Yesterday and today, I have been attending the Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap, the yearly gathering of communication scholars working in the Netherlands and Flanders. In such a context, it is of course highly relevant to present our work on the Dutch-Flemish remake phenomenon. Eduard Cuelenaere presented the theoretical paper we wrote for Frames (with Stijn Joye and myself as co-authors, see this previous blog post). In line with the conference theme ‘innovative methods’, I gave a presentation on the use of digital qualitative methods in historical media and communication research.
Hilde Van den Bulck receiving the Senior Career Award
This Etmaal edition was organized by Tilburg University. The evening program took place at Tilburg’s concert hall 013, an appropriate location to give a stage to some great academic work during the award ceremony. I was very happy to see that my Ghent University colleague Sara De Vuyst, who conducted an extremely relevant study on gender issues in a journalism context, received the ‘Flemish Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research in Communication Sciences’. The ‘NeFCA Senior Career Award’, honoring a lifetime of scholarly achievement in communication studies, went to Hilde Van den Bulck, professor at the University of Antwerp. A rightful choice, also from my experience, as she was an excellent professor for the course ‘national and international media policy’ I followed in 2009-2010, and her work on public televion and the ‘modernity project’ in Flanders has inspired me a lot during my PhD research. Looking forward to next year’s Etmaal in… Ghent!
Rip-Off or Resourceful Creativity? is the title of the latest special issue (edited by Sarah Smyth and Connor McMorran) of the Frames Cinema Journal, focusing on remakes. It features an article called Reframing the remake: Dutch-Flemish monolingual remakes and their theoretical and conceptual implications, by Eduard Cuelenaere, Stijn Joye and myself. The article offers some first theoretical reflections on remakes and the academic field of remake studies, stemming from our recently started research project on Dutch-Flemish remakes (cf. this previous blog post). You can read the article at full length here.
In the article, we explicitly take distance from ‘anti-remake debates’ offering a normative standpoint towards remakes. We instead aim for a more nuanced reading of the remake practice. Our argument is based upon an examination of Dutch-Flemish remakes, which proves to be an original contribution to the field of remake studies, as well as an excellent exemplar in the context of the deconstruction and reframing of discourses about the global remake practice. As a first step, we claim that the non-commercial aura of the European remake should be revisited because the Dutch-Flemish monolingual remakes clearly disclose a similar incentive to the one that often inspires Hollywood remakes: financial gains. Furthermore, our case underlines the need for a more nuanced understanding of intercultural media practices, including the cultural proximity theory. Lastly, we reveal a remarkable discrepancy between the essentialist conception of cultural identity—that is put forward by remake directors—and the constructionist conception, which is dominant in scholarly discussions.
Since a few years, I’ve been following a remarkable film production trend in the Low Countries with special attention: the practice of popular Dutch films being remade in the same language in Flanders, and vice versa. After having reflected informally about this – from an international viewpoint highly exceptional – phenomenon of remaking films within a same language region of barely 23 million speakers with my colleague Stijn Joye, we wrote a research project proposal to critically investigate this emerging trend. We were very happy to obtain funding from the Research Foundation Flanders, and since 1 September, Eduard Cuelenaere works as a PhD candidate on this project, which aims to scrutinize the various cultural and economic dynamics and dimensions involved in the Flemish-Dutch remake phenomenon. I’m looking forward to work more intensively on this project in the coming years…
Last week, Eduard presented this research project for the first time, at the ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association) conference in Prague. At that same conference, I was elected as chair of the Film Studies section (after having served four years as Young Scholars Representative of the Film Studies section). Together with the two other chairs, Laura Rascaroli (University College Cork) and Sergio Villanueva Baselga (University of Barcelona), I will do my best to increase the significance of film studies within a media and communication research context, and to organize a conference in Cork in 2017! A big thank you to the chairs who are stepping down, Helle Kannik Haastrup and Anders Marklund, for all their hard work in the last years!