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October 2010

Clarets Creative Project

There was a screening of archive films about Burnley FC, selected from the NWFA collections, in the 1882 Lounge at Turf Moor on Wednesday October 20th, as part of an event organised by the Clarets Creative project. This free event was introduced by Club Historian Ray Simpson and provided Burnley football fans with an opportunity to find out about different ways to access and explore their local history.

Clarets Creative is a community project that aims to preserve and share memories and stories about being a Burnley FC fan.


Gleaners: Archive Remix & Live Soundtracks - Monday 4th October 2010, King's Arms Salford
Cinema met live music at this hybrid event mixing found footage with electric results. Experimental filmmakers Jenna Collins and Sam Meech presented two new kaleidoscopic short films, made during their Gleaners residencies in the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, premiered here with live soundtracks from cutting edge North West musicians.
Diving into the amateur fiction footage within the archive, Jenna Collins' new film, in equal parts hypnotic and disruptive, was accompanied by a performance by multi-instrumentalist Seaming To, regular collaborator with Graham Massey and Homelife (Ninja Tune).
Using dozens of archive clips Sam Meech built up a classic narrative with a dream-inflected twist.  This epic journey was narrated live by poet Nathan Jones of the Mercy collective with a score by Carl Brown of Wave Machines (Neapolitan).

Gleaners In Conversation
Archive collections are treasure troves for magpie filmmakers, with artists increasingly adept at remixing and re-appropriating existing footage for poetic or political effect.  At the Cornerhouse, Manchester, on Tuesday 5th October 2010 Jenna Collins and Sam Meech joined Marion Hewitt, Director of the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Gleaners curator Kate Taylor for a discussion exploring the challenges and opportunities for artists engaging with moving image archives. 

Commissioned by AND Festival, Gleaners is a filmmaker-in-residence scheme at the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, curated by Kate Taylor.  This project has been enabled by Vision and Media and the UK Film Council's Digital Film Archive Fund supported by the National Lottery.

September 2010

Moving Memories: Tales from Moss Side and Hulme
MMU film nominated by Times Higher Education

MOVING Memories, a film that recounts childhood and working life in Manchester has been short-listed for a Times Higher Education (THE) award.
The short film, which appeared on BBC1, emerged from the University’s public engagement fellowship scheme.
It is nominated in the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Local Community’ category.
The nostalgic film tells the story of the first and second generation immigrants in Hulme and Moss Side, particularly those of Caribbean, Sikh and Irish heritage.

Local voices
Uniquely, it mixes historic BBC footage held in the North West Film Archive with contemporary interviews which allow local people to tell the story in their own words. See clip here.
Premiered at Hulme's Afewe pub in October 2009, Moving Memories: Tales of Moss Side and Hulme has received huge acclaim from local people, academics, entertainers, politicians and local historians.
Such was its success, the BBC chose to broadcast it on Inside Out in January 2010 in a shortened format.
Public vote
Produced and directed by popular culture specialist and broadcaster Karen Gabay with the considerable input of local people, the short film emerged following a public vote for community projects at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Archive Director and MMU Public Engagement Fellow Marion Hewitt said: "The power of the film is that it positions local people and families as the storytellers. They give their own interpretations and reflections of their journeys and present the story from the viewpoint of 21st century Hulme and Moss Side."

MMU’s Public Engagement Fellowship scheme was established to support genuine two-way engagement between university and community partners. MMU staff and their community partners put forward project ideas which were selected by online public voting. MMU is a partner in the Manchester Beacon for Public Engagement, the largest ever public engagement project in the UK, funded by HEFCE, Research Councils UK and Wellcome Trust. For more information on public engagement at MMU contact Sam Gray on 0161 247 3429.

August 2010

Moving Memories at the Monastery

Three short films that combine archive footage held at the NWFA with contemporary interviews were screened on Sunday August 1st in the wonderful surroundings of The Monastery in Gorton. Produced and directed by Karen Gabay, the films tell stories of Manchester’s recent past.

Tales from Moss Side and Hulme
Combining BBC archive footage and new interviews, this award-winning film recounts stories of local Caribbean, Sikh and Irish communities from the 1960s to the 1980s. (30 minutes)

Belle Vue: The Gardens That John Built
Recalling the heyday of Manchester’s Belle Vue – the Pleasure Gardens, the zoo, the fair and the circus – featuring interviews with people who spent happy times there. (14 minutes)

Ice Cream: Manchester’s Little Italy
The delicious story of the makers and vendors of ice-cream, told by the Italian families and their customers. (12 minutes)

July 2010

Better than Chalk and Talk
Celebrating the films of Sam Hanna

The North West Film Archive linked with partners in Lancashire Museums, Libraries and Record Offices, Towneley Hall Museum, and MMU History Department to create displays and offer workshops and screenings which brought to life the legacy of this Lancashire filmmaker.

A display illustrating the life and work of Sam Hanna (1903-1996) toured Colne and Burnley from March to July 2010 with workshop activities and screenings running at some venues.

