2020 Innovative Platforms

Here is the shortlist for our 2020’s Innovative Platforms category, celebrating the very best use of archive outside of the traditional broadcast or cinema sphere. Eligible projects may include visual arts exhibitions, live events, digital platforms or the use of archive on another kind of innovative platform in which new audiences are engaging with archive.


Four Nocturnes

Director: John Akomfrah
Archive Researcher(s): Ashitey Akomfrah, David Lawson, Lina Gopaul, Chris Lovell (BBC), Mark Macey (BBC)
Archival Sources: BBC, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Royal Belgian Cinematek, Kenya National Archives, Yale Divinity Library, Leipzig Mission, British Library, National Archives and Records, Namibian National Archive, British Film Institute, Footage Farm, Greenpeace
Production Company: Smoking Dogs Films
Country of Production: United Kingdom

Synopsis: John Akomfrah’s three-screen video installation Four Nocturnes questions mortality, loss, fragmented identity, mythology, and memory through poetic visuals that survey the landscape of African cultural heritage. Audiences are met with a barrage of scenes depicting human encroachment on the natural world, with Images of destruction and the dismantling of ecological terrains.

FOCAL Points: Blending diverse and sensitive footage depicting the richness and relevance of archival material alongside contemporary shot footage, John Akomfrah’s latest installation draws heavily from the breadth of the BBC’s Natural History archive.


Our Maryhill

Director: Rebecca McSheaffrey & Jodie Wilkinson
Archive Researcher(s): Shona Thomson
Archival Sources: National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive, STV Footage Sales Archive
Production Company: A Kind of Seeing, Glasgow Film
Country of Production: United Kingdom

Synopsis: A major three-month archive film and intergenerational project in the North Glasgow area of Maryhill inspiring school pupils and residents of local housing associations to reflect on and express what their shared community means to them through rare archive footage. The project involved screenings and archive film curation workshops with participants aged 11 to 81.

FOCAL Points: By delivering multiple workshops and allowing ‘community curators’ to be central actors on the project, Our Maryhill demonstrates how audiovisual heritage can be an innovative source of cross-generational creativity, reflection and fun.


Ten Chapters of the Northern Ireland Troubles

Editors: Helen Toland, Andy Martin
Producer(s): Kathy Wilford, Rónán Breathnach-Cashell, Gary Watson
Archival Sources: BBC Northern Ireland News, BBC News, RTÉ Archives, ITV Archive
Production Company: BBC Rewind
Country of Production: United Kingdom

Synopsis: A series of online episodes that chart the political history of Northern Ireland from the 1950s to the end of the 1990s, produced by BBC Rewind and featuring videos and imagery from BBC News NI’s newly-digitised film archive, some of which had remained unseen for many decades. The series is designed to appeal to younger audiences, and gives context and understanding of the Troubles to a generation with no first-hand experience of it. 

FOCAL Points: A newly digitised archival collection is brought to life in this educational web-based experience using an interactive, scrolling narrative. A thoroughly researched experience with archival material at its core, marking the 50th anniversary of the events.