Movie-going at the docks

From the early days of the cinema, Flanders boasted among the highest cinema attendance per capita on the continent, while their Dutch neighbors were about the least frequent moviegoers of all Europeans. The aim of the project is to map and explain this remarkable difference in the two neighbouring cinema cultures. Can we explain this disparity by how the cinema industry was organized, or by cultural differences, for instance in the different manifestations of ‘pillarization’ in
both countries?

Cinema Parisien 3D

Between November 2014 and December 2015, we collaborated on building a 3D visualisation of Cinema Parisien, one of the first permanent cinema theatres in Amsterdam, established in 1910 by cinema owner and distributor Jean Desmet (1875-1956). The project aimed to investigate the affordances of 3D modelling for presenting digital cinema heritage in a comprehensive, evocative form. In addition, it explored the opportunities of 3D visualisation as a research tool for studying the history of cinema. In this presentation, we will demonstrate the final version of the model, explain the research and building process, and reflect on the relevance of 3D visualisation as a tool for the history of cinema-going.


The CINEMAPS project aims to map cinema markets in the Netherlands and Flanders in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s in a comparative study, combining a geospatial analysis of cinema density in both areas with data on pillarization, class and the organization and economics of the industry. As such, it will provide an answer to the core question of how the development of the cinema, as a specific cultural industry, interrelates with the social and cultural dimensions of modern public life in The Netherlands and Flanders.

Enter the Dreamhouse

My research focuses on the role of cinemas in British twentieth-century society. In particular, I am researching how cinemas operated as sites of public emotion and how their spatial characteristics contributed to a permissive and distinct emotional economy far-removed from the cliché of the British stiff-upper-lip.

The research explores how and why cinemas became emblematic of a particular modernity which asserted the importance of leisure in the lives of millions, and how this contributed to conceptions of modernity. The research seeks to explore how local experiences can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of cinemas (and of cinema-going in Britain as a whole) in the first half of the twentieth-century.

Cinema Culture in Warsaw, 1895/6-1939: A Transnational Perspective

The interdisciplinary project is situated at the intersection of history and film studies. It proposes to explore the heuristic potential of the cross-disciplinary spatial turn by studying the cinema culture in the multi-ethnic city of Warsaw between the emergence of this form of leisure at the turn of the 20th cen-tury and its destruction in the Second World War and the ravages of the Holocaust.

London’s Silent Cinemas

London’s Silent Cinemas explores the history of cinema exhibition in London from the emergence of permanent film venues in 1906 to the end of the silent film era around 1930.

Mapping Movies

Mapping Movies is a digital discovery environment in which users explore changing landscapes of social and spatial history by investigating the grounded locations and movements of moving pictures. The site promotes spatial thinking and historical inquiry about the relations between media access, public infrastructure, social geography, cultural networks, economic development, community building and collective memory.


The project was a Creative Economy Knowledge Exchange partnership between Charlotte Crofts (University of the West of England, Bristol), Jo Reid (Calvium / AppFurnace) and Peter Insole (Bristol City Council / Know Your Place) to develop a platform called City Strata which we prototyped through the Cinemapping Layer. The subject of the research was to test the technical, creative and aesthetic challenges of drawing data from a GIS database to a mobile app so that historic data could be accessed in the field, aiming to build a platform that could be used to develop any cultural heritage layer. We tested this through the Cinemapping prototype which draws from a separate historic cinemas layer from within the Know Your Place map, BCC’s GIS database of the historic environment record.

Mapping Movies

Where, when, and in what geographic contexts were women able to enter the film exhibition business as it grew from a technological novelty into a major industry and fixture of the modern American landscape? Mapping Movies prompts these new questions and more, exploring cinema’s emergent social and spatial environments by developing a Geographic Information System (GIS) using the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA) pioneered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of New Hampshire. ERMA is a data management platform that aggregates diverse datasets and information streams, including those from crowdsourcing, into a fast, user-friendly online map. By adapting ERMA for cinema history, the result is a GIS prototype that charts the spread of movies in New Hampshire, locates women’s missing footprint in film exhibition, and visualizes deep forces shaping an emerging medium in an era of urbanization, modernization and suffrage.