Theme 1: New Cinema History contexts



How and in what ways can cinema history unlock community history using digital humanities, social media and location-based mobile technologies?

New Cinema History “dissolves” but cinema still a powerful gateway (for public engagement)

Digital humanities (ipad) > computing power

Show what it can do that’s new

[check out John Plunket > exeter> SW]

Important to articulate value of project to digital humanities agenda more widely

Diagram :- IMAG3163

A graph representing Digital Humanities data with on the one hand, data gathering and analysing and on the other presentation, dissemination and its reception, with say, wiki-improvement feeding back in to the data gathering and analysis


nb gender

Decentralised but networked

Use geomarketing

> analyse what apps can do (already)

> explore different concepts of MAPPING



– trade

  • press

unpublished – collected memories/photos/ephemera

methods – do we mean for data or for diffusion?

  1. enrich existing data – mashup text + pics + clips?

methods – what’s new in hums?

  • publishing history
  • gender
  • consumer response

Can we learn from or innovate?


  • New cinema history, as illustrated by the activities of the HOMER Group

The HOMER (History of Movie-Going, Exhibition and Reception) Group was set up to promote the: “understanding of the complex phenomena of cinema-going, exhibition, and reception, from a multidisciplinary perspective [addressing the] wider societal, political and other forces in historicizing film spectatorship, cinema-going and exhibition” – a field now gaining critical mass and momentum – this project will bring scholars together to examine how mobile technologies might facilitate  “comparative studies of cities, regions, and nations”, whilst also examining “the relationship between micro and macro history(ies)”  (taken from HOMER panel CFP at NECS)


UK Digital humanities website –


Article on by Karel Dibbets on website, which was set up for research on the history of film culture in the Netherlands. “Cinema Context and the genes of film history’  published in New Review of Film and Television Studies Vol. 8, No. 3, September 2010, 331–342. #Museums&Archives #Sharing #Context #research

“Contextualization is a vital concept for discovering, connecting and integrating cultural artefacts buried in unrelated collections of heritage institutions”

“Encyclopaedias like IMDb and Cinema Context are in a position to show what they know, not what they own.”

“Cinema Context is very attentive to geographical information about venues and events, and by plotting coordinates with the help of Google Maps it is possible to reconstruct the roadshow and to visualize all the places and distances covered by the Mullens brothers while touring (Figure 3). Such analysis reveals the spatial logistics of their tours and their underlying business rationale.”

“one thing (eg. a cinema name) leads to the other (eg. a programme with film titles in it, or a manager) Cinema Context is a large project that has involved a team of people over a long time, and which relied initially on a group of relatively stable sources such as official censorship files and trade directories. The great care that has gone into compiling it has produced a dataset that is clean enough for Karel Dibbets to use network analysis techniques. (Dibbets 331-42) In Australia Deb Verhoeven and her students have been developing very promising applications of statistical techniques to work with data from the Cinema Audiences in Australia Research Project (CAARP), a database that combines data gathered by researchers in four universities as part of  separate projects on rural cinema-going, distribution in the 1930s, and diasporic cinema circuits. Verhoeven has pioneered interdisciplinary collaborations in papers that propose, for example, the use of Markov chain analysis to study distribution, and invent new forms of visualising information in a synoptic and insightful way”

(Davidson, Arrowsmith, and Verhoeven 163-78)


Short pieces from researchers around the world: “Together the pieces highlight the different and changing textures of the movie-going experience around the world since the 1970s”


Film, Mobility and Urban Space: A Cinematic Geography of Liverpool by Les Roberts, Book: uses Julia Hallam’s research on Liverpool, City in Film database.

using cinema footage to show changes in a city over time, how to use locations for tourism, city as archive, city as spectacle. ‘the place-making capacity of film: that is, its ability to knit back into the urban fabric an increasingly detached or disembedded space of memory”


Mapping the Movies: Verhoeven, Bowles & Arrowsmith. (chapter in Digital Tools in Media Studies: Analysis and Research – An Overview By Michael Ross, M. Grauer, Bernd Freisleben)

research project Mapping the Movies: the changing nature of Australia’s cinema circuits and their audiences, 1956-1984. An ARC funded project with Prof Richard Maltby, Prof Jill Julius Mathews, A/Prof Colin Arrowsmith, Dr Michael Walsh, Dr Kate Bowles.

Christie, Ian (ed.), Audiences: Defining and Researching Screen Entertainment Reception(Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012) “this work spans the spectrum of contemporary audience studies, revealing work being done on local, non-theatrical and live digital transmission audiences, and on the relative attraction of large-scale, domestic and mobile platforms.”
Paper on distribution of cinemas in canada and how the authors found the information to georeference them: Caquard S., Naud D., and Perichon V. (2009), “La répartition des salles obscures canadiennes: un éclairage géographique”, Cahiers de Géographie du Québec, Sept. 2009, 53 (149), pp. 221-241.
The Canadian Movie theaters map mashup is on (click on “English” and find different maps and movie theaters data under “Spatial Data”).
“Cinemaclock website has proved to be particularly useful in this context, because it provides not only a list of movies playing in theaters, but also the mailing address and phone number. These details have therefore been added to the data from the Film Canada Year Book. CinemaClock list is not exhaustive though, so we used the Google search engine to obtain the addresses of missing theatres.”


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