GUEST-Normandie (Groupe Universitaire d’Études sur les Séries Télévisées basé en Normandie) is a research project which explores audiovisual serial fiction as narrative, aesthetic and ideological artworks existing on an ever-increasing number of platforms.
It is funded by the region of Normandy in France. It was awarded a three-year grant (€ 37,800) in 2013 and a post-doctoral research grant in 2014. In June 2016 the programme was renewed for another three years and renamed “GUEST Season 2”. Support by Normandy this time includes funding for doctoral research (€ 95,000), the total budget reaching € 130,000 euros.
GUEST was initiated by a team of researchers from the universities of Le Havre, Rouen and Caen in Normandy. The research centres GRIC in Le Havre and ERIAC (Rouen), which focus on the construction of identities within and across cultures, started organising conferences and events on TV fiction series in 2009 and their collaborative work provided a solid basis for the wider network that later became GUEST-Normandie.
One of the aims of the project is to support and structure collaboration between scholars working in the field not only in Normandy but also in other universities in France and abroad. Each three-year programme is carried out by a group of over 30 French academics and doctoral students, with a core of about 20 members belonging to both GUEST-Normandie (GUEST1, 2013-2016) and GUEST Season 2 (GUEST2, 2016-2019).
Another objective has been to develop the online peer reviewed journal TV/Series (http://tvseries.revues.org), created in 2012 and at first hosted by the University of Le Havre.
GUEST1: Fiction and reality in contemporary English-language TV series
The first programme financed through GUEST-Normandie (“Les séries télévisées : fiction et réalité”) explored the relations between fiction and reality in contemporary English-language TV series, focusing on aesthetic, ideological, political, sociological and cultural issues. One part of the project was devoted to content analysis and reception studies, the other to the development of dissemination tools.
The group organised 6 one-day conferences in Normandy, on subjects ranging from “Reflexivity” to “Representations of the Body”, “Interactions between TV series and cinema” or “TV series and their audiences”. Two Master Classes (one on sitcoms and one on audiovisual translation), as well as a doctoral seminar and a seminar on “Network TV”, also took place in Normandy. Each year, GUEST also holds a three-day conference organised by a member of the project in his or her university: in 2014, the conference was on “TV series and War”; in 2015, on “Literature and TV series” and in 2016 on “Cinema and Seriality”.
The project has so far produced 7 monographs, 14 co-edited books and 85 journal articles or book chapters. These achievements in the course of the three-year programme make GUEST-Normandie the most active and productive research group on TV series in France.
GUEST2: Gender issues in fiction series, interactions between TV series and other art forms, digital dissemination
GUEST Season 2 (“Séries télévisées : enjeux de genre, relations avec les autres arts et valorisations numériques”) will concentrate on gender issues in fiction series and on the interactions between TV series and other art forms. GUEST2 also intends to further expand the dissemination of our research (through translation, for instance) and to experiment with innovative ways of presenting the results of our work (through online video essays in particular).