'Northern Ireland Now: Contemporary Collecting' Project Launched | Nerve Centre

NI Now & Nerve Centre | NICRC

Northern Ireland Screen has launched its latest archive collection initiative, "Northern Ireland Now: Contemporary Collecting." The innovative project seeks to address underrepresentation in the Digital Film Archive, championing equality, diversity and inclusion, while fostering collaboration and advancing the skills of those working in the field of moving image curation in Northern Ireland.

The project is in collaboration with Nerve Centre. The Community Relations Councils supports the Nerve Centre through its Core Funding Scheme

Since 2000, the Digital Film Archive team at Northern Ireland Screen has carefully curated thousands of hours of moving image footage from 1987 to the present day. However, recognising that the archive lacks contemporary material related to several key themes and communities – including ethnic minorities, diversity of religious belief, disabled people, neurodivergent people, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and working-class communities, especially young men – Northern Ireland Screen is calling for contemporary content submissions to ensure the Digital Film Archive is a more accurate and representative reflection of contemporary life in Northern Ireland.

Francis Jones, Head of Heritage and Archive at Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital Film Archive, said: “We’ve been carefully curating the Digital Film Archive for over 20 years and engaging with communities across Northern Ireland exhibiting our cultural heritage, through community, school and historical society presentations and engagement sessions showcasing the history of Northern Ireland’s traditions, customs, and artistic expressions. However, we recognise we need to address collection gaps and rectify underrepresentation within the archive and by embracing the power of partnership, the "Northern Ireland Now: Contemporary Collecting" project will ensure the archive better reflects contemporary themes and the diversity of life today.”

Northern Ireland Now: Contemporary Collecting will collaborate with organisations and individuals across Northern Ireland. Through an outreach engagement programme led by Nerve Centre, groups will be empowered to contribute their voice to archive during sessions that will explore areas such as content curation, cataloguing, digital preservation and promotion.

Niall Kerr, Head of Heritage and Community Relations at the Nerve Centre, said: “Nerve Centre is passionate about engaging communities and individuals from all areas of Northern Ireland through innovative, digital approaches that encourage people to have an active say. This project is a unique opportunity for interested groups to share their love of film and use the medium to enhance and better reflect their own backgrounds, in turn building a more cohesive view of modern society.”

Once all of the contemporary content has been collected it will undergo thorough cataloguing and contextualization to ensure public access and understanding before being added to the Digital Film Archive to allow for digital preservation and public access.

The Northern Ireland Now project will run until spring 2025 with opportunities for a wide range of organisations, groups and individuals to get involved. For more information and to register your interest, visit www.nervecentre.org/culture/northern-ireland-now