Dr Stuart Hanson

Job: Associate Professor - Research/Reader

Faculty: Technology

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Cinema and Television History (CATH)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 250 6196

E: shanson@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/lms

 

Personal profile

Dr Stuart Hanson is Associate Professor - Research/Reader. He teaches on a number of modules at undergraduate level and supervises postgraduate students in a number of fields relating to film and media. Before coming to DMU in 2005, Stuart taught in the Department of Cultural Studies and Sociology at The University of Birmingham, and in the Department of Media, Communication and Cultural Studies at the University of Wolverhampton.  He has been an External Examiner for Cultural Studies and Media and Communication courses at undergraduate level.  He is author of Screening the World: Global Development of the Multiplex Cinema (2019) and From silent screen to multi-screen: A history of cinema exhibition in Britain since 1896 (2007). He is currently Principal Investigator on a BA/Leverhulme-funded project entitled 'The Silver screen and the town: Memories of cinema-going, community and the revival of the local cinema'.

He is Module Leader for:

  • Film Exhibition and Consumption (undergraduate, year 3)
  • Media and History (undergraduate, year 2)
  • Media Cultures and Everyday Life (undergraduate, year 1)

Research group affiliations

Publications and outputs 

  • Screening the World: Global Development of the Multiplex Cinema
    Screening the World: Global Development of the Multiplex Cinema Hanson, Stuart This book charts the development of the multiplex cinema as the pre-eminent form of film exhibition across the world. Going from its origins in the USA in the 1960s to its expansion overseas from the mid-1980s across Europe, Australia and other parts of Pacific-Asia, the book considers the emergence of a series of initially regional, then national and then international exhibition circuits. However, more than a consideration of US overseas expansion on the part of companies, this book examines the hegemony of the multiplex as a cultural and business form, arguing for its significance as a phenomenon that has transcended national and global boundaries and which has become the predominant venue for film viewing. Implicit in this analysis is a recognition of the domination of US media multi-nationals and Hollywood cinema, and the development of the multiplex cinema as symbolic of the extension and maintenance of the USA’s cultural and economic power. With case studies ranging from European countries such as Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands, to Pacific-Asian countries such as Australia, China, Japan and South Korea, this book is the first to explore the development of multiplexes on a global scale.
  • Memories of cinema-going, community and the revival of the local cinema
    Memories of cinema-going, community and the revival of the local cinema Hanson, Stuart This presentation will consider some preliminary data from a quantitative study, undertaken by members of De Montfort University’s Cinema and Television History Research Institute and the University of Leicester’s Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies, of the audiences at three regional cinemas recently renovated and re-opened by the Mundin family – the Regal in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire; the Ritz in Belper, Derbyshire; and the Savoy in Heaton Moor, near Stockport, which suggests that the over-55s are a significant demographic in understanding the renewed appeal and success of town-centre cinemas. There is very little audience research on cinema-going outside of commercial industry-produced research, with the exception of the BFI’s small-scale study of five cinemas (‘The Impact of Local Cinema’) in 2005; which utilized some small focus groups but was nonetheless focussed largely on the cinemas and the exhibitors. Regional Screen Scotland undertook a study on the impact of local cinema (‘Your Cinema, Your Community’) in 2016 and, whilst the cinema (and geographical) landscape of Scotland has sharp differences from that of England, the issues arising around the importance of cinemas in communities validates our proposed approach. Our initial survey research, utilising some 1,350 completed questionnaires, suggests that the local cinema-going audience is characterised by an older demographic, with 67% of respondents aged 55 or over. This is in sharp contrast to the age distribution of audiences for cinema nationally – dominated as it is by out-of-town multiplexes – for which, according to the BFI (Statistical Yearbook, 2017), only 12% of the audience was aged over 55. Our survey also identified some common themes amongst respondents: the significance of the cinema’s position within the town and a concomitant support for local developments; anti-commercialist sentiments; an interest in independent film and nostalgia for (non-multiplex) cinemas. The paper was given at the 3rd Annual Community Screen Forum Conference, University of East Anglia, Norwich.
