Projects Archive

Community engagement and outreach is a fundamental part of our charitable constitution. We have received funding from a number of funders over the last 5 years which has enabled SWFTA to develop a number of new projects in partnership with individuals and organisations from the arts, heritage and cultural sector.

These have included:

Regional Shows and Screenings (2010-present)

We have presented a series of film shows at small venues across the region. The shows were all created to provide local footage relevant to the show location. The list of venues can be found on our Film Shows page. The project was funded from the UK Film Council’s Digital Film Archive Fund through South West Screen.  

SWFTA also produces films for screening at the annual Plymouth Local Studies Day programme - normally held in May.  

Online Catalogue Project (2010-2012)

SWFTA has developed a new catalogue and website. The search facility has been developed jointly with the British Film Institute and other Regional Film Archives and enables a search of the collections held by our national and regional partners. The SWFTA cataloguing project has produced over 28,000 records so far that can be searched from a variety of locations. These developments have been funded from the UK Film Council’s Screen Heritage UK programme and the South West Screen Lottery programme (2010-12).

Digitisation Programme (2010-2012)

We have digitised over 1,000 hours of material funded through the Screen Heritage UK programme. As well as running our own programmes we have worked closely with a number of partners in the South West. We have been pleased to provide footage for many projects including:

The North Devon Movie Bus Project (2010-2011)

Between March 2010 and March 2011, a meticulously restored 1967 mobile cinema undertook a screening tour of SWFTA's archive films as part of the North Devon Movie Bus Project. The cinema visited schools and communities throughout the area, screening 8 purpose-made films on a variety of subjects such as agriculture, youth and transport, which are now available on DVD. The project was a joint venture between the North Devon Museum, the Vintage Mobile Cinema, SWFTA and the Bill Douglas Centre, funded by the UK Film Council, South West Screen, the North Devon Festival and the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was a huge success, and was in part responsible for the mobile cinema being commissioned to take a starring role in BBC2's archive film programme 'The Reel History of Britain', presented by Melvyn Bragg and featuring archive material from SWFTA's collection. For more information see the Movie Bus website

Tre Project – Rediscovering Cornwall and Isles of Scilly through Archive Film (2009-2013)

'Tre' – a Cornish word for 'home/homestead'

Using archive film as its inspiration and 'home' as its theme, the Tre Project – Rediscovering Cornwall and Isles of Scilly through Archive Film - started in 2009 collecting old cine footage, creating new digital content and producing an exciting programme of old and new films to screen at community venues, film festivals, exhibitions and on-line.

With funding from South West Screen's Digital Archive Fund (UK Film Council) and Feast (Arts Council) the project was able to license rare archive material held at SWFTA and reconnect it to local communities.

The pilot project proved a huge success and funding was sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Feast to continue the work for another 3 years reaching new audiences and engaging with more people across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

In November 2013, Awen received the Media Innovation Award for Best App. Given in celebration of the 'Walkabout St ives' App which was launched as part of the Tre Project and included archival footage from SWFTA. 

"The judges thought that this was a well-researched, well-organised App with a wealth of local and historic video content".

Link to the App. here. 

Plymouth city centre exhibition (2011)

Displayed 5 January to 23 February 2011

This large-scale exhibition of photographs and film stills in the centre of Plymouth showcased the variety of material discovered as part of the Plymouth Pictured: A City Through a Lens project.

The display cases were on show in the Jigsaw Gardens, Place de Brest and Frankfort Gate.

They were complemented by films clips from the South West Film and Television Archive on the Big Screen in Armada Way. These were screened at regular intervals whilst the exhibition was on display.

Link to the Plymouth Pictured Project here. 

Young explainers (2011)

Four BA Media Arts students at the University of Plymouth worked with Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, South West Film Television Archive, Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, a professional film maker and the BBC. They were given access to archival material about Plymouth, and were asked to produce a film each using a mix of archival and new footage produced in response to the following themes:

Home and community
Building the city
Sea and seaside

The films will be used on an ongoing basis by the Learning Team at the Museum with primary aged children.

Cinematic City (2011)

Released In 2011, Cinematic City used audio from the South West Film & Television Archive. 