The NWFA will be putting 10 hours of film online alongside the full catalogue - watch this space!

May 2010

Reel Times

Turnpike Gallery, Leigh, 1st May - 10th July 2010

Reel Times is a major exhibition which features archive footage of people and places from across the North West selected by the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh from the North West Film Archive.

Throughout the exhibition there will be a changing programme of themed film screenings: 'Working Life', 'School Life', 'Celebrations', 'Home Life' and 'Leisure Time', which visitors can watch from the comfort of a specially created mini cinema. The exhibition also features newly commissioned short films and animations created by local school children and young people; a nostalgic look back at the 'picture palaces' of the past; and plenty of fun activities for all the family.

January 2010

Funding Boosts NWFA Projects in Moss Side/Hulme and Burnley

Moving Memories - Tales from Moss Side and Hulme, the NWFA project that was chosen as one of the MMU's Public Engagement Fellowships in 2008, premiered at Afewe in Hulme on October 23rd 2009.

The new film, directed by Karen Gabay, is the result of taking BBC regional films - about the experiences of the first West Indian and Sikh families to come to Manchester in the 1960s to 1980s – back to the neighbourhoods where they were filmed, and recording interviews with people from different communities whose memories were sparked by the stories. The film will be screened in schools and colleges, libraries, community groups and to the general public to share the stories as widely as possible.

The project featured in an edition of BBC 1's Inside Out (North West) on Monday 25th January. BBC Manchester has a supporting story on their website with extracts from the film available to view online. MMU News also picked up on this story with background information on the project and more on the Public Engagement Fellowship Scheme.

More to come! A successful funding application for £60,000 to the MLA’s Learning Revolutions Festival means that the PEF has secured the support to develop the idea with two more films. 

Sam Joins the Revolution

A second strand of this ‘Reel Revolutions’ project is happening in the Burnley area, building on the Archive’s ‘Sam Hanna Online’ project.  Partnering with Lancashire’s heritage sector and the WFA in Hulme, adult learners will receive training to make new films in response to this fascinating film collection, creating contemporary reflections of life and work in Pennine Lancashire today.

September 2009

The Story of Things

A new exhibition at MMU Special Collections by Jonathan Carson and Rosie Miller

14 September 2009 - 29 January 2010

In a museum ‘things’ sit beside one another in sometimes unlikely combinations. They tell something of their own story but also produce new narratives, just by being together.
Working with MMU Special Collections, including the North West Film Archive, artists Carson & Miller have curated a visually-playful and intriguing exhibition that explores ideas of narrative, memory and collections.

July 2009

Places of Public Resort is on the BBC Big Screen in Clayton Square, Liverpool from 24th July, continuing through August, and part of 'London 2012 Open Weekend'.

Awarded the 'Inspire' mark, this project is a collaboration between the NWFA, the BBC and the International Centre for Digital Content at Liverpool John Moores University - commissioned by Liverpool City Council.

It will offer a giant video carousel that members of the public can scroll through using hand movements when standing in front of the screen and the content of the carousel is taken from the BBC North West collection at the NWFA, showing people enjoying outdoor public spaces. Suffused with now-generation nostalgia and occupying a platform more commonly associated with contemporary and late-breaking news, the past will become jumbled with the present as we encourage observers to linger and look anew at how we choose to draw together in a collective wish for novelty and escape.

June 2009

Jeremy Deller's Procession

is part of Manchester International Festival and took place on Deansgate, Manchester on Sunday 5th July 2pm.

Procession: An Exhibition opens at Cornerhouse on 9th July with banners, films, talks and events, and there is a Procession Online website - lots of NWFA footage to enjoy in both. Take your movie camera to the Procession on Sunday and let us know about the film you make either directly to n.w.filmarchive@mmu.ac.uk or through the Procession Online website.

March 2009

Art School! Art School!

Manchester School of Art since 1838 - Historic PerspectivesA new exhibition in MMU Special Collections Gallery Open Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm (7pm Thursdays) 16th March - 21st August

Including, from the NWFA collection, the first ever film made about an art school, made here by a student in 1930.

December 2008


The NWFA's project came out top in the vote for one of the Manchester Metropolitan University's Public Engagement Fellowships - so sincere thanks to everyone for their support. We look forward to delivering the project - an inter-generational exploration of life in Hulme and Moss Side in the 1960 – 80s through contemporary BBC North West television features - with our partner Troubadour Foundation, in 2009.

October 2008

HOME MOVIE DAY at the NWFA - Saturday 18th October 2008 - 10.30am to 3pm

MMU staff and students are invited to bring their home movies in for expert advice on preserving and showing them.

June 2007

The Archive was featured on BBC North West Tonight on 6th and 7th June - go to the BBC's website to watch the items and visit our BBC project page to learn more about the BBC collections we hold.  