  • “Entering the age of the hypermarket cinema’: the first five years of the multiplex in the United Kingdom’
    “Entering the age of the hypermarket cinema’: the first five years of the multiplex in the United Kingdom’ Hanson, Stuart During the first five years of its development from the opening of The Point in Milton Keynes in 1985 the multiplex cinema radically changed the previous exhibition landscape, modernising the business of cinema exhibition, and shifting the site of film consumption to new, out-of-town shopping and leisure centres. This article considers some key developments in the first five years of the multiplex cinema’s introduction in the UK, with particular emphasis on three aspects of multiplex diffusion: the importance of regeneration and enterprise; the multiplex’s role in stimulating associated leisure and commercial developments; and out-of-town and regional shopping developments. In order to illustrate these themes, the article will consider the opening of four complexes: The Cannon in Salford Quays, and the AMC multiplexes in Telford in Shropshire, Sheffield and Dudley Merry Hill, in the West Midlands. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Leicester Cinema History
    Leicester Cinema History Jones, Matthew; Chibnall, S.; Ercole, Pier; Porter, Laraine; Hanson, Stuart; Acciari, Monia This public exhibition, housed in the DMU Heritage Centre, ran from February to May 2017. It charted the development, decline and resurgence of Leicester's cinema culture through a large map displaying the cinemas within the city and panels dedicated to the various types of cinemas that have operated in the surrounding area. Produced collaboratively by members of the Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre, the exhibition also featured objects and historical artefacts drawn from the Steve Chibnall Collection that highlighted the material cultures of film exhibition and consumption.
  • Natalie Portman and transgressing boundaries between childhood and adulthood in Luc Besson’s Léon
    Natalie Portman and transgressing boundaries between childhood and adulthood in Luc Besson’s Léon Hanson, Stuart This proposed chapter examines the representation of childhood in Luc Besson’s 1994 film Léon and the Director’s Cut released in 2009, and the performance of its 12-year old star, Natalie Portman. It considers the notion of innocence, traditionally embodied in children, and issues around gender in the context of the relationship between the central male character Léon (Jean Réno) and Mathilda. It also examines: the sexualisation of children; the film’s challenge to accepted notions, not only about childhood and its supposed embodiment of innocence, but about gender roles too and the relationship portrayed between children and adults. The controversy generated on Léon’s initial release and the film’s development and subsequent history, reveals a series of issues around the representation of childhood and gender, and how both intersect around the sexualisation of children. Léon: Director’s Cut was released at a moment when a debate about the sexualisation of children and of young girls in particular was emerging in Britain, though I would suggest that this was in fact the a re-emergence of a debate which had taken place in the USA in the late 1980s and 1990s. Here, as in the USA, the debate was conducted largely around the notion of the “loss of childhood”, and the part played by popular culture, in the form of textual representations. At the time she auditioned for the role of Mathilda, Natalie Portman was eleven years old. Besson observed that it was very difficult part to cast, especially as girls of this age changed so much in the space of a year, whilst the only professional actor tested proved to be ‘too professional’.
  • The rise of the multiplex
    The rise of the multiplex Hanson, Stuart In 1984 cinema attendance reached its nadir yet one year later Britain’s first multiplex, The Point, opened in Milton Keynes. It heralded a year-on-year increase in the number of multiplexes, which was echoed in a rise in admissions. During the 1980s and early 1990s the multiplex radically changed the previous exhibition landscape, modernising the business of cinema exhibition, and shifting the site of film consumption to new, out-of-town shopping and leisure centres. From the mid-1990s onwards there was a growing anxiety about the impact of out-of-town developments on Britain’s urban centres, and the multiplex cinema has been integral to the renewed emphasis on the importance of the urban core.
  • Entering the age of the hypermarket cinema’: the first five years of the multiplex in the United Kingdom
