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20.07.19 London: Gateway to Cinema and Media Studies

The SCMS or the Society for Cinema and Media Studies is known for being one of the biggest conferences for scholars in film and media studies. In July 2019, the society ran its theme-specific conference outside the US for the first time focusing on cinema and city with the emphasis on London and the UK.

It was a perfect occasion to explore works being done on film location and related areas. One of the highlights of the conference was the walking tour of early film screenings and distribution sites, led by Ian Christie (Birkbeck, University of London). It was a superb way to explore the city's rich cinematic history starting at Leicester Square area on to various other sites including Cecil Court (previously known as the Flicker Alley, the heart of the early British film industry) and Wardour Street. 

The superb and insightful tour made me think about all sorts of things in relation to fan tourism in Southeast Asia from a recognition of the importance of cienma/art/media histories via preservation and symbolic objects such as a plaque, city design/planning and walking routes, to connecting the history of film locations with the history of film industry over time).

Apart from the walking tour, I took note on papers which highlight interesting aspects of cinema and the city including the film/star association with a town in the case of Rita Tushingham's relation to London presented by Melanie Williams (University of East Anglia) and the representations of the city in current television dramas by Matt Hills (University of Huddersfield). I also had a chance to talk to Sarah Atkinson (King’s College London) who presented the paper 'From Film Walks to Film M-apps: London as Location and the Cinemafication of the City'. It was a very educational trip and I'm very glad to have a chance to reconnect with scholars in the UK again.

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