#BritainonLockdown: BFI launches public campaign to map life under lockdown
Staff Reporter | On 03, May 2020
Today the BFI launches a public campaign, Britain on Lockdown, calling on the British public to recommend those online videos that best represent how Britain has experienced the impact of Coronavirus. From Joe Wicks to Boris Johnson, solidarity for NHS frontline workers and local communities coming together through to comedy parodies, public health videos about the importance of proper handwashing and charity campaign films, online video has played a key role in our collective experience of the lockdown in a way that has never been experienced before.
Heather Stewart, BFI Creative Director says, “Life under lockdown has been really difficult for so many but it has given us an incredible historical and social record of the experience through online video in a way we have never seen before. From professional vloggers and filmmakers to everyday folk creating content on their phones shared across multiple platforms, from YouTube to Facebook, Twitter to TikTok – and of course all those
Zoom calls, this content has made us laugh, cry, rage and has spurred us into action. As the guardians of the national film and television collection we want to make sure this unique content is preserved in the BFI National Archive for generations to come. So we are calling on everybody to help us find more and build this extraordinary collection.”
The BFI wants to hear from the public using a simple submissions form at www.bfi.org.uk/britainonlockdown to share their suggestions. BFI wants the Britain on Lockdown project to create an online video archive that reflects the public mood as it ebbed and flowed during the crisis, representing the whole of the UK with a breadth of content and points of view long and short form, spanning all genres; from amateur videos and content created through social media platforms to professional videos, official responses from government, music videos, comedy skits, campaigning films and more.
Britain on Lockdown demonstrates the BFI National Archive’s continued commitment to building a dynamic and representative contemporary collection. This type of digital video material is ephemeral, fleeting and vulnerable to loss, even in the short term. The BFI National Archive’s role is to ensure these videos are safe, stored properly and permanently in our state-of-the art digital preservation system, and that they can be made accessible, not just over the coming years, but for future generations. Building this online video archive will allow BFI curators to represent the key narrative strands and emblematic stories that emerged as the crisis unfolded. Researchers and audiences of the future will have access to a rich and diverse social record of our recent times.
Will the coronavirus crisis change our future viewing habits? Will we continue to embrace the digital video format to interpret the world around us? How many of these current videos will get a second viewing in the future once the crisis has passed? Britain on Lockdown will, in time, help to answer those questions.