Research: Screening Heritage Archive collections & film exhibition in Wales

Image: 'Letter from Wales' From Britain on Film available at BFI Player
Image: 'Letter from Wales' From Britain on Film available at BFI Player

Bigger Picture Research on behalf of Film Hub Wales
September 2015


This research was commissioned by Film Hub Wales to establish current levels of screen heritage programming in Wales, and to identify the challenges and opportunities for future programme development. The research employed a combination of desk research, qualitative consultations and an exhibitor survey.

Taking these sources of evidence together, the research found that:

  • Wales is home to a number of screen archive collections, which tend to operate independently with their own methods for dealing with enquires and content licensing requests;
  • Content digitisation remains at a relatively low level, although this is beginning to change with investment through the BFI Unlocking Film Heritage programme;
  • The screen archive sector as a whole is under considerable strain, in terms of levels of resourcing and staff capacity to manage content bookings and outreach screening activity. Furthermore, Wales has missed out on the levels of financial support seen in England under the Screen Heritage UK programme;
  • Archive programming, even when including repertory titles within this category, remains a relatively small part of most exhibitors’ schedules;
  • Yet there is undoubted demand for screen heritage screenings among different audience groups, and archive content is capable of attracting sizeable admissions;
  • Much of this demand is going unmet, and an opportunity exists for exhibitors to serve their own audience development needs while promoting access to archive collections.

The key challenges deterring exhibitors from increasing screen heritage programming are a lack of information about available archive content, licensing and booking arrangements, and financial considerations.

Given the breadth of its existing responsibilities, Film Hub Wales has only limited resources to help address these challenges, so a strategic approach is required. The most effective way it can contribute is through brokering partnerships between the archive sector and exhibitors, by:

  • bringing these parties together to explore collaborative opportunities;
  • providing a single source of information about archive content  and programming opportunities in Wales, enlivened with real world case studies to stimulate creative programming and innovative projects;
  • continuing to offer dedicated archive strands in Preview Days around Wales;
  • working with the archive sector to curate and package content, making it easier for exhibitors with little or no experience in this area to realise their programming ambitions;
  • actively encouraging the development (or extension) of relationships between exhibitors and community groups with an interest in screen heritage, supported by a dedicated pilot project fund.

You can read the full report (from the link at the bottom of this page) or online, via the 'Contents' segments/links below.



1. Introduction:

  • Background

  • Report structure

Read the introduction here.

2. Screen heritage provision in Wales:

  • National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales 
  • Broadcasters

Read about Screen heritage provision in Wales here.

3. Screen heritage exhibition activity in Wales: 

  • National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales

Read about Screen heritage activity in Wales here.

4. Discussion and recommendations:

*Please note that this report is currently being translated to Welsh and will be available here soon. 


DOWNLOAD: Screening Heritage Archive collections & film exhibition in WalesArchive_report_final_Film Hub Wales.pdf