Exeter’s Bill Douglas Cinema Museum offers research stipends for comic archive and more

Charlie Chaplin film publicity poster: Charlot
Charlie Chaplin film publicity poster: Charlot

Some stipends have been made available for research at Exeter’s Bill Douglas Cinema Museum. They have several holdings of interest to comics scholars, including film tie-in comics dating back to 1910s, magic lantern slides, items relating to photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

The deadline for applications is the end of May.

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum at the University Exeter, is both a public museum and a rich research resource for scholars of moving image history, named after the renowned filmmaker Bill Douglas and was founded on the extraordinary collection of material he put together with his friend Peter Jewell. In the twenty years since its opening, it’s received donations from many sources and now has over 80,000 artefacts on the long history of the moving image from the seventeenth century to the present day.

Thanks to the support of the Bill Douglas and Peter Jewell Fund the Museum is offering a small number of stipends, for both UK and Internal-based researchers, for 2019-2020 to enable research using the collections at The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.

WDL John Wayne adventure comicsThe UK stipends are available to academics, postgraduate students and other researchers based in the UK, and are worth up to £500 each and the International Stipends are available to scholars and other researchers from outside the UK and are worth up to £1500 each.

The monies are to be used for travel and accommodation costs incurred while visiting the Museum to undertake significant research that will be enhanced by access to its collections. Proposed research should contribute to publication or other demonstrable outcomes, such as films or artworks. Successful applicants will be required to write a blog post for the museum’s website about their research following their visit. You will find details of previous years’ stipends and the blogs that stipend holders contributed here.

The monies must be spent by April 30th 2020.

Flip the Frog Annual 1934The museum’s collections are very diverse, and have the potential to enrich research in histories of film, media and visual culture, cultural and social history, audience and fan studies, media production history, and technological and labour histories of cinema. The collections have particular strengths in ‘Pre-cinema’ optical media, cinema ephemera and material culture and they also hold some production papers relating to key British independent filmmakers: Bill Douglas, Don Boyd, James Mackay and Gavrik Losey.

Recent acquisitions include The Pamela Davies Collection of photographs related to the career of one of the British film industry’s leading continuity supervisors and The Townly Cooke Collection of silent film stills and ephemera, owned by artist and photographer Townly Cooke .

Alice in Wonderland Magic Lantern Slide - UndatedThe Museum is  particularly keen to receive applications for the study of areas of distinctive strength in the collections, such as its Optical Toys, Magic Lanterns, Panoramas and Dioramas, including the research papers of Ralph Hyde, Early Cinema (1895-1914), Charlie Chaplin, Silent Cinema, especially in the UK, Sheet Music, Star ephemera, Cinema going, Film and material culture, Fiction about film, Film Press-books and campaign material, the films of Bill Douglas, and Independent cinema in Britain since the 1970s.

For details on how to apply for one of the stipends available and more about the research opportunities visit this page on the Museum’s web site

• The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, University of Exeter, The Old Library, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter EX4 4SB | Web | TripAdvisor | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

• The BBC’s Mark Kermode is a huge fan of the Museum and reported on it here in 2017. “It’s like walking through a history of cinema… It’s exciting. It’s fun!”

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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