UK (University of the West of England) BBC Natural History Unit’s Dr Jonny Keeling appointed Visiting Professor at UWE Bristol

Dr Jonny Keeling, the Head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit (NHU), has been appointed a Visiting Professor for the College of Arts, Technology and Environment at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).

His new role further strengthens the long-standing partnership between the NHU and the University; the organisations have been working closely together for over a decade to deliver the highly successful BBC-accredited MA in Wildlife Filmmaking. Now in its eleventh year, the practical one-year course has an employment record of more than 95 per cent.

As a Visiting Professor, Keeling will bring his experience and expertise to help grow and develop the best new talent in the UK and internationally, delivering a number of masterclasses to the MA students, alongside other NHU staff, industry leaders, practitioners and experts in the field and craft of wildlife filmmaking.

The announcement follows the NHU’s launch of a new global talent development initiative that will see the award-winning unit invest £1m over three years to develop and support aspiring natural history filmmakers in the UK and around the world.

Jonny Keeling, Visiting Professor at UWE Bristol and Head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit, said: “I am honoured to have this opportunity as a Visiting Professor – it’s a great chance to build on the long-standing and successful partnership between the NHU and UWE. I’m excited to develop our industry’s next generation of wildlife filmmaking talent. Their role as storytellers has never been more important; we need them to engage and inspire audiences across the planet with compelling stories from the natural world.”

Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, Professor Steve West, said: “Dr Keeling is a highly-respected and world-renowned filmmaker and we’re delighted he’s joining UWE Bristol where he will be a valued asset to the University’s students and staff. It goes without saying that he’ll bring a wealth of experience to the role, further enhancing the excellent teaching and opportunities the course offers. This is a chance to hear from the very best in the business, in the city that leads the world in this genre.”

Jonny Keeling was appointed head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit in 2021, having worked at the globally renowned unit since 1996 producing and directing wildlife and adventure documentaries. These include Planet EarthPlanet Earth II, and Planet Earth IIIDavid Attenborough’s Life of MammalsMountain GorillaThe Natural WorldWildlife on OneLost Land of the Volcano and Lost Land of the Tiger. He was head of the Children’s Natural History Unit for seven years, producer of the 3D giant screen film Antarctica, and executive producer on the BAFTA and Emmy award-winning Seven Worlds, One Planet.

The MA Wildlife Filmmaking students graduate with the skills, experience and knowledge needed for entry-level jobs in all areas of production from online to broadcast. Graduates now work for the BBC and other production companies in the UK and overseas.