    Entering the age of the hypermarket cinema’: the first five years of the multiplex in the United Kingdom Hanson, Stuart Jim Higgins, managing director of distributor UIP, commenting on the imminent opening by American Multi-Cinema (AMC) of Britain’s first multiplex in Milton Keynes; summarised the future attraction of the multiplex when he observed that AMC had ‘identified and made us all aware of the need for cinemas to be well-situated, to provide for the car owing, highly mobile population of today’ (Screen International, 1985: 86). In general, one of the major points of divergence between traditional cinema and multiplexes has been their relative geographical siting. Historically the cinema had been seen as an urban experience, though with the advent of the multiplex it could be best described as a “suburban experience”. From the mid-1980s new multiplexes were built all over the country with the initial wave sited either on the outskirts of major conurbations on greenfield sites close to motorways and large suburban populations, or as part of existing out-of-town leisure and retail developments. This paper will consider some key developments in the first five years of the multiplex cinema’s introduction in the UK with particular emphasis on the opening of three complexes in: Telford in Shropshire, Dudley Merry Hill, in the West Midlands and Sheffield in South Yorkshire. All in various ways highlight a range of issues and concerns that help account for the rapid diffusion of multiplexes in subsequent years.
  • "Town centres first”: The relocation of the cinema from out-of-town to the town centre in Britain since 1985
    "Town centres first”: The relocation of the cinema from out-of-town to the town centre in Britain since 1985 Hanson, Stuart Though the multiplex cinema is still located predominantly outside the urban centre, changes to planning laws in the past fifteen years and a developing culture of “town centres first” has seen the re-emergence of the cinema as a key feature of the town centre. This is increasingly an economy that positions the cinema in relation to a series of other commercial and leisure enterprises, such as bars, nightclubs and restaurants. This has meant that the cinema, historically associated with the town centre of course, has become an integral part of their development once more. This chapter considers the reemergence of the cinema in the town centre and the reasons for this, how important the cinema is for specifying the urban leisure experience and the impact upon the design of cinemas. It does so through two case studies of Corby and Melton Mowbray, in the East Midlands region of the UK.
  • Contemporary Developments in Cinema Exhibition
    Contemporary Developments in Cinema Exhibition Hanson, Stuart he work offered for this PhD by Published Works charts the history of cinema exhibition in Britain from the late 1950s to the present. At the start of this period, cinemagoing as a form of public entertainment entered a long period of decline that was only arrested with the development and growth of multiplex cinemas in the 1980s and 1990s. Despite these changes, the feature film itself remained a culturally and commercially valuable artefact, though increasingly this meant the Hollywood film. Whilst due consideration is afforded to the technological changes in cinemas and the cinema apparatus, my work places the development of cinemagoing in a broad social, economic, cultural and political context, and explains how these issues impact upon on-going developments. In the late 1950s, cinemagoing declined partly in response to changing leisure habits, demographic shifts, the growth of consumer culture, television, and the widespread adoption of new broadcast technologies like home video and satellite. The multiplex returned feature films to cinemas, but was a definitively American commercial form closely associated with new forms of leisure and out-of-town retailing. There are also parallels between the context for development of the multiplex in the USA – suburbanisation, shopping malls and reliance on the motorcar – and developments in Britain in the last 30 years. To this end there is a specific emphasis on the development of the multiplex cinema as part of a wider narrative about the re-positioning of cinemagoing as a collective, public form of visual entertainment, in the period from the mid-1980s, in the context of some dramatic changes in the transient nature of capitalism and urban planning. From the early 1990s onwards there was a growing anxiety about the impact of out-of-town developments on Britain’s urban centres, and a concomitant and renewed emphasis on the importance of the urban core rather than the edge. Thus, the key to understanding the evolution of cinema exhibition today is to pay particular attention to urban planning as inherently ideological, shifting and changing in line with broader political, economic and social considerations.
  • Spoilt for Choice? Multiplexes in the 90s
    Spoilt for Choice? Multiplexes in the 90s Hanson, Stuart

