Call for Papers – 2nd NOS-HS Workshop “Cinema audiences and film programming at the Northern periphery, 1930-1950s. Sources, methods, and tools”

28–29 September 2023, DFI Copenhagen

The NOS-HS workshop series is exploring the impact of the Second World War on the cinemas and their audiences in the Nordic countries. The second workshop, titled “Cinema audiences and film programming at the Northern periphery, 1930-1950s. Sources, methods, and tools”, will focus on the films screened at the cinemas, the programming and distribution of films within and across the Nordic countries during the 1930s-1950s period.

We are interested in learning more about audience preferences and film programming strategies in the Nordic countries during this period. Some of the key questions we hope to address include: How did the war affect audience choices and film programming strategies? Which genres and films were popular, and how did audience tastes change? What influence did distributors, governmental authorities, economic networks, or cultural traditions have on the films screened at the cinemas?

Our key aim is to instigate new research by learning more about sources, methods, and tools. We are particularly interested in papers that discuss sources, perhaps previously overlooked ones, that yield information about local, regional, and transnational film preferences and audience tastes. We also welcome presentations that explore (digital) methods or tools that can be used to organize and analyse these materials.

The two-day workshop will include a hands-on seminar for all participants, under the guidance of digital history expert Thunnis van Oort. The seminar will utilise pre-collected data of film screenings in selected cities and provide an opportunity to learn about and apply quantitative methods to analyse patterns and trends in film programming in the Nordic countries during WWII. The participants are expected to have some knowledge of excel, but otherwise no prior experience in statistical analysis is needed.

We invite the submission of papers which explore audience tastes and film programming in the Nordic countries between the 1930s and 1950s. We encourage specifically early-career scholars and postgraduate students to apply. 

Possible topics:

  • Impact of war and occupation on cinema-going habits and audience tastes
  • Comparison of audience tastes within or across the Nordic countries
  • Popularity of particular films and genres
  • The question of choice in rural/isolated areas
  • Role of government policies and censorship in shaping audience preferences and film programming strategies
  • Impact of Nazi Germany’s aggressive expansion on the supply and distribution of film
  • Cinema operators and distributors’ responses to political and economic shifts
  • Local, regional, and transnational distribution networks
  • Oral history and private memories
  • Challenges and opportunities of using digital tools to analyse film-related data
  • Role of digital archives in uncovering local and regional film preferences and programming patterns
  • Use of digital mapping tools to visualize patterns of film movement

The workshop is funded by the Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS) exploratory workshop grant. Its goal is to establish a transdisciplinary network of scholars and non-academic experts to foster and strengthen research on cinema history in the North.

Keynotes (confirmed):

  • Thunnis van Oort, Post-doc at Radboud University, Netherlands
  • Pelle Snickars, Professor of Digital Cultures at Lund University, Sweden
  • Roel Vande Winkel, Assoc. Prof. of Film and Television Studies at KU Leuven, Belgium


Please submit an abstract of up to 300 words, a short CV and list of publications until 23 April 2023 to the following email address:

Deadline for submission of abstractsSunday, 23 April 23

Letters of acceptance/rejection: 15 May 2023

We provide accommodation and meals during the workshop. Travel costs (public transport and, if necessary, economy flights) will be reimbursed.

For any queries regarding a potential topic or the workshop, please contact Prof. Maria Fritsche