Proposal for a Teach session: Cinema Context workshop


Cinema Context workshop: reconstructing cinema networks

Julia Noordegraaf, Kathleen Lotze and Karel Dibbets

The database Cinema Context provides a wealth of data on the films, cinemas, people and companies that made up the Dutch landscape of cinema distribution and exhibition from 1896 until the present. This workshop aims to test the research affordances of the database by utilizing it to reconstruct the network of cinemas and cinema owners in the Netherlands in the past. It is of interest to researchers in the history of film, theatre, art, music and books who want to gain experience in using existing, structured data in historical network research. We will work with Excel, MS Access and network analysis and visualization software (Gephi) – no previous experience with digital data and tools is required.

Part 1: introduction to the database and MS Access; development of research question; data collection and preparation for analysis and visualization.

Part 2: introduction to Gephi, network analysis and visualization; comparison of results; conclusions.


Relevant Readings:


Karel Dibbets, “Cinema Context and the genes of film history”, in: New Review of Film and Television Studies, 8-3 (2010), p. 331-342:

Claire Lemercier, ‘Formal network methods in history: why and how?’:

Scott Weingart blog, Demystifying networks, part 1: An introduction:

Idem, part 9: Bimodal networks:


Further Reading:

Historical Network Research:

Cheat Sheet: Social Network Analysis for Humanists (list of relevant concepts):