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Call to NI residents to participate in archive survey

Date Posted: February 2, 2018

Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive (DFA) is conducting a survey to determine the extent of Northern Ireland’s moving image heritage and is seeking the support of members of the public to assist. The survey, which is supported by the British Film Institute (BFI), marks the first crucial step in the long-term preservation of Northern Ireland’s moving image culture.

The aim of the survey is to produce a detailed picture of film and television collections, be they held by individuals or institutions, on cine film or tape, broadcast or non-broadcast, catalogued or uncatalogued items.

The Digital Film Archive is requesting the assistance of local residents who may hold moving image material from Northern Ireland’s past. This may include old footage of their favourite childhood programme on ‘the UTV’, or a tape recording of a family holiday to Portstewart.

Prominent pieces of archive material currently featured on the Digital Film Archive include a black and white film depicting life in Belfast in 1898. Additionally, the archive includes a tourism video from 1957 featuring the North Coast, which showcases historic tourist locations from the North Coast including Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway.

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen said; “Any material collected as part of the survey will contribute to our knowledge of Northern Ireland moving image collections and ensure that the necessary measures are taken to unlock its cultural and educational potential for future audiences. One of Northern Ireland Screen’s main aims is to ensure that our rich moving image heritage is safeguarded, and made accessible to the public in a way that is stimulating, entertaining and sustainable.”

If any member of the public feels they may possess material of relevance, the survey can be accessed here. Alternatively, if you would like to provide additional information regarding a piece of footage, please contact Francis Jones, Senior Curator, Northern Ireland Screen directly by calling +44 (0)28 90 2324444.

Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive contains over 100 hours of moving images about Northern Ireland from 1897 to 2018. Originally launched in November 2000 as part of the British Film Institute’s Millennium Project, Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive can be accessed online at


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