‘Future-proofing Our Collections’ – Professor Esther Johnson invited to discuss archive film at London’s Screen Archives conference

ASUNDER - main banner image
Still image from Asunder film. Esther Johnson.

Still image from Asunder by Esther Johnson

The Future-proofing Our Collections: Unleashing the Power of Archive Film conference will see London’s Screen Archives bring together archivists, filmmakers, researchers, academics and archive film professionals on Thursday 12 March 2020.

Hosted by the Museum of London, the day will include case studies, innovative approaches, presentations and discussions about archive film and ‎its potential to bring together communities, build and inspire new audiences and showcase the value of archive collections. Welcome addresses come from Sharon Ament (Director of Museum of London) and Adrian Wootton OBE (Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission) followed by a keynote from Anthony Wall, a BAFTA-winning documentary filmmaker, exploring the innovative use of archives in his work.

Future-proofing Our Collections: Unleashing the Power of Archive Film
Museum of London
Thursday 12 March 2020, 9.30AM – 4.30PM
For more information and to book tickets see here.

Artist and filmmaker Professor Esther Johnson has been invited to discuss her use of archive footage in her poetic documentary Asunder which focuses on the First World War’s home front in Sunderland and the North East.

Still image from Asunder film. Esther Johnson.

Still image from Asunder by Esther Johnson

Asunder tells the story of what happened to an English town during the First World War, with almost all of its men fighting abroad and its women and children left behind. Asunder has a soundtrack composed by Sunderland’s Mercury-nominated Field Music and Newcastle’s Warm Digits, performed with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and The Cornshed Sisters. The narration for the film is voiced by journalist Kate Adie, with the actor Alun Armstrong as the voice of the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette.

Using archive and contemporary footage and audio, Asunder collages the stories of people from Tyneside and Wearside to uncover just what life was like on the home front, with bombs falling on Britain for the first time, conscientious objectors sentenced to death, and women working as doctors, tram conductors and footballers. The narrative moves from an Edwardian golden era, in which sport grew in popularity and aircraft and cars pointed to a bright new future, to a war that horrifically reversed this progress. In the Battle of the Somme, British, French and German armies fought one of the most traumatic battles in military history. Over the course of just four months, more than one million soldiers were captured, wounded or killed in a confrontation of unimaginable horror.

Still image from Asunder by Esther Johnson

Esther Johnson works at the intersection of artist moving image and documentary. Her poetic portraits focus on marginal worlds, revealing resonant stories that may otherwise remain hidden or ignored. Work has been exhibited internationally in 40 countries, and has also featured on television and radio. In 2012 Johnson won the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Performing and Visual Arts for young scholars. She is a Professor of Film & Media Art at Sheffield Hallam University. Find out more about Esther’s work here.

Asunder is co-commissioned by Sunderland Cultural Partnership and 14–18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, supported by The National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Sunderland Business Improvement District, Culture Bridge North East and Sir James Knott Trust.

Asunder is on Twitter @1916asunder.