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Bid to Find the Whereabouts of Britain's Screen Heritage

24 September 2007

The National Media Museum, in partnership with the British Universities Film and Video Council and Screen Archive South East, is undertaking a national survey to uncover our heritage of artefacts relating to film, television and other screen-based media. The outcome will be the first-ever directory of UK moving image and screen-related artefacts, helping us all to plan for the better preservation, access and understanding of the UK’s screen heritage.

From technology – cameras, lighting, projectors, sound and video equipment – to scripts, designs, photographs, costumes, props, memorabilia and even buildings, the range of what constitutes the history of screen media goes well beyond the films or programmes themselves. It is a history that stretches back before the invention of film, when magic lantern slide shows were common and optical toys were to be found in many a Victorian parlour; and it continues to develop with the computer games, consoles and handheld technologies of today. Such artefacts can be found in collections around the UK, often in unexpected places. But while there are directories to moving image and related document collections, there is currently nothing to help researchers uncover the range of physical evidence that is our screen heritage.

The lead partners in this project are the National Media Museum, the British Universities Film & Video Council and Screen Archive South East. They are part of the UK Screen Heritage Network, a group of museums, archives, media producers, broadcasters and academic institutions that has come together under the auspices of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) to advance the concept of screen heritage and encourage its preservation and promote wider access. This, the Network’s first major collaborative project, is being undertaken with the aid of an MLA Renaissance programme grant.

Over the next few months the project will be contacting museums and archives across the nation seeking to uncover the treasures held in their collections. An online survey is being launched on today (24 September) at http://screenheritage.wordpress.com and will run until 30 November 2007. It is open to any UK collection with artefacts relating to the moving image and screen-related media which may be accessible to the public or researchers. The information gathered will be used to create the first-ever online database of moving image objects in UK collections. The database is intended to increase everyone’s awareness, understanding and enjoyment of the UK’s screen heritage and improve access to the rich range of artefacts relating to the screen media.

For more information contact:

Project head: Michael Harvey at National Media Museum, Bradford

E-mail: michael.harvey@nationalmediamuseum.org.uk Tel: 01274 203374
Project researcher: Linda Kaye at British Universities Film & Video Council

E-mail: linda@bufvc.ac.uk Tel: 020 7393 1518
The survey form and further information on the project and the Screen Heritage Network can be found on the project blog at http://screenheritage.wordpress.com

 

Notes for editors

1. Images are available for reproduction. Contact Caroline Vose – caroline.vose@nationalmediamuseum.org.uk, tel: 01274 203305.

2. The Screen Heritage Network is one of a number of Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs) set up by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council as part of the Renaissance programme (http://www.mla.gov.uk/website/programmes/renaissance). SSNs are a focus for the expertise and collections knowledge of collections managers, keepers and curators throughout the UK. The aims of the Screen Heritage Network are to:

· advance the concept of screen heritage

· bring together the organisations, practitioners and collectors related to screen heritage

· explore how the screen heritage sector can best promote its interests and advancement through networking and partnerships

· promote best practice in the sector

· encourage conservation, preservation and wider access

· locate the work of this sector within the wider social, economic and cultural context, nationally and internationally

3. The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (http://www.mla.gov.uk) is the lead strategic agency for museums, libraries and archives.

4. The National Media Museum (http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk) (formerly the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television) exists to engage, inspire and educate by promoting an understanding and appreciation of photography, film, television, radio and the web; using its collection and knowledge to deliver a cultural programme accessibly and authoritatively.

5. The British Universities Film & Video Council (http://www.bufvc.ac.uk) promotes the use of moving images and related media in UK higher education and research. Its Researcher’s Guide Online database of moving image and related collections in the UK will be used as the eventual home for the data collected for the Screen Heritage survey.

6. Screen Archive South East (http://www.brighton.ac.uk/screenarchive/) is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. Established in 1992 at the University of Brighton as the South East Film & Video Archive, the function of this regional screen archive is to locate, collect, preserve, provide access to and promote screen material related to the South East and of general relevance to screen history.