Jackelopes visit Create: Historical network analysis of film programming

By Thunnis van Oort

In 2016 and 2017 a series of meetings took place of an international group of cinema history scholars, made possible through a grant from the Swedish Riksbanken Jubileumsfond. Julia Noordegraaf participated in these meetings on behalf of the Create programme. On the agenda was the question how to stimulate transnational comparative research into cinema culture. Out of these get-togethers grew an informal network of cooperating cinema scholars, called ‘the  Jackalopes’, named after an avatar that appeared in one of the Google docs used for collaborating.

On May 14, a delegation of the Jackelopes met for a two-day session at the Create office. Åsa Jernudd (Örebro University), Clara Pafort-Overduin (Utrecht University), Kathleen Lotze (Netherlands Film Academy / Oxford Brookes University) and Thunnis van Oort (Create / Oxford Brookes University) experimented under the supervision of Create programmer Ivan Kisjes with the film programming data collected for several European cities for the year 1952 (Gothenburg, Bari, Rotterdam and Antwerp). Leading question was: to what extent can we analyse the way films moved through the cinemas of each of these cities, viewed as networks? Using Gephi software, we visualised how films moved from one cinema to the next within each city, highlighting differences (and similarities) in how film circulation worked in that period in each of these cities. We are hoping to publish the results of the comparative analysis in a special issue of TMG – Journal for Media History (2020) and present the work in progress at the DH Benelux conference in September in Liège.

Film circulation in Gothenburg cinemas, 1952.