New Chair appointed for Film Archive

Clare Morrow, former Chair of Welcome to Yorkshire and previously Controller of News and Programmes at ITV Yorkshire, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Yorkshire and North East Film Archive.  

Clare succeeds Colin Philpott, whose term of office has expired after 10 years during which time the Archive has undergone a period of successful development, including the incorporation of the North East Film Archive into the Yorkshire Film Archive charity, which now cares for collections of over 50,000 films (and video tape) documenting the moving image heritage of both regions from the earliest days of filmmaking to the present day. 
 
Clare brings more than 30 years of experience to the YFA, through a career in television and as a non-executive director.   She is currently a non-executive director of both Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate, and the Rugby Football League.  Previously she was a non-executive director of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, as well as Network Manager of the Broadcasting and Creative Industries Disability Network.  

Clare first encountered the Yorkshire Film Archive during her 15 years at ITV Yorkshire, where she was responsible for Calendar News and a regional programme slate which included entertainment, current affairs and sport. She was Executive Producer of the popular ‘The Way We Were’ series, which was based on the stories behind some of the Yorkshire Film Archive’s most treasured amateur film collections. It was a simple formula, with themes and scenes familiar to everyone – holidays in the Dales, weddings, working lives, sporting moments, that were recounted by the people who made, or featured in, the films themselves – and it worked.  Scheduled to run as a three programme pilot, ‘The Way We Were’ series ran for more than four years, with over sixty programmes produced.

Clare says:   ‘I’ve been a supporter of the Archive now for many years, and am delighted to take on the role of Chair. I firmly believe these collections should be recognised as one of the most important visual records of life in our region over the past 130 years. These are not feature films, they are films made by professionals and amateurs alike who wanted to document the people, places, events, cultures, traditions and communities across the region, and they now reveal an extraordinary record of our times.  

These collections are so important because they have so much meaning to people.  We have an almost universal desire to see our lives, and the lives of our parents and grandparents, captured through moving images. Seeing our towns and villages twenty, fifty or eighty years ago, our workplaces, homes, cars, sports, weddings, holidays – there simply is no more powerful medium than the moving image to convey the collective and individual sense of people, place and identity.’

Colin Philpott, a former Head of BBC Yorkshire and former Director of the National Media Museum, has been Chair of the YFA Trustees since 2006 and oversaw the merger with the North East Film Archive in 2012. Colin’s term of office expired last year but he stayed on until a successor was appointed. 

Colin said ‘I am delighted that Clare has agreed to take on the position as Chair of the Yorkshire Film Archive. She will be a tremendous asset and I know that I speak on behalf of the whole Board in welcoming her to the new role.  I have known Clare for almost twenty years and I know she will bring fresh insights to the challenges that face the Archive. I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved with the Archive over the past decade and I’m delighted that we have been able to grow the collections, increase opportunities for people to see and enjoy the collections and am also pleased that we have maintained the financial resilience of the organisation through difficult times.’
 
Sue Howard, Director of the Archive, says ‘ For the past 28 years, the Yorkshire Film Archive, now also encompassing the North East Film Archive, has been working to find and preserve our regional film heritage, and most importantly, to make it accessible for everyone to see and enjoy today.  What started as a small charity, with a collection of around 25 reels of film housed in a tiny office, has now grown into one of the UK’s leading regional film archives, respected nationally and internationally for its commitment to finding, preserving and creating access to its collections of some 50,000 titles for the widest range of audiences – onscreen and online.  

None of this could have happened without the support of an experienced Chair and active Board of Trustees, many of whom have seen the Archive grow over many years.  Working with the Chair has been, and will be, key to our success. We have so much to be proud of in terms of what we have already achieved in preserving our regions’ film heritage, and I very much look forward to working with Clare as we continue to grow the collections, and make them accessible for everyone to see and enjoy, far into the future.’