New project to explore cinema-going from the 1930s onwards


01 April 2019
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Academics at the University of Stirling are collaborating on a major new research project exploring cinema going from the 1930s.

Academics at the University of Stirling are collaborating on a major new research project exploring cinema going from the 1930s.

‘Cinema Memory and the Digital Archive: 1930s Britain and Beyond’ aims to expand public and academic knowledge and understanding of how audiences relate to and remember the experience of cinema-going. Dr Sarah Neely and Suzy Angus are involved in the £778,000 project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which will see the digitisation of a special collection.

Cinema-going and everyday life

The project builds on pioneering research into cinema-going and everyday life in the interwar years, conducted in the 1990s by Annette Kuhn, Emeritus Professor in Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London. Professor Kuhn will serve as co-investigator on the new project.

The materials gathered through Professor Kuhn’s original project include:

  • letters
  • essays
  • written memories
  • in-depth interviews with people from around the UK who went to the cinema in the 1930s.

The archive also includes rare memorabilia and artefacts from the 1930s, including cinema programmes, posters and magazines.

The project team will create a website showcasing a range of historical materials related to cinema-going in Britain. As part of the project, Dr Neely and Ms Angus, an audio practitioner with experience in soundscape design, will create new audio walking tours exploring local cinema histories in Glasgow and Manchester.

An exciting opportunity

Dr Neely, a film history expert and Senior Lecturer in Stirling’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, said: “The project is an exciting opportunity to work with this significant archive relating cinemagoers from the 1930s.

“We’re looking forward to working with the collection of more than 200 hours of interviews, and collaborating with a number of local cinemas, community groups, writers, artists and archives to share this invaluable collection with new audiences.”

The material resulting from the project will be made available to the public via a dedicated website, digitisation of the entire collection, international workshops, conferences and publications.

QUICK LINK: Visiting the cinema in the 50s

(report and image courtesy of University of Stirling)