The Film Studies Space
“The Film Studies Space” establishes a research centre for the cultural history of moving images, building on the vibrant interdisciplinary and inter-faculty research on film at UCL.
The project begins with two interlocking projects that exemplify the historical, cross-disciplinary, and transnational focus of the space of Film Studies at UCL:
- “The Work of Film,” led by Lee Grieveson, and
- “Cinematic memory, consumer culture, and everyday life,” led by Jann Matlock.
The first of these projects investigates the way business, civil, public and governmental agencies and institutions invested in cinema and its diverse family of technologies in order to instruct people, sell products, and make or remake citizens. Various films were produced, distributed and exhibited in non-theatrical spaces by civic, reform, religious, and governmental institutions, both in the metropolitan countries and in their colonies and dominions, all seeking to utilize cinema to convey ideas, convince individuals, and produce subjects in the service of public and private aims.
The second of these projects addresses how cinema was formed in the context of the emergence and transformation of consumer society and how the material objects of that society were re-presented, and circulated, in the newly global mass medium of cinema.
Cinema subsequently became the afterlife of these material objects, a re-invention of their meanings and a representative of the values that invested those objects in the first place.
Together, the projects address how cinema uses things, how cinema became a “useful” thing, and how moving images participate in constructing and shaping citizens.
Both projects address the specificity of diverse cinemas, carefully connecting these films to their social and political moment, at the same time as beginning a comparative project addressing global cinema histories in ways that chime with the global goals of UCL and the interventionist agenda of UCL’s Research Challenges.
While each project has overlapping texts and conceptual questions, they will also strive to develop different kinds of partnerships and networks, and to interest a broad range of students, scholars, and museum curators from a range of departments at UCL and beyond to establish a research centre for the cultural history of moving images.
These two initial projects will draw together colleagues across departments and faculties and establish UCL as a space for innovative work on the cultural history of moving images.