North East Film Archive merges with the Yorkshire Film Archive
Some of you will already know of the recent negotiations between Yorkshire Film Archive and the North East Film Archive, which have all focused on how we safeguard our regional film collections for the future, and, most importantly, how we create new opportunities for people to see and engage with over one hundred years of moving image heritage from Yorkshire and the North East of England.
We are now delighted to formally announce the successful merger of the two organisations, which come together under the Yorkshire Film Archive banner, and already we are looking towards a new and exciting future - and a great deal of hard work!
However, before we begin in earnest we felt that it was important for us to draw breath and reaffirm our reasons behind the merger, which always begins with our film collections – how we care for them, grow them, and create access to them so that they can been seen and enjoyed by everyone.
To deliver that, we have a new organisational structure, which we would also like to share with you.
Finally, we know that our future will be determined not only by our own hard work, but by listening to our audiences, our depositors, our partners and our stakeholders, and by building strong partnerships to carry us forward in our work to care for, and share, the moving image heritage of our two regions. We are hugely excited about the new opportunities this partnership will bring, and we welcome your views, comments and thoughts.
Together, the two archives will hold collections of over 50,000 titles, dating from the late 1890s to the present day, and documenting the geographic, social, industrial and cultural landscape of Yorkshire and the North East of England. Our collections are largely non-fiction, and include both professional and amateur material – from documentaries, newsreels, corporate and television collections to home movies that reflect family life, work, leisure, community events and celebrations over the decades.
From rare footage of Queen Victoria when she visited Sheffield in 1897, to the Launching of the Whitley Bay Lifeboat in 1912, through to life on the home front during the two world wars, to happier family times with holidays on the beach – whether its Bridlington, Scarborough, Whitby, Redcar or Bamburgh! The industrial heritage of both regions is also reflected strongly in films of shipbuilding, steel, mining, textiles, as well at the agricultural and fishing industries so important to both Yorkshire and the North East of England. As always, please do visit both websites for video content and catalogue information, and do contact us directly [email YFA ~ email NEFA] for any specific research enquiries you may have.
Organisational Structure – Key Facts
• The two archives now come together under the Yorkshire Film Archive banner and charity, however we know that we are working across two regions with immensely strong identities. This is reflected strongly in the collections we hold, and we will continue to celebrate this in all our work. The two archives will both retain their regional titles ( see below for NEFA ), and services and activities will be run from both sites, in York, where YFA is based on the campus of York St John University, and in Middlesbrough, where NEFA is based on the campus of Teesside University.
• Note: We have made a small change to the previous title of Northern Region Film & Television Archive, which now becomes the North East Film Archive ( NEFA )
• Colin Philpott will continue to Chair the YFA Board of Trustees, which will be expanded to include key representatives from the North East. Colin’s experience to date with the YFA Board as well as his professional background as a media consultant and strategist, and previously as Director of the National Media Museum, and Head of BBC Yorkshire, will be of real benefit as we enter this new phase of management and delivery across tow regions.
"We are hugely excited about the new opportunities this partnership will bring. Our first job is to safeguard the film heritage of these two regions, by undertaking the vital work of finding and preserving these film collections. But we are not preserving these films simply for posterity, what is most exciting is that we are actively creating new opportunities to see and engage with our collections – the films were not meant to be hidden away in vaults – they are there to be seen and enjoyed by everyone, and that is what we are working towards."
• The new partnership with Teesside University has also been critical to completing the merger, and they will play an active role in furthering academic use of the collections and instigating new opportunities for unlocking archive content. Professor Graham Henderson CBE DL, Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive at the University, is delighted to play a role in hosting an enhanced archive on campus.
"Teesside University is a dynamic and ambitious university of national renown, but we are also proud of our regional heritage and identity. We’re committed to being at the heart of communities and business across the North East and Yorkshire – delivering education and research and reaching out to schools and community partners to connect with them through education, sport and the arts."
• Sue Howard will become Director of both the Yorkshire Film Archive and the North East Film Archive. In her role at YFA, she has overseen the development of the Archive from small beginnings to a successful and thriving organisation, with purpose-built premises in the centre of York on the campus of York St John University, and a creative programme of work to extend public access to the collections, and drive forward on new innovative programmes to engage a wide range of audiences. She will lead on strategic development across both regions.
"Although we are merging, both archives will maintain their separate regional identities and bases, but we’ll be sharing our specialist facilities and expertise in caring for the collections. What is really exciting is how we are going to open up access to both collections – everyone is fascinated by seeing archive footage of the places we live – where we grew up, went to school, worked, or went on holiday.
New outreach initiatives will help us reach communities across both our regions, from Sheffield and South Yorkshire right up to Berwick in the Borders. Our experience with YFA means that we have some tried and tested programmes for sharing our collections, from community film shows, to working with libraries and museums, television companies, and of course people can see many of our films online by visiting our websites."
Graham Relton becomes Archive Manager across the two sites, with responsibility for day to day management and delivery of key programmes of outreach work, and liaison with broadcasters and commercial users.
Graham led the drive towards online video content, creating YFA Online (now incorporated within www.yorkshirefilmarchive.com) which was included in the February 2011 Daily Telegraph list of the best online culture archives. Rubbing virtual shoulders with the likes of The Tate and the Bodleian Library, YFA Online was listed as one of the five "Best of British" resources, and one of the top fifteen worldwide.
"As Archive Manager, my role is to make our joint collections accessible to new audiences across both regions, in both innovative and traditional ways. We’ve now got a growing collection approaching 10 million feet of film, providing a window onto the life, landscape and culture of Yorkshire and the North East.
We’re always trying to be innovative in providing access to the collections, for example, this year we launched Memory Bank, a series of themed DVDs and online films designed to bring past events and experiences back to life using specially selected archive footage.
You can also now send an archive video card via your smartphone, enjoy a weekly historical clip via the Yorkshire Calendar web app, and – coming soon – a brand new moving image genealogy website: Family Film Tree."
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