We received this email from Martin Barker, a friend of the conference, and are delighted to be able to extend a helping hand to his and his team's audience research. Read it, then complete the survey.
Dear Friends and Colleagues
This week four of us (Kate Egan (Aberystwyth), Sarah Ralph and Tom Phillips (UEA) and myself) launch a research project. We are trying to capture people’s memories of watching the film Alien, from anyone and anywhere in the world. It is a project that I personally have wanted to mount for over a decade. It may seem an odd thing to emphasise, but this project is entirely self-funded. Ten years ago, Kate Egan and I applied to the AHRC for funding for a much bigger version, but it got turned down. That happens. But what really got us was one referee’s comment, that Alien simply wasn’t worth spending time studying. That dismissal made me even more determined to do it. What we’re doing now is a version stripped down to what could be managed without funding support.
What do we hope to learn? A great many things, actually, but among them these: (1) what labels would different people attach to the film, and how do their choices connect to what they see as its most salient features? (2) how do men and women compare in their responses to the film – a question made particularly interesting by the ways in which Alien has featured as an exemplar within feminist film theory? (3) how does age – and also age in relation to when the film was first seen – affect people’s responses? (4) what changes about people’s perceptions of the film when they watch it repeatedly? (5) How do people’s responses to Alien relate to their general sense of connection with film and cinema? This is a small sample of what we believe we will be able to learn, providing we get a sufficient number and range of responses to fill all the various categories. And that’s the key.
The favour, then, is simply to ask you to tell other people you know about this, by copying this message out to friends, etc, to any email lists to which you belong, or by posting the survey address to web fora, Facebook pages, or whatever. And, of course, fill in the survey yourself, if you’ve seen the film – whatever your response to it. We are promising to make all our results publicly available.
The survey’s web address is: www.remembering-alien.org.
Of course, if you have any queries about the project, I will do my best to answer them. Thanks, hopefully, in advance.