Goldsmiths announces partnership with Bridgeman Images

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Goldsmiths, University of London has signed a partnership with Bridgeman Images to make selected moving and still images from its collections available for professional use.

A still from the film 'Aug 13: What happened?' in the LCVA collection

A still from the film 'Aug 13: What happened?' in the LCVA collection

Bridgeman Images are the world's leading specialists in the distribution of fine art, cultural and historical media for reproduction. Founded in 1972, Bridgeman Images works with museums, galleries, collections and artists to provide a central resource of fine art and archive footage for reproduction to creative professionals.

The London Community Video Archive (LCVA) is the first Goldsmiths collection to feature in the Bridgeman archive. Based within the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, LCVA launched in 2017 with the aim of  preserving, archiving and sharing community videos made in the 1970s/80s in London and the South East. In the early 1970s new portable video recording enabled individuals and communities - including those often ignored or under-represented in the mainstream media – to make their own television.

This rich heritage was at risk of disappearing though a combination of the physical decay of half-inch reel-to reel-tape, and the ageing memories of the original ‘Community Video’ practitioners. LCVA was created by two of these video activists: Tony Dowmunt and Andy Porter. It was made possible by the support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and has been able to archive and digitise a selection of videos from the late 1960s to the early 1990s.

Professor Tony Dowmunt of Goldsmiths, University of London and LCVA said: “We were able to set up LCVA in 2016 with generous support from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, but now we run the project on an entirely unfunded and voluntary basis. So, we are delighted to partner with Bridgeman Images, who will act as our distributor for selected material from the archive with commercial potential, for instance for film and TV sales.

“We anticipate that this will generate modest amounts of income, which we will use to make LCVA sustainable on a long term basis – so we can continue to preserve and digitise community-made videos, making them publicly available and free to use on our site.”

Most LCVA videos can be viewed for free (under a Creative Commons license) on the website, and LCVA contributes work to other public and educational initiatives without charge - for instance Archives for Education (which promotes creative reuse of archives by Student Filmmakers - see: Archives for Education) and the BFI Heritage 2022 Videotape Digitisation project.

This year will see further discussions about how selected materials from other Goldsmiths collections, including  stills, visual art, and photography holdings, might be connected to the Bridgeman Archive.

Related story: how the LCVA rediscovered 'lost' film of the Battle of Lewisham.