What's on
News and events updated regularly
Manchester Histories Festival 2014

The end of March promises to be an exciting (and busy!) time for everyone involved in the Archives+ partnership and a real treat for Manchester's history lovers.As the North West Film Archive's fabulous new home at Manchester Central Library re-opens on 22nd March, the Manchester Histories Festival will be underway, featuring material from the North West Film Archive's collections.

Showground of the World is a project collecting together memories and archive materials (including film from the NWFA) to celebrate the magical history of Belle Vue culminating in a 10-day city-centre exhibition in Manchester city centre (more details to follow).

Thursday 27th March sees a special screening of 'The Boys In Blue: Manchester City FC on Film' which returns to Cornerhouse as part of the MHF after two sell-out screenings last year. Curated by author and Manchester football historian Gary James using material sourced exclusively from the NWFA's collections, this is a must-see event for City fans who remember the Maine Road years.

It's also worth checking out the Archives+ events page for more happenings during MHF week, including NWFA screenings at Manchester Central Library.

Offering music, film, debate, talks by renowned historians, performance, digital games, walking tours and exhibitions, MHF aims to both celebrate the familiar and reveal the new and hidden histories from across Greater Manchester. Whether people would describe themselves as history fans or not, MHF has something for everyone.
Manchester Histories Festival / 21 - 30 March 2014 / manchesterhistoriesfestival.org.uk / @mcrhistfest
Manchester Central Library
TEMPORARY CLOSURE: December 2013 to Spring 2014
The Archive is now closed for business as we relocate to Manchester Central Library, where we will re-open in spring 2014 as part of the new Archives+ partnership.
In the meantime, please continue to explore our collections on this website and to watch NWFA content on Vimeo.
You can read about the new partnership here and on the Archives+ website.
Updates on our relocation will be provided on this website, on Twitter and Facebook.
Thanks for your patience and we look forward to seeing you in our new home!
NWFA material featured in two elements of the Manchester Weekender festival.

Jeremy Deller’s new exhibition “All That Is Solid Melts Into Air” opened at the Manchester Art Gallery on Saturday October 12th. Described as “a personal look at the impact of the Industrial Revolution on British popular culture, and its persisting influence on our lives today”, the exhibition includes a new film by Deller that makes extensive use of material in our collections. An item on the making of the exhibition film was broadcast on Newsnight on Wednesday 9th October (click here to view) with the full film available here on the BBC website. 'All That Is Solid Melts Into Air' is in Manchester until 19th January 2014 before visiting Nottingham Castle, the University of Warwick and the Laing Gallery in Newcastle.

Saturday 12th also saw “What is a City but the People?” - a fascinating guided walk followed by an archive film screening – presented by Manchester Modernist Society and the North West Film Archive.
The screening at the Dancehouse, Oxford Road featured Manchester's post-war civic film 'A City Speaks' by the documentary-maker Paul Rotha. Watch the opening scene - an impressive flyover of the city - here.
A Right Royal Tour of Lancashire - a centenary reflection
The North West Film Archive is pleased to announce a series of screenings to mark the centenary of the King George V and Queen Mary's tour of Lancashire in July 1913.
Presented by Geoff Senior from the NWFA, who will provide a commentary throughout, the shows will visit venues across the county (in some cases exactly 100 years to the day that the royals passed through) between the 8th and 16th July. See our Public Screenings page for further details including extra showings in Autumn 2013.
The show itself opens with a sketch of Lancashire at work and play in the early 20th century before drawing on local cinema newsreels of the eight-day tour.
A big thank you to Emma at the Harris Museum and Wendy from the Bacup Natural History Society for their help with researching this project.

Watch the trailer for A Right Royal Tour of Lancashire here.
New DVD launched 13th March 2012 with premiere at Preston's Charter Theatre
To mark Preston Guild 2012, the first Guild of the 21st century, the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University is proud to present a 20th century story of Preston and its Guild, as told through unique archive film. Narrated by Roy Barraclough MBE, and produced in collaboration with the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, the DVD is official Guild merchandise.

'Preston and Its Guild' had its premiere at the Charter Theatre, Preston, on Tuesday 13th March at 7.30pm.

