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Crime Conference

Symposium in Aalborg, October 1st and 2nd 2015


About the conference

Genres of crime are diverse and in constant development. Crime fiction adapts to other genres as well as other media in order to develop. Nevertheless, traditional crime series still attract a lot of attention and crime is still, across national and international television traditions and new ways of watching, very conspicuous in prime time television.

Long-running TV-shows such as Tatort (1970-), Der Alte (1976-) and Midsomer Murders (1996-) still en-compass the power of genre traditions, while so-called ‘quality TV-series’ such as The Wire (2002-08) and True Detective (2014-) serve as examples of genre renewal. Somewhere between tradition and renewal, between national and transnational attention, we find the Scandinavian brand Nordic noir with series such as The Killing (2007-12) and The Bridge (2011-) – in the UK followed by Broadchurch (2013), Hinterland  (2013) and Shetland (2013). All of the above mentioned examples combine local/national and transnational elements, but they do so in different ways. Some of the shows are ‘steady-sellers’ (Tatord) while others are contemporary ‘bestsellers’ suspended after three seasons (The Killing). An intentional transnational trend is recently represented by The Team (2015) and Fortitude (2015).

We ask the following questions: Does crime (still) pay, or is the genre on television challenged by other genres and other audience interests?  Which picture do ratings show? How well does crime pay financially and in terms of public response and goodwill? In which ways has crime series production developed over the years? Can the crime genre keep up its peak position in popular television drama? What happens to production traditions, audience response and content when crime series are produced and distributed by on-demand streaming services, e.g. Netflix?

Four different on-going research projects all deal with crime series in one way or another. This two-day symposium is arranged as an exchange of expertise among international television drama scholars as well as professionals:

MECETES: Mediating cultural encounters through European Screens, HERA, 2013-2017, production-, text-, and audience studies, coordinators Andrew Higson & Ib Bondebjerg, http://mecetes.co.uk.

SIFTI: Success in the Film and Television Industries Norway/UK/Belgium, 2013-2015, production studies, coordinators: Eva Bakøy, Roel Puiik, Andrew Spicer: http://www.sifti.no/index.php/en/),

Media Experiences: Researching Roaming Audiences, 2013-2016, UK/Sweden (Wallenberg Foundation) production and audience studies, coordinator Annette Hill, http://mediaexperiences.blogg.lu.se)

What Makes Danish TV drama travel? 2014-2018, Denmark (FKK+ AU Ideas), transnational production-, text-, and audience studies, coordinator Anne Marit Waade, http://danishtvdrama.au.dk)

The research projects include scholars with different methodological approaches: productions studies, text studies, and audience studies. It is our aim to bring together these projects with industry partners and other international experts of crime series on television. The symposium seeks to establish a common ground for knowledge exchange in order to better understand the persistence of crime in television drama. We bring together experts in crime series in order to uncover the myths of crime fiction and pose key questions about the perseverance of a dominant television genre.