Call for Papers: 4th Edinburgh International Film Audiences Conference

...I still think the movie heroes are in the audience.
Wilson Mizner, 1876 - 1933

Whilst there may be movies without audiences, if there were no audiences at all there would be no movie industry. The aim of the Edinburgh International Film Audiences Conference is to provide a space where all those heroes who watch or have watched films can be uncovered, understood and celebrated through the sharing of empirical research into their activities and preferences. Our conference has been praised for creating an arena where new and experienced researchers in academe and the industry can come together to share their enthusiasm for audience research in a friendly and supportive manner. Whilst the conference may well appeal primarily to academics, it has always been the aim of the organisers to include contributors from the industry side of film so that there may be a mutually beneficial discussion. The more each knows what the other is doing, the more can be learned about the varied ways in which audiences have responded to the cinematic experience and the consequences of those responses for future developments.


There is only one criterion for proposed papers: they should be concerned with empirical research into film audiences. The audiences can be anywhere in the world and for any genre of film. They can be historical pieces of work that explore the construction of film audiences through governmental policy or pieces that look at the construction of fans via archival material. They can be concerned with audiences in cinemas or at home. Equally, they can be about absent or self-excluding audiences. We would be very happy to receive abstracts that deal with areas that have had limited (if any) research conducted into them. They can also be about work that is in its early stages as well as work that is nearly/completed. Abstracts can be submitted by students and new researchers as well as established researchers no matter what their background is.

Work in Progress

We are delighted to open a showcase for work in progress. Researchers that want to share research they are working on, but who are not ready to give a paper, can do so using an “electronic poster” — a short PowerPoint slide show or similar multimedia format. Work in progress will be displayed in the social area throughout the conference.

Submitting Abstracts

Abstracts of no more than 300 words for papers or 100 words for work in progress should be submitted as virus-free Word or rtf attachments to Dr Ailsa Hollinshead ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) no later than 12th September 2010. Make the email subject Paper or Work in progress so that we know which category you are submitting for.

Abstracts that are any longer than prescribed will not be considered. Abstracts will be reviewed by external referees and all contributors will be notified of the outcome towards the end of October 2010. Copies of the conference paper have to be with Dr Hollinshead by mid-January 2011. These will be put on to a CD as part of the conference pack.

Everyone whose abstract is accepted will be expected to book a place by 30th November 2010. Costs and application forms can be obtained from the conference website.

Student Bursary

There will be a bursary for the best student paper, which can include undergraduates as well as postgraduates (subject to proof of status). The winner of the best student paper will have their costs refunded at the conference.


We are delighted to confirm that we now have the opening and closing speakers for the conference. Our opening speaker will be Ms Hannah McGill, ex-Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Ms McGill is a graduate of the University of Glasgow and in the past has worked as a music, tv and film critic. Our closing speaker will be Prof. Martin Barker of Aberystwyth University where he is Professor of Film and Television Studies.  He is also joint editor of the on-line journal Participations ( Both are excellent speakers who in different ways take a very close interest in film audiences and are particularly interested in and supportive of our conference.

Conference Dates and Location

The conference takes place over two days in the heart of Edinburgh. One of the main attractions for participants is that we only run single track sessions – no more difficult decisions about who to go and listen to or the awful experience of presenting to just a couple of people whilst everyone else has gone to hear the famous speaker! Everyone is guaranteed a decent audience plus 30 minutes to present their paper followed by 15 minutes of questions – and we are very proud of our reputation regarding time-keeping. The website and abstracts from the last conference can be found at:

Conference Team

Director: Dr Ailsa Hollinshead; Organiser: Ms Nicola Hay; Marketing: Ms Helen Jackson; Website: Ms Caroline von Schmalensee.

Download this call for papers as a PDF.