Watch the trailer for this all-new DVD here!
WFA Media & Cultural Centre
Memories of Struggle and Solidarity in the 80's
Three fascinating Film Show Discussions took place at the WFA Media & Cultural Centre in Hulme on consecutive Saturday evenings in December 2011. Three compilations were premiered that feature records of campaigns, protests and marches in Manchester, filmed by the WFA, during the politically-charged decade of the 1980s. For over 33 years in Manchester, WFA has filmed many key events which now comprise a film archive of over 1,000 analogue video tapes. With support from the NWFA, Screen Heritage UK and the Heritage Lottery Fund, WFA has catalogued and digitised over 250 tapes with the intention of making them accessible and preserving them for future generations to learn from. More details of the events can be found here.
Reel History of Britain
Screen Heritage UK
After a lot of hard work all around the UK (and especially here in the North West, of course!) there are some new and exciting opportunities being launched which will help everyone to find and to see archive films, many of which are available for the first time. Thanks to an award of £247,000 from SHUK’s Revitalising the Regions strand, the North West Film Archive has digitised a further 80 hours of film and added 400 new titles to the online catalogue – making even more material accessible for education and enjoyment, some of it in amazing HiDef quality. In a collaboration with the WFA Media & Cultural Centre in Hulme, we have also been able to facilitate the preservation and digitisation of diverse cultural films of the 1980s/90s. Free advice surgeries took place in October and November at the WFA including an illustrated talk and screening by the NWFA on November 3rd.
We’ve provided some real gems to the Reel History of Britain, which ran on BBC Two during September 2011 - presented by Melvyn Bragg, this 20-part series travelled the length and breadth of Britain to reveal some of the fascinating stories and individuals behind key archive films from the UK’s collections. NWFA had footage in 10 episodes - including this 1915 film of the Accrington Pals from the WWW1 programme. BBC Learning ran 'Hands on History' events around the region linked to the programme for which we provided lots of films - venues included BBC Radio Lancashire, Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, Crosby Plaza and libraries in South Cumbria.
And there's more! You can now search our catalogue alongside everyone else’s through the combined facility of Search Your Film Archives – which brings together information about film from the North West Film Archive, BFI National Archive, English regional film archives and partners across the UK and is funded by the DCMS. The BFI has also built a new storage facility - securing their collection of the nation’s film heritage for the future.
Delivered by the Screen Heritage UK project: a partnership between the BFI, Screen Yorkshire and English regional film archives, to safeguard the future of the UK’s national and regional film heritage, funded by the DCMS.
We are delighted to be supporting the highly-original work of Dave Griffiths in Babel Fiche, the first in a series of new web-based projects commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and launched on 18 March 2011.
Dave summarises the aims of the project :
"For this collaborative film, I invite members of the public during 2011 to gather and select a set of amateur video clips that describe contemporary, everyday life around the Earth. These movie fragments will be transformed into a set of colour microfiche films – a photographic medium capable of lasting 500 years and simply requiring light and a lens to expand its contents. This analogue throwback might even outlast our current reliance on fragile digital storage.”
You can read more about this work on Dave's blog.
NWFA on The One Show
On Tuesday 12th April, BBC's The One Show featured the results of MMU's research into mould on film. Mark Bodner, Jo Verran, and Gavin Bingley have been researching the reasons for and effects of mould growth on archive film, and the story went global last year when the results were presented at a specialist international conference. The story was filmed in the labs and at the Archive with The One Show's science specialist, who appeared on the sofa to explain further.
The Sunshine Makers
ANIMATION AND THE ARCHIVES SYMPOSIUM - Transatlantic Rare Animation Films
FREE EVENT on 11th April, 12.30 - 4pm
Lecture Theatre 5, Ground Floor, Geoffrey Manton Building, MMU, All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, Manchester
MMU Film and Media welcomed New York Film Archivist Dennis Nyback and North West Film Archive Director Marion Hewitt to screen and discuss a programme of transatlantic animation from the archives.
Dennis Nyback is an independent film archivist who curates feature length programs from his personal collection of rare short films and presents them around the world. For this event, he presented examples of 'Subversive Animation'.
Dennis was joined by Marion Hewitt from North West Film Archive who screened a selection of UK animation from the NWFA collection based at MMU in Manchester.
A screening of this award-winning film, produced and directed by popular culture specialist and broadcaster Karen Gabay, that mixes historic BBC footage held in the North West Film Archive with contemporary interviews.
This free event was held at the Zion Arts Centre in Hulme as part of its centenary celebrations.
You can watch a short clip of the film here.
'Gleaners' Screening at the London Short Film Festival - January 13th 2011 at the Roxy Bar and Screen, London
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, with live soundtracks from cutting edge North West musicians. The screening also included Louise K Wilson's 'Euphony' and Jordan Baseman's 'Inside Man' - both artists made their films using NWFA collections.
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).
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.
Urban Scene
Accumulation: Experiencing The City
An exhibition at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry, curated by MIRIAD's Steven Gartside, used archive footage held at the NWFA to create a 'filmic city' within the 1830 Warehouse building. Multiple screens displayed films of urban life in Manchester and other cities over the past century, in an exhibition designed to highlight the similarities of these environments. 'Accumulation: Experiencing The City' ran from 22nd October 2010 to 2nd January 2011.
Mill Girls
Bolton 'Gem' Screened At NWFA Film Show
'A Day in the Life of Bolton', a 1927 nitrate film about the town, was given its first public screening in decades as part of the NWFA film show in Bolton on November 23rd. The event attracted a lot of interest with articles in The Bolton News and on the MMU website. You can find out more about forthcoming NWFA public screenings here.