From Magic Lantern to the Internet

21-23 July 2003
Exeter University

An international conference organised by the AHRB Centre for British Film and Television Studies, and the Bill Douglas Centre, University of Exeter.

This conference is the culmination of an AHRB project investigating the continuities between nineteenth-century optical recreations and subsequent screen technologies.

One of the most dominant critical concerns of recent years has been the attempt to understand the impact of a multimedia culture. The scope and limits of a multimedia culture have become associated with issues of virtual reality; interactivity; media convergence and hybridity; body/technology couplings, etc. These familiar narratives, however, have a much more extended history than is often realised.  

Multimedia Histories will examine the long genealogy of multimedia usage and discourse. From the 19th C onwards, the proliferation of screen technologies and optical recreations has been an important element of popular culture. Moreover, the exhibition and consumption of these entertainments was often defined by their interrelationship. The mid nineteenth-century drawing room, for example, typically included stereoscopes and praxinoscopes alongside the magic lantern.

The conference is keen to pursue a comparative approach by focusing on specific historical moments of convergence and hybridity. In so doing, it aims to locate the aesthetics of the new media in relation to an intermedial tradition of public and domestic forms of screen entertainment. The principal question it hopes to address is this - to what extent do recent multimedia technologies extend established features of cinema, television, and the panoply 19th C and 20th C optical recreations?

Papers are particularly invited on the following key areas:

It is planned to produce an edited collection of papers from the conference.

Please send abstracts of c.300 words to: or,

or by hardcopy to:

Multimedia Conference
School of English
University of Exeter
Queen's Building
Queen's Drive

Deadline for Abstracts: 1 January 2003


Last modified 4 November, 2002 ;