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Film Studios: Infrastructure, Culture, Innovation in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, 1930-60.

Project description

The transformation of Europe’s past film industry

Between 1930 and 1960, the European film industry flourished in Britain, France, Germany and Italy. However, a knowledge gap exists on the factors that affected the sector due to war circumstances and post-war events, which included political changes, the labour movement, and the introduction of new technologies. The EU funded STUDIOTEC project suggests a new methodology based on the comparison of empirical data and transnational processes. The project will study film studios as both artistic and entrepreneurial structures and will evaluate how the transnational movement affected creative acts. The research will be based on interconnected issues including the studio’s infrastructures, artistic creativity, the role of politics, the economy and labour relations.


This project investigates film studios across four major European production sites: Britain, France, Germany and Italy, 1930-60. During these years studios were transformed as they responded to challenges including wartime disruptions, post-war fragmentation, movement of labour and the introduction of new technologies. While these countries have attracted their own historical literatures, this project proposes for the first time their comparative analysis from the perspective of film studio tectonics, cultures and practices. The project is underpinned by the idea of tectonics as a metaphorical way into understanding the studios’ multiple, stratified, shifting experiences as architectural spaces, diverse working environments and locations for innovation. The study of film studios has been dominated by the centralized Hollywood ‘system’, and local studio histories are typified by discrete, linear and undertheorized approaches. This project proposes a more dynamic materialist methodology, linking empirical data with comparative, transnational developments which occurred during a major period of change within the four key production sites. Using historical research and a range of spatial analysis, 3D and VR tools, the project will explore studio spaces as diverse creative and economic infrastructures which both extended and challenged the range of contemporaneous models. The team will investigate how artistic practices responded to transnational flows in film studio expertise while constituting formative, materially-based ‘spaces of the imagination’. Research will be structured around four major interrelated themes: 1) Architecture and Infrastructure; 2) Creativity, Practices and Innovation; 3) Politics and Economics; 4) Professional and Labour relations. The project will create new understandings of how the collaborative and material environments of studio spaces and technologies shaped film production and cultures.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 678 864,00
BS8 1QU Bristol
United Kingdom

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South West (England) Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bristol/Bath area Bristol, City of
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 678 864,00

Beneficiaries (3)