The second of our highlighted projects for the Creative & Digital Month is the ‘Mapping Cinema Experience’ project, led by Dr Daniela Treveri Gennari, who has kindly written a short blog post on her experiences of the project. Mapping Cinema Experience builds on the work of the AHRC funded “Lost Italian Cinema Audiences” project (ICA), 2013-2016. ICA is working with the University of the Third Age and is hoping to build on previous work to encourage different generations of Italians to function as living curators of a virtual archive of their own cinema history.
Daniela reflects: After a long discussion with Danielle Hipkins (University of Exeter) and Catherine O’Rawe (University of Bristol) at the Screen Conference in Glasgow, we decided to turn our interest in audiences into a funding application. This led to the Italian Cinema Audiences research project on post-war Italian cinema-going. This project turned to be the first systematic study of cinema audiences in Italy in the 1950s, when Italians went to the cinema more than almost any other nation in Europe.
We have investigated how the memory of events related to cinema-going were woven into people’s personal narrative, as well as whether the geographical location was significant in the data if compared to the rest of the country. The social connotation of cinema vividly described by the participant is not only evident in terms of relationships – such as love, friendship, family and marriages – and identity formation. It also to be found in the role of the vivid personal events as one of the temporal landmarks in autobiographical memory: first experiences. The project has raised public awareness of the importance of autobiographical memories for the elderly and has also actively involved older people in reconstructing the history of an important time in Italian film Industry. This has probably been the most rewarding aspect of the research itself.
Watch out for clips from the project later in the month, or visit http://italiancinemaaudiences.org/ for more information.