Click here to view a full listing of Dr Stuart Hanson's publications and outputs 

Key research outputs

BOOKS
Screening the World: Global Development of the Multiplex Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) - https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783030189945

From silent screen to multi-screen: A history of cinema exhibition in Britain since 1896 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007)

Gray, A., Campbell, J., Erickson, M. Hanson, S. and Wood, H. (eds.) Working Papers in Cultural Studies: Volume 1 and Volume 2 (2-volume set) (London: Routledge, 2007)

CHAPTERS AND ARTICLES    

'Entering the age of the hypermarket cinema', the first five years of the multiplex in the United Kingdom', Journal of British Cinema and Television, 14:4, pp.485-502 (2017)

'The rise of the multiplex’ in I.Q. Hunter, Laraine Porter and Justin Smith (eds) The Routledge Companion to British Cinema History, London: Routledge (2017)

‘Natalie Portman and transgressing boundaries between childhood and adulthood in Luc Besson’s Léon’ in Jane O’Connor and John Mercer (eds) Childhood and Celebrity, London: Routledge (2017)

‘“Town centres first”: The relocation of the cinema from out-of-town to the town centre in Britain since 1985’ in Thissen and Zimmerman (eds) Cinema Beyond the City: Small-town and Rural Film Culture in Europe, BFI/Palgrave (2016)

‘Spoilt for Choice? Multiplexes in the 90s’, reprinted in Robert Murphy (ed.) British Cinema: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 2014).

‘De « Green field » à « Brown field »: le mouvement des multiplexes dans le centre urbain (‘From Greenfield to Brownfield: The Movement of the Multiplex into theUrban Centre’) in Laurent Creton and Kira Kitsopanidou (eds) Les Salles de cinema en Europe: enjeux, défis et perspectives (Paris: Armand Colin, 2013)

‘From out-of-town to the edge and back to the centre: Multiplexes in Britain from the 1990s’ in Moran, A. and Aveyard, K. (eds.) Watching Films: New Perspectives on Movie-Going, Exhibition and Reception (Bristol: Intellect, 2013)

‘A ‘Glittering Landmark for A 21st Century Entertainment Centre’: The Story Of The Point Multiplex Cinema In Milton Keynes’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 33:2, pp.270-88 (2013)

with Tolson, A., & Wood, H. (2013) ‘Stuart Hanson, Andrew Tolson, and Helen Wood Interview’, Cultural Studies, special issue 'Contributions to a history of CCCS', Vol. 27, double issue 5-6 pp.1-22 (2013)

“Celluloid or Silicon?’ Digital Exhibition and the Future of Specialised Film Exhibition’, Journal of British Cinema and Television Vol. 4, Issue 2, 2007, pp.370-83 (2007)

‘Spoilt for Choice? Multiplexes in the 90s’, in Murphy, R. (ed.), British Cinema of the 90s, BFI (2000)

Research interests/expertise

  • Cinema-going
  • Cinema exhibition history
  • The development of multiplex cinema
  • Digital cinema 
  • Digital cinema exhibition
  • Representations of children in film

Areas of teaching

Module Leader for:

  • MEDS3404 Film Exhibition and Consumption (undergraduate, year 3)
  • MEDS2513 Media & History (undergraduate, year 2)
  • MEDS1405 Media Cultures and Everyday Life (undergraduate, year 1)

Teaches on:

  • MEDS3000 Media & Communication Dissertation (undergraduate, year 3)
  • MEDS2401 Researching Media and Communication (undergraduate, year 2)

Qualifications

  • PhD in Cinema History, De Montfort University (2015)
  • MSocSc (Research), University of Birmingham (1999)
  • BSocSc (Hons) ‘Media, Culture and Society’ (Class 2 Division 1- Distinction), University of Birmingham (1992)
  • DipHE (Youth & Community Work), North East Wales Institute of HE (1984)

Courses taught

  • Media and Communication BA (Hons)
  • Media BA (Hons) (Joint Honours)
  • Film BA

Membership of professional associations and societies

British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS), Jan – Dec 2016, full member

European Network for Cinema and Media Studies (NECS), March 2016, full member

Projects

Stuart is a recipient of a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant - SRG18R1\180242, 2018 Round, (2019-2020); for a project entitled 'The Silver screen and the town: Memories of cinema-going, community and the revival of the local cinema'. He is Principal Investigator on the project, which commenced in March 2019, along with Prof. Helen Wood from the University of Lancaster.

