Screening European Heritage call for papers

  • The Leeds Centre for World Cinemas and B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies
  • 12-13 September 2013, University of Leeds

Screening European Heritage is an AHRC-funded scoping study under the 'Care for the Future' strategic theme. We invite proposals for 20-minute papers and panels for an international conference to be held at the University of Leeds, 12-13 September 2013.

From La Reine Margot (1994) to The King's Speech (2010), historical dramas dominate mainstream European film production and often generate major national debates on the role of the past in contemporary national identity construction. Defined in the 1990s as 'hritage films' the makers of such films frequently work in partnership with the wider heritage industry in order to secure funding for their productions. And the films, along with the debates they generate, often shape the subsequent marketing and curatorial strategy of the heritage sites they foreground in their stories.

Led by the Centre for World Cinemas at the University of Leeds in collaboration with B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies, Screening European Heritage examines the representation of Europe's past on contemporary screens, what this says about cultural attitudes to the past and how this reflects, and can be shaped by, the policies and practice of cultural institutions now and in the future. In the process, it raises questions around the role and value of the past in cultural and societal change, investigating how history is re-imagined by the contemporary film and heritage industries and to what end.

We invite papers that engage with one or more of the project's three main research questions:

  • What role does European, national and regional cultural policy play in the production of heritage films and how do filmmakers negotiate such policy?
  • How are heritage films consumed across and beyond Europe? Who is their audience? What are the mechanisms of their consumption and how do these mechanisms map onto those of the wider heritage industry?
  • How do heritage films extend, or delimit, the possibilities of historical representation? How do their various modes of emotional engagement with history underline, or reflect tensions in, the aims of the heritage industry as a whole?

Please email abstracts of approximately 250 words by 15 June to

In conjunction with this call for papers, the project also wishes to announce the launch of its website. Apart from providing further information about the project, its research aims and network members, the website also offers a growing number of resources on contemporary European heritage film.