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South East Film & Video Archive, University of Brighton


The majority of the regional and national film collections, as found in public sector archives and museums across the UK, have been under-funded and neglected for far too long. As a consequence, far too little academic research has been devoted to these collections. This valuable material can inform the many histories which are important to the study of the C20th - histories of film and media, art and design, narrative, visual representation, popular culture, life at home and work, technology, leisure, tourism, commemoration, urban and rural development and regional and national identity. This project will focus on these public collections in order to identify their nature, their value to higher education, the access issues relevant to their use and to generate dialogue between the archives/museums and the academic community on how to develop the film and television studies research culture.

SEFVA is a UK regional film archive and it is a member of the UK Film Archive Forum, the organisation that represents the regional and nation public sector moving image archives in the UK. SEFVAís public sector partners are drawn from the regionís record offices and museums and it is involved in a number of museum-based projects on film and cultural history. This creates a strong base for research into this regionís film and media history and provides opportunities for the exhibition and display of regional films in public venues.

The project, in broad terms, will have four inter-related activities:

  1. collection and publication on the Centre's web-site of information on the UK film archives and museums relevant to their use by the UK research community;
  2. analysis of general and specific characteristics of these collections in terms of their own histories and situation within UK public culture and their value to the enrichment of UK film and television studies;
  3. a programme of events related to the work of this strand (i.e. workshops, screenings, and seminars);
  4. the publication of a number of articles on the position and the utility of the film archives and museums to HE and, if funding can be generated, the publication of new DVDs of film and television material from these collections.

The project will identify the appropriate critical apparatus required to investigate these collections, recognising that a significant amount of the material found in regional collections falls outside of the dominant understanding of film and television history because of its non-industrial nature. A multi-disciplinary approach to the study of this material will be very valuable. Besides film and television historians, the strand will seek to involve scholars from art & design history, cultural studies, cultural geography, labour history, business history and social and economic history.

The project hopes that it will develop a policy dimension by working with the Film Archive Forum to produce policy statements on how to sustain and develop these public collections in a digital age and the steps required to develop the first national catalogue of these resources and a relevant national research plan.

The two-year appointment of a Junior Research Fellow, Elaine Sheppard, to this project (from July 2001 to June 2003) will represent the most intense and sustained period of this five-year programme.


Frank Gray
South East Film and Video Archive
University of Brighton
Grand Parade
Brighton BN2 2JY

01273 643213




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Last modified 6 October, 2005 ; web@bftv.ac.uk