs creative) and issues of practitioners interviews as a qualitative research method.
His future research plans include to further study the super-creative personnel category brought forth in his thesis, and to conduct a research on ‘success’ on a greater scale, using of a representative sample, in order to confront the results obtained and discover if generalizations would apply, allowing a discussion on the differences in methods/results between qualitative and quantitative approaches. Moreover, in order to have a more comprehensive overview, studying the discourses of ‘failure’ may be of interest, offering valuable insight on the practitioners’ frame of mind/perspectives and the affective and psychological issues related to the semantic fields/mental representations of success and failure.
A second research interest, highly featured in his recent publications and teaching, relates to reception studies, more specifically, fan communities and their activities, as well as the notions of ‘mainstream’/‘cult’. In addition to teaching a related module, BWLDK has researched how Torchwood fans have (violently) reacted to its recent Americanisation. He is finally attempting to contribute to cult text studies, arguing that objects enjoying a following both enduring & widespread should be acknowledged/distinguished from texts lacking either. Benjamin W. L. Derhy Kurtz is, therefore, researching the ongoing activities of Francophone, Anglophone, Hispanophone & Russophone fans of Twin Peaks and the extent to which the programme has had an impact on our society. He is, in fact, preparing with other colleagues a study day focused on Popular Culture, due to take place in Paris next spring.
His third research interest, influenced by his professional experience and undergraduate studies, is linked to the marketing strategies utilised to sell Films and TV programmes worldwide. This focus has, in term, led BWLDK to research Transmedia storytelling, which could be seen as a marketing method directed to active consumers. In addition to researching the BBC’s branding (and Transmedia) strategies for a collective work, Derhy Kurtz has also studied strategies recently used by the BBC and HBO to promote their content.
Finally, Transmedia constitutes his fourth research axis. Benjamin W. L. Derhy Kurtz is, thus, co-editing a collective book on Transmedia, entitled The Rise of Transtexts: Challenge and Opportunity. Many internationally recognized researchers have already shown their interest in the latter by agreeing to contribute to it. BWLDK is also editing special issue of Knowledge Networking, also on Transmedia, but from a marketing and commercial perspective this time, an angle little studied yet.