January 2007

Over 500 new titles have been added to the on-line catalogue. Highlights include films of life aboard a Fleetwood trawler during the 'Cod Wars' of the 1970s; award-winning amateur films made by a Stockport teacher in the 1940s; and family films featuring life in and around Droylsden during the Second World War.

There is film of Preston North End's promotion from Division 2 in 1952, featuring the only colour footage of Sir Tom Finney in action; scenes from the legendary 1972 Bickershaw Pop Festival; and the earliest known footage of the Beatles performing in 1962.

Other new additions to the on-line catalogue include early work by the Oscar nominated animator Paul Berry; a detailed look at the Battersby Hat Factory in Stockport in the 1930s; and an extensive collection of family films showing life in Chorlton during the 1960s, made by a local doctor.

Further details about all of the above films, plus many more, can be found through our search pages. Please contact the archive through our Comments and Enquiries page if you are interested in seeing any of our film and video material.

December 2006

Look out for another new 6-part series of The Way We Were, drawing extensively on film from this collection. It's on ITV Granada - to start in June 2007.

April 2005

Two new projects started in April - one will make it possible to research and view BBC North West regional news and documentary footage from the mid 1966 to 1985 held in the the NWFA, and another will be to survey the extent of film and video material in Merseyside - currently outside the remit of the NWFA - which may be at risk, with a view to recommending action for future provision. Cumbria material will now also become the responsibility of the NWFA in due course. Two new pages are in preparation, giving further details - see home page for links.

January 2005

The NWFA is pleased to be collaborating with Artifact - the Higher Education hub for the arts and creative industries - in bringing the on-line catalogue to users of that service. A search on the Artifact catalogue will now also search the NWFA's records and link directly to an email enquiry button. Try it for yourself!

www.artifact.ac.uk (now Intute)


The Bigger Picture Commissioning Programme - the NWFA is pleased to be collaborating with The Bigger Picture on the commissioning of new work for the Big Screen in Exchange Square in Manchester city centre. Five new pieces will be created for the screen, one of which is an exciting opportunity for an artist in residence at the NWFA. Deadline for proposals is Friday 15th October 2004 - see The Bigger Picture website - and do go and take a look at the Screen!

There is now a new series of ITVGranada's The Way We Were... in production, scheduled for transmission in January 2005. A very successful 8-part series of The Way We Were... finished on Granada Television on Thursday March 4th, and the response from viewers was tremendous. In collaboration with Granada TV, we are now considering releasing it on DVD and video. If you would be interested in purchasing it please leave your details on 0161 247 6531, or here at the website on our Comments and Enquiries facility. (If you have already been in touch about it we will still have your details.) It would be useful if you could indicate how many copies you might want, and on which format. We will be in touch when it is confirmed.


Festival Icon NWMLAC Image

The North West Film Archive was awarded a place in the Top 6 Winners of the North West Archival Treasury competition - The Changing Face of Salford Part I: Life in the Slums 1968/9 is a moving record of the hardships of the daily life of people in the terraced streets of Ordsall at a time of great change. Also in the top 30 was a film of Yuri Gagarin's visit to Manchester in July 1961 - 3 months after he became the first man to orbit the earth.

September 2003 was national Archives Awareness Month and the North West Film Archive programmed four public screenings around the region with the support of a grant from the North West Museums Libraries and Archives Council (NWMLAC). These were at Cornerhouse in Manchester on 9th September, featuring a special presentation on the Mitchell & Kenyon project; Burnley Mechanics on the 17th September; and Winsford Library on 24th September and 22nd October.

England on Film The NWFA was the principal source of archive footage for one of four themed BBC England on Film programmes. Ours was about the cotton industry and there is further information and footage on the BBC's Nation on Film website.

NWFA 25th Anniversary Clips With the expert and invaluable assistance of colleagues in MMU's Media Services, you may now view 25 clips of titles from the collection on-line.


Sad News...

It is with great sorrow that we have to announce the death of our Director, Maryann Gomes, on 2nd June 2002. Maryann had been having treatment for cancer since early 2001. An obituary has been posted at the UK Film Archives Forum website, and another was published in the Guardian on Thursday 25th July.

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On 21 March 2001, the North West Film Archive's website was approved for inclusion in the National Grid for Learning and is linked to the Libraries and Archives section of the NGfL.

Search the Film and Video Catalogue
fmsb image logoYou can search our on-line Film & Video Catalogue, bringing you closer to our exciting moving image collection.
World-first, Disability Access Research Can I Hear That in Colour?
We are pleased to present a summary project report of our ground-breaking work with visually and hearing impaired people. This unique research explored making moving images from this collection more accessible to people with sensory impairments. The full report (37 pages) is also available as a downloadable file.

Let's Get The Bigger Picture

As a development of 'Can I Hear That In Colour?', the North West Film Archive has completed further research - this time investigating the design and delivery of dedicated access services for people with visual and hearing impairments.

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This document is maintained by Marion Hewitt (n.w.filmarchive@mmu.ac.uk)
Last modified 6th November 2009

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