Cool Research Projects

There’s a lot of great research taking place in film departments these days at universities across the world, but we often have to wait until some sort of publication makes the conference rounds to start hearing about it. I’ve decided to take a short-cut, and publish here a growing list of what I consider “cool research projects” in (silent) film studies, and hope this list will grow. These are all projects that are still ongoing, though some may be nearing completion. The goal is to help you track down who’s doing what where. I can’t aim at being exhaustive (for that you can, for instance, browse the AHRC website for all the research funded in film studies by them), and there’s anyway a subjective element in the list (those projects need to be ‘cool’ to me), so this is merely intended to offer suggestions of the originality, precision, and breadth of scope of research projects in films in our world.

If you know of a ‘cool research project’, send a link to its webpage to me, it’ll be posted here (after review).

  • The Manga Movies Project is an AHRC Researc Council Funded Project Analysing Japanese Media Franchising out of the University of East Anglia (UK), led by Dr. Rayna Denison and Dr. Woojeong Joo. Project Dates: Jan. 2011 – Jan. 2013. Non-silent cinema, true, but way cool: so many manga to read…
  • Impossible Cameras. This is a film scholar/engineer dream of a project: to reconstruct 12 early-film cameras dubbed “impossible” because, in the end, they more or less disappeared (or cannot be used as museums or private collectors refuse to loan the copy they may own). Stephen Herbert (of The Projection Box publishing company) started this with private collector Gordon Trewinnard, and they’re almost done ! Project dates: 2000-2012.
  • Another one that’s finished but the results should be intriguing is from the University of Liverpool School of Architecture and Communication and Media: Mapping the City in Film, a Geo-Historical Analysis. Dr. Julia Hallam has built on her work on Liverpool (City in Film: Liverpool’s Urban Landscape and the Moving Image) and the catalog of film on or made in Liverpool since 1897 to produce a GIS film map of Liverpool — and tons of publications (notably Dr Les Robert‘s Film, Mobility and Urban Space: a Cinematic Geography of Liverpool, published this year [2012]). [added 23.06.2012]
  • TV and Digital Promotion: Agile Strategies for a New Media Ecology. This cool-sounding project, led by Dr. Grainge and Dr. Johnson from the University of Nottingham, promises “to explore how companies specializing in brand communication and promotional design are developing strategies to ‘connect viewers to content’ in a multiplatform world.” There’s quite a lot of work being done at Nottingham these days on the circulation of contents through new media, as this conference in May shows. Project dates: Jan. 2012-Jan. 2013. [added 25.06.2012]

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