How Formal Does ICARG/HOMER Want to Be?

I’m in!

Since it’s inception, the International Cinema Audiences Research Group (ICARG)/History of Moviegoing, Exhibition, and Reception Project (HOMER), has been very much an informal network of people in communication with one another.

First, a word about the ICARG/HOMER relation or distinction. The fifteen or so of us who came up with these names envisioned ICARG as the larger, “container” group, which could include all manner of scholars working on audiences, reception, and exhibition. We envisioned HOMER as a sub-group of scholars, often working collaboratively, whose work was specifically taking the form of gathering large sets of information (“data”) and making it available for interested users via the world wide web. HOMER, with its specific focus, has so far been the more robust group.

“Membership” has taken three related forms: a) (the “strongest” form) developing a web-based database and attending one of our roughly annual working group meetings (Washington, DC in 2004; London, in advance of SCMS, in 2005; Amsterdam, in advance of the “Cinema in Context” conference in 2006; Ghent, in advance of the “Glow in Their Eyes” conference this December); b) (the “medium” form) attending one of our working group meetings; c) (the “moderate” form) being a member of our e-mail listserv distribution list (currently numbering about 65–I’ll confirm that and post an exact number later).

At the Amsterdam meeting, a subsection of the HOMER group–namely, Clara Parfort-Overduin, John Sedgwick, Richard Maltby, and I–volunteered to serve as a sort of steering group. In that capacity we run the listserv website, applied for a grant to hold a meeting at the Rockefeller Bellagio Research Center (which we didn’t get), have initiated some information gathering and the idea for collective book project (discussed under “joint research projects” on this blog), and have–along with the organizers of the Ghent conference–set up our forthcoming meeting and started this blog. But none of us are “elected” or “hold office” in the sense we might in a more formal scholarly organization.

From this brief sketch of ICARG/HOMER history, it seems to me the following questions arise:

1. Do we want to get more formal?  If so, how formal?  Are there some useful models out there for us?

2. Do we want to amplify the ICARG part of what we do, to draw in more scholars who are not doing database work?

3. Do we feel it useful or necessary to have a separate graduate student branch?

In further posts I will propose some answers (or thoughts) on these questions.  But I very much welcome comments.

AK

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