About the Project

‘Beyond the Multiplex: Audiences for Specialised Film in English Regions’ was a four-year research project (conducted between 2017 and 2021), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under project reference AH/P005780/2. The project sought to develop an understanding of how a wider range of audiences might be enabled to participate in a more diverse film culture.

Beyond the Multiplex brought together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Universities of Glasgow, Sheffield, York and Liverpool. The research used mixed methods in its data collection and analyses, including the use of a data ontology, data visualisations and search tools. These are all available on the data platform.

Through a partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI)’s Film Audience Network (FAN) and regional Film Hubs the project aimed to directly impact efforts in improving regional audience figures, widening film choice, and enhancing the cultural benefits of specialised film.

Project Team

The project involved collaboration between a team of people at the Universities of Glasgow, Sheffield, York and Liverpool, with additional support from people working independently:

Principal Investigator

  • Professor Bridgette Wessels – University of Glasgow


  • Michael Pidd – University of Sheffield
  • Dr David Forrest – University of Sheffield
  • Professor Andrew Higson – University of York
  • Professor Simeon Yates – University of Liverpool

Research Associates

  • Dr Peter Merrington – University of Glasgow
  • Dr Matthew S. Hanchard – University of Glasgow
  • Dr Lito Tsitsou – University of Glasgow

Additional research was conducted for the project by:

  • Helen Rana – Independent Researcher
  • Dr Roderik Smits – University of York
  • Dr Nathan Townsend – University of York
  • Dr Huw D. Jones – University of York
  • Dr Sarah Hargreaves – University of Sheffield
  • Rosie Shute – University of Sheffield

Research Software Engineers / Development Team

  • Katherine Rogers (data ontology and data processing) – Digital Humanities Institute, University of Sheffield
  • Jamie McLaughlin (data platform and user interface) – Digital Humanities Institute, University of Sheffield


  • BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) 
    A National Lottery-supported network of organisations working to build and develop audiences for British and international cinema. Beyond the Multiplex partnered with two Film Hubs: Film Hub North led by the Showroom Workstation in Sheffield, HOME in Manchester and Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle, and Film Hub South West led by Watershed in Bristol.
  • The Audience Agency
    An independent not-for-profit consultancy working with cultural organisations to build audiences.

Advisory Board

  • Professor Ian Christie – Birkbeck, University of London
  • Mark Cosgrove – Watershed
  • Dr Liz Evans – University of Nottingham
  • Professor Sylvia Harvey – University of Leeds
  • Dr Huw D Jones – University of Southampton (previously University of York)
  • Anna Kime – Freelancer
  • Julia Lamaison – British Film Institute
  • Professor Andrew Prescott (chair) – University of Glasgow
  • Professor Philip Schlesinger – University of Glasgow