About the Network


The Future Histories of the Moving Image Research Network was set up in 2007 in response to the issues raised by the growing number of moving image arts database and digitised collection projects in the UK. For instance, since 2003, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has funded the following three projects:

British Artists' Film & Video Study Collection (University of the Arts London)
REWIND: Artists' Video in the 1970s & 1980s (Dundee University)
Film and Video Distribution Database (Sunderland University)

These projects are preserving and making accessible documentation from the histories of artists’ film and video in the UK. While British Artists' Film & Video Study Collection and REWIND have been engaged in creating digital collections of artworks, a significant output of all three projects is an online database. Each project has prioritised a different aspect of the field, but there are obvious connections between them and the project teams have been co-operating with each other.

These projects have had to confront the issue of their future sustainability – especially with regard to their online databases. While each project has addressed this on an individual basis and intended depositing the raw data of the online outputs with the Arts & Humanities Data Service (AHDS) at the end of the project (a condition of their AHRC funding), there is nothing to guarantee the long-term accessibility of these outputs. This issue has become of increasing concern as more online database projects have been funded and with the defunding of the AHDS in March 2008.

The above projects also have significant but unexplored points of connection and potential synergies with other publicly funded databasing and digital archiving initiatives addressing related areas, which are similarly faced with the issue of sustainability. Among such projects in existence when the Future Histories network was first set up were::

Capturing the Past, Preserving the Future: digitisation of the National Review of Live Art video collection, Bristol University (AHRC funded)
Computer Art Context History etc (CACHe), Birkbeck University of London (AHRC funded)
Luxonline, Lux (NOF Lottery/ACE funded)
Screenonline, BFI (National Grid for Learning/NOF Lottery funded)
InIVA – Institute of International Visual Arts (ACE/NOF funded)

There is currently no infrastructure which links together all the above projects and more recently developed ones and their online outputs as a network of resources in order to develop their potential synergies and uses.

The research network funded for a 2 year period by the AHRC brings together team members from a number of UK based projects with representatives from the Arts Council England, the British Film Institute, Tate Modern, and other relevant organisations and initiatives in order to address the future security of these projects as part of a network of sustainable resources and to maximise their visibility and use.