Film Hub North: How Audiences Form

This project involved the School of English, Department of Sociological Studies and the DHI working with Film Hub North and the BFI to develop a Strategic Plan for developing audience engagement in national cinema.

In late 2012 the BFI established nine Regional Film Hubs throughout the UK as part of the new Film Audience Network ( The Film Audience Network is a major BFI initiative to both increase and widen audience engagement with specialised and independent cinema through innovative programming and events.fhn

The proposed collaboration was between the School of English, the Department of Sociological Studies, The Digital Humanities Institute and Film Hub North. Film Hub North is led by the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield. The aim of the project was to inform Film Hub North’s strategic R&D plan: a) understand existing modes of audience engagement with specialised and independent cinema in the north of England, b) identify any emerging trends (such as the increasing use of social media channels) and c) determine the region’s readiness for initiatives aimed at improving audience engagement.

The purpose of the collaboration was to assist Film Hub North in its mission to increase and widen audience engagement by undertaking the landscape research that was necessary to inform the Hub’s future activities. The specialised and independent cinema sector is fragmented and diverse, with only partial regional coverage, whilst the practices and preferences of audiences – including audiences that have no access to a venue – is poorly understood and likely to demonstrate significant variability. Further, emerging trends such as Cinime (see; an app which provides access to special offers and information during your cinema visit) and Tugg (see; a site that enables users to vote for screenings at their local cinema) might present opportunities to transform the way in which we currently engage with film culture and cinema venues.

The project informed Film Hub North’s understanding of cinema provision and participation in the north, thereby enabling it to develop, plan and implement its mission in this region. The outcomes of the project were an interactive map that enables the stakeholders and public to visualise aspects of cinema provision and audience participation using the collected data, and a draft Strategic Plan that included an analysis of the data, highlighting the characteristics, trends and issues.

A further major outcome was the AHRC funded project Beyond the Multiplex

Duration: 14th April 2014 – 31st July 2014


Related Links

Project Team

  • Dr David Forrest (Principal Investigator – School of English)
  • Dr Bridgette Wessels (Co-Investigator – Department of Sociological Studies)
  • Michael Pidd (The Digital Humanities Institute)
  • Dr Steven Corbett (Research Associate – Department of Sociological Studies)
  • Ryan Bloor (Developer – The Digital Humanities Institute)
  • Ian Wild (Chief Executive – Showroom & Workstation)
  • Melanie Crawley (Marketing & Development Manager – Showroom & Workstation)
  • Anna Kime (Manager – Film Hub North)