Dr Carol Mac Keogh of IADT introduces an audience research project, funded by the British Academy, looking at audience responses to the Hobbit films.
The last film in the Hobbit trilogy is clearing out of cinemas about now. It is leaving behind quite a debate about its value. Clearly many people (and especially young viewers?) enjoyed it greatly. But many others have been disappointed and highly critical of it. We are still gathering the views of all kinds of viewers in the most ambitious project ever undertaken.
Researchers in 47 countries have already gathered nearly 30,000 responses to a survey at this address: www.worldhobbitproject.org. But we really hope to gather many more before we close our survey. The aims are as ambitious as the numbers of researchers involved.
We hope, through this project, to answer a whole series of questions, not just about this film, but about how films of this kind fit into people’s lives. How does knowing the book affect people’s judgements? Does it matter if they read it for themselves or had it read to them? Are people’s responses altered by their interest in particular actors or stars in the films? Who do we share our views on the films with, and how?eogh, World Hobbit Project But more widely, how does The Hobbit – a story written in the 1930s – fit into the world of fantasy stories which have become so successful in recent years?
Please, help us tackle these big and important questions by completing our questionnaire yourself (even if you only saw some of the Hobbit trilogy) and pointing other people to its address. The Institute of Art Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire are the Irish partners in the project.
Everything we learn – and eventually the entire database of all our responses – will be placed in the public domain for anyone to explore and benefit from.