Conference attendance

'The silver screen and the town: Cinema-going and the revival of the
local cinema', Exploring Cinema-going Past and Present: Memories, Cultures, Place symposium, University College, Cork, April 2019

'Memories of cinema-going, community and the revival of the local cinema' (Invited paper), 3rd Annual Community Screen Forum Conference, University of East Anglia, Norwich, August 2018

‘Screening Technologies: Current Trends in Exhibition and Distribution’ (Invited panel member), Rural Cinema in the UK: Opportunities and Challenges Conference, University of East Anglia, Norwich, August 2016.

"Entering the age of the hypermarket cinema’: the first five years of the multiplex in the United Kingdom'. HoMER@NECS Conference 2016 - Connectivity in the History of Moviegoing, Exhibition and Reception, Potsdam, Germany 2016. ZeM – Brandenburgisches Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften (Brandenburg Centre for Media Studies).

‘“Town centres first”: the relocation of the cinema from out of town to the town centre’, International Workshop on Comparative Cinema History 2013 - The Lure of the City: Cinema Culture in Small-Towns and Rural Communities in Europe, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrucken, Germany, 2013

‘From Greenfield to Brownfield: the movement of the multiplex into the urban centre’ (Invited paper) Les salles de cinéma en Europe Enjeux, défis et perspectives (Film Exhibition in Europe: Stakes, challenges and perspectives) International Conference, International Conference, Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, salle Vasari, Paris, 2011

‘The Point: Birth of the Multiplex in Great Britain’ Utrecht Workshop in Comparative Cinema History 2010 Film Exhibition in Europe, University of Utrecht, Netherlands, 2010

‘I am already grown up, I just get older’: transgressing boundaries between childhood and adulthood in Léon’, Children’s Film and Literature conference, De Montfort University, Leicester, 2010

‘D-cinema in Britain: The UK Film Council and the Digital Screen Network’ What is Film? Change & Continuity in the 21st Century, International Conference, University of Oregon, Portland, USA, 2009

‘Subsidy or the market? Digital cinema and the future of film exhibition’, “The Glow in their Eyes”, Global perspectives on film cultures, film exhibition and cinemagoing, International Conference, Ghent, 2007

Other forms of public presentation

‘Bringing cinema back to town centres: commercial opportunities and planning priorities’ invited presentation to working group on Local Cinema and Regeneration: An Exploration, organised by Regional Screen Scotland, Glasgow, May 2017

Recent research outputs

Screening the World: Global Development of the Multiplex Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) - https://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9783030189945

'Entering the age of the hypermarket cinema', the first five years of the multiplex in the United Kingdom', Journal of British Cinema and Television, 14:4, pp.485-502 (2017)

‘The rise of the multiplex’ in I.Q. Hunter, Laraine Porter and Justin Smith (eds) The Routledge Companion to British Cinema History (London: Routledge, 2017).

Externally funded research grants information

'The Silver screen and the town: Memories of cinema-going, community and the revival of the local cinema British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants - SRG18R1\180242, 2018 Round, (2019-2020); Principal Investigator.

‘Explaining Non-Participation: Towards a fuller understanding of the ‘political” (L215252015) ESRC, Democracy and Participation Research Programme - £108,244, 1st January 2000 – 31st October 2002; Co-applicant. University of Birmingham, Department of Cultural Studies and Sociology and Department of Political Science and International Relations.

CoBaLT project (Community Based Learning and Teamwork). HEFCE – Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning (FDTL) - £172,000, 1997 – 2000; Project Officer.  Collaborative project between The University of Birmingham, University of Liverpool and Liverpool Hope University College.

 

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