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York academics to lead €1 million research into European film and television drama

The success of Danish crime series such as The Killing and The Bridge has left many people wondering, why some European film and television dramas ‘travel’ better than others?

Now academics at the University of York are to lead a €1 million research project to uncover the answer.

The popularity of dramas such as Denmark's Forbrydelsen (The Killing) will be explored as part of the study. Image copyright DR

Professor Andrew Higson, Head of the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at York, and an expert in national and transnational cinema, will lead the three-year Mediating Cultural Encounters through European Screens (MeCETES) project.  It will also involve Professor Ib Bondebjerg (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and Professor Caroline Pauwels (Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium), and is funded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA).

The study aims to discover which European films and television dramas travel well within Europe, how they represent other European nations, cultures and identities, and how audiences engage with such screen fictions.

It will combine a broad analysis of contemporary trends in European film and television production, distribution, reception and policy, together with in-depth case studies of particular dramas produced between 2005 and 2015, including films such as The King’s Speech and In Bruges.

As well as overseeing the project as a whole, Professor Andrew Higson will lead a team at the University of York in researching contemporary European cinema. Other members of the York team include: Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr Huw D Jones, academic advisors Professor Duncan Petrie and Dr Hannah Andrews, Project Administrator Denise Mitchell and PhD research student Roderik Smits, whose work focuses on the distribution of crossover films in Europe.

A team at the University of Copenhagen, led by Professor Ib Bondebjerg, will investigate contemporary European television drama, while a third team at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, led by Professor Caroline Pauwels, will focus on European audio-visual policy and issues to do with digital distribution.

Professor Higson said: “The project comes at a time when the creative industries in Europe have gained significant cultural and economic importance. It will draw on the expertise of an Advisory Board involving academics from across Europe and partners from industry, funding bodies and policy institutions at both a national and European level.”

The three teams, who will meet regularly over the next three years, are planning to produce a series of research outputs, including three jointly-authored books, a set of policy briefings and several journal and conference papers, with the aim of influencing debates about the media in Europe.

Regular news updates and initial research findings, as well as more information about the project, can be found on the MeCETES project website:

Further information

  • Media Information: David Garner +44 (0) 1904 322153
  • For more information on the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York, please visit