Stuart Moore was the creative producer of the City Through a Lens project in 2010 and 2011 which brought together four BA Media Arts undergraduates in a collaboration with Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, SWFTA and Plymouth City Museum to make four short films for use in schools. The project was given access to a selection of SWFTA’s archive and it was whilst watching and particularly listening to the old TV programmes that the ideas for Cinematic City formed.

Link to the project here.

Strode Theatre Project (2010)

The Strode Theatre, a mixed arts venue in mid Somerset, has had a thriving film programme since 1968. Archive film has enjoyed a special place in the hearts of Strode audiences for many years and a new development in partnership with SWFTA has been particularly successful. Working with the archive, it has been possible to put together special programmes of film from the 1920s up to the 1970s on local subjects such as industry, culture and agriculture. A further project to record the cultural life of Glastonbury in the early 20th century led to public screenings and DVD sales of "Glastonbury: The Untold Story" in 2010, using archive film excerpts from SWFTA and the BFI along with new interviews, presented by local historian Tim Hopkinson-Ball.

Resurgam (2013)

Resurgam was a university driven multi-locational action-adventure where immersive theatre, digital technology and history collided in an original game experience where players hunted for the magical lost pearl of Plymouth. Resurgam is a supernatural action-adventure movie which places the player at the heart of the story.

History, digital technology and theatre were integrated to create an original game experience that immerses players in a citywide hunt to find the magical Pearl of Plymouth.

Resurgam took place across the city of Plymouth and culminated in a final performance and live music on board a ghost ship. There was a free mobile app to accompany the live game.

The Archive Weekly Calender (Jan 2013-Feb 2014)

The Archive Weekly was a joint project with the FA network and lead by Yorkshire Film Archive which ran from Jan 2013 to Feb 2014. The app provided a great new way for audiences to watch byte-sized film clips of people, places, national events and local traditions from over the years, all discovered in the vaults of regional film archives across England.
On the South West Film and TV Archive Weekly you could see our film of the week, and watch all the clips from previous weeks - local events, familiar faces and places which build into a yearly archive calendar of life in the South West of England.

SWFTA Preservation Partnership Project (May 2013-May 2014)
From May 2013-May 2014, SWFTA developed a project to hunt for some enthusiastic volunteers to help with essential cataloguing, digitisation and research activity. 
This exciting and ambitious project developed and implemented a new approach to using volunteers in growing the work that SWFTA undertakes. Through the Preservation Partnership Project SWFTA has designed an engaging and innovative formal programme of progression aimed at enhancing the volunteer experience and benefiting both the archive and Volunteers long-term.
The 3 tier plan of cataloguing, digitisation and “buddy-ing” renders the volunteer programme largely self-sufficient, encouraging the sharing of ideas and experience between those who have worked within the media industry for many years with students and amateur media fans. The project has also facilitated links with other volunteer and heritage organisations throughout the city such as the Plymouth City Council, museum and record office as well as the Plymouth Guild Volunteer Centre.
Preservation Partnership on Facebook

The River Tamar Project (May 2013-May 2014)
The River Tamar Project was a major cultural programme, connecting local and international communities with the river. SWFTA were delighted to work with them on their latest project: It’s All About the River film festival during 2013-14.

It’s All About the River sought to raise awareness of the river through the medium of film. The festival took  place at several locations along the tidal reaches of the River Tamar from Gunnislake and Calstock to Devonport. Through the festival, the river became a cinematic conduit between riverside settlements; incorporating the rural to the urban, from village halls to post-industrial shipyards. The River Tamar Project worked with their community partners in order to bring the festival into the hearts of the communities and to make the events as accessible as possible. To this end, screenings were held in a range of venues including pubs, parish halls, and included some larger scale outdoor screen projections.

The festival’s film programme responded directly to each location the festival visits along the banks of the River Tamar, reflecting the particular themes, histories and interests of the local communities. The festival included a series of major commissions by international artists and filmmakers exploring the context of the river. These were complimented by short films, classic Hollywood and international cinema which took “the river” as their central theme, and archive footage from SWFTA which showcased the rich history and changing picture of the River Tamar.

The River Tamar Project was part of Plymouth University and was funded by the Arts Council of England.

Take a Part (CIC) (2013-2014)
SWFTA was delighted to support Take a Part (CIC) in 2013-14 providing material for a community project in Barne Barton.

Take A Part is an arts in the public realm project which began in, and was developed with, the Efford area of Plymouth. Take A Part engaged people in making decisions and influencing their local area – embedding contemporary arts practice in the process of regeneration.

