Research team

Research Centre for Visual Poetics

Expertise

Historical and contemporary analyses of cinema and media in the Low Countries and Europe.

The diaspora kino-eye: A multi-methodological research project on diaspora film policies and representations in Flanders (2002-2021) 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2022

Abstract

Over the last decades a major upswing of diaspora cinema in Europe took place. In Flanders, this flux of diaspora filmmaking is specifically relevant as cross-cultural identities have assumed a prominent role in contemporary cinematic narratives. Diaspora cinema is considered to be one of those symbolic sites of struggles within a multicultural society that can help in the deconstruction of Eurocentric and hegemonic modes of thought, eliciting a transnational, intercultural shift. While diaspora cinema studies usually depart from a textual or reception perspective, the media industry and policy contexts in which these diaspora discourses are produced and distributed remain understudied. This project is specifically interested in the complex relationship between Flemish film policy and the question of diasporic, intercultural diversity. This research project scrutinizes the political, industrial and socio-cultural dynamics of diaspora film productions in Flanders. Therefore, this project will (1) map Flemish film policy's institutional frameworks and discourses with regard to diaspora cultures and cinema (2002-2021); (2) critically investigate policy practices on Flemish diaspora film production and distribution; and (3) analyse cinematic representations of diaspora cultures. The main host institution for Alexander De Man's FWO PhD Fellowship is Ghent University (supervisor: Daniel Biltereyst), the University of Antwerp is the partner institution (supervisor: Gertjan Willems).

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The state of the nation in Belgian cinema. A research project on contemporary cinema and (trans)national identities in Belgium. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2023

Abstract

In recent years, Belgian cinema has witnessed the revival of a Belgian identity in films and in their surrounding discourses. Still, most Belgian films seem to remain predominantly associated with either the Flemish or the French Community. At the same time, while growing cultural diversity is transforming national identities in Belgian cinema, transnational and cosmopolitan identities are challenging the very notion of national identity. This research project aims at a critical investigation of the complex relationship between cinema and (trans)national identities in Belgium. The state of the nation in Belgian cinema is studied by means of quantitative and qualitative research methods, making use of digital tools and involving textual film analysis, industrial and policy analysis, and reception analysis. The project contributes to a better understanding of contemporary Belgian cinema, while also providing an original empirical contribution to the study of the relationship between media and (trans)national identities in Western Europe.

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Screening the Benelux: A comparative research project on film policy and (trans)national identity in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2021

Abstract

Located at the heart of Western Europe and together serving as the direct predecessor of the European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg (the Benelux) are closely connected historically, politically and culturally. Nevertheless, they differ greatly in terms of national identity, making the countries particularly interesting to compare. This research project aims to make such a comparison by examining the role of the media in the contemporary construction of national and transnational identities. More specifically, the project focuses on how films and film policies in Belgium (Flanders and the French Community), the Netherlands and Luxembourg relate to (trans)national identities. The time frame of the project starts in 2009, when the Euro crisis began, and runs until 2018. The study relies on quantitative and qualitative research methods, making use of digital tools and involving analysis of films, policy documents, film (policy) production and circulation data, press documents and expert interviews. The project provides an innovative contribution to the international academic agenda due to its comparative and small media industries approach and its focus on the contemporary relationship between media and (trans)national identity in Western Europe.

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Archive Fugtitive Cinema/Robbe De Hert. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

Preservation of the archive of filmmaker Robbe De Hert and his film collective Fugitive Cinema. Due to De Hert's position as a central figure in the Belgian film and cultural world since the 1960s, the historical value of this archive is beyond question. The archive will be transferred to the Felix Archives, the Antwerp City Archive. The film material (in various formats) will be deposited with CINEMATEK, the Royal Belgian Film Archive. Meemoo, the Flemish archive institute, is working on the digitisation and durable preservation of the audiovisual material.

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Film, media and nation-building in Flanders. 01/04/2019 - 30/03/2020

Abstract

This research project aims at investigating the relation between media and nation-building in Flanders. The project consists of two parts. First, the project focuses on film and nation-building in Flanders from 1945 until today. Through quantitative and qualitative textual film analyses, the project critically examines the cinematic representation of Flanders and Flemish identities. Second, the project places these findings in their broader media and cultural context. This is done by editing an interdisciplinary volume on media and nation-building in Flanders from the 19th century until today. In this second part, the project offers an original synthesis of the existing research on media and nation-building in Flanders and formulates a research agenda for the future.

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Made in Flanders? A research project on contemporary film policy and national identity in Flanders (1999-2015). 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2018

Abstract

This research project focuses on the relationship between national identity and contemporary film policy in Flanders. The aim of the project is 1) to investigate the (regional, national and supranational) government film policy framework and to analyse the role of film policy in 2) the production context of films; 3) the promotion, distribution and exhibition of films; and 4) the sort of films and the representations that are produced. Throughout the analyses, the complex relationships with Flemish identity take a central place. At the same time, several other contemporary film policy issues (e.g. transnational dimensions and digital challenges) are taken into account and the Flemish situation is put into a comparative and European perspective. The relations between film, policy and national identity will be explored through multi-methodological quantitative and qualitative research, involving policy documents analysis, analysis of film (policy) production and circulation data, expert interviews and textual film analysis. Apart from its relevance for recent Flemish and Belgian film historiography, the project provides an innovative contribution to the international academic agenda by focusing on the largely neglected field of film policy studies (particularly within the broader framework of the established field of media policy). Moreover, the project contributes to a better understanding of the contemporary relationship between media and national identity in Western Europe.

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