In 2011, after 5 years of continued artistic engagement TAP launched Efford as the Capital of Culture for Plymouth and worked to engage new communities in Plymouth to think about how arts could be used by them to support their own regeneration process. The community focus for TAP was Stonehouse, Barne Barton, North Prospect and Whitleigh. 

Here is what TAP had to say about SWFTA:

"Take A Part CIC were thrilled to be allowed to access the SWFTA archives to work on a commissioned contemporary art film about the history and relationship to the Tamar River of the Barne Barton community.

The use of the archives underpinned the project and allowed us to work with the Barne Barton Community to initiate conversations about local access to the river, the lack of access to MOD land, the lack of infrastructure, the socio-economic deprivation of the area and local ambitions. Because we could access the film archive, we were able to speak to 35 residents about their area and create a film that will be screened to hundreds in the local community and to thousands internationally as part of the River Tamar International Film Festival in 2014. This is very important locally as it puts Barne Barton, an island in Plymouth with a poor reputation, on an international agenda.

SWFTA is an amazing city resource. The staff were eager to help, highly knowledgable, patient and supportive. We could NEVER have done this great work without SWFTA."

Unlocking Film Heritage: Discovery Fund (Jan-May 2014)

In November 2013, SWFTA acquired BFI funding to develop the groundwork for a much larger programme of work under the BFIs Film Forever Strategy. This precurser to the Unlocking Film Heritage: Digitisation Phase involved the recruitment of two Collection Assessment Officers and an Administrative Officer to discover content from the SWFTA collections to feed into BFI chosen themes. 

This project has now been continued with the Unlocking Film Heritage: Digitisation Fund which SWFTA is now undertaking. 

Foto Then and Now (March 2015)

Plymouth's big screen was the centre of a student art project in March 2015, as they took over the screen to show a mash-up of old and new images of Plymouth. The 21 students teamed up with Fotonow CIC to present a live multimedia public photography and film event. The event titled Foto Here and Now was open to all members of the public, and featured live DJs, VJs and the chance to be photographed and have images displayed on the big screen.

Erin Black, second year media art student, who helped to organise the event. She said: "The project is all about working with different people and professionals across different mediums. We have collected lots of footage and photos from the South West Film and Television archive. We are busy putting them together with footage that we have filmed. It's a way of people understanding what we do on our course at the university, as well as using old images in an inventive way. We are trying to bring those old images into the twenty-first century and show them in a different way. Our primary theme is focusing on the past and present of Plymouth and the hidden or forgotten parts of our city."

Luch Gosling one of the students who made use of SWFTA footage and says “Foto Here & Now is a public event created by the Media Arts students of Plymouth University and FOTONOW. Our aim is to treat audiences to incredible archival footage of past and hidden memories of Plymouth. Along with the latest VJ equipment the blend of modern day Plymouth and past Plymouth will allow for an eye-catching performance.”

The still and moving images supplied by SWFTA included the gin distillery, the lido, Crownhill fort, the old pier and more.

Plymouth Shortcuts (2013-2015) has been created in collaboration with Belinda Dixon Media. This archive film experience centres around the historic shoreline of Plymouth, in Devon, in southwest England. Archive material was identified which held strong connections with Plymouth’s waterfront area. Augmented Reality was used to enable people to watch evocative snippets of archive film, on their smartphones, in the very places where the action occurred.

You can see 1930s seaplanes land on Plymouth Sound, a 1960s beauty contest at Tinside Pool, join the regulars for a knees-up in an old Plymouth pub, see Robert Lenkiewicz beside his mural on The Parade... Individuals can walk the trail in either direction; each mini movie points them towards the next film location. So they can discover and engage with Plymouth’s past just by looking at their phone.

Locations include:

Plymouth Gin – Southside St

The Lenkiewicz Mural – The Parade

The Watering Hole (now The Ship) – The Parade

The Old Fish Market – Southside St

The Mayflower Steps

Boat Trips – Phoenix Wharf

Sea Planes – Hoe Foreshore

Tinside Pool – Hoe Foreshore

Plymouth Pier – Hoe Foreshore

Sir Francis Chichester – West Hoe Foreshore

Plymouth Shortcuts received technical support from iDAT and is funded by Creative England, the Creative Industries iNet and Arts Council England.