Open Call for Guest Curation
– Archive Screening Days

Independent Cinema Office


Salary: £500 fee

The ICO is looking for three paid guest curator contributions to our next Archive Screening Days event. The event is scheduled for 8 December at the BFI Southbank with additional online activity TBC.

We want to expand who presents at our Screening Days events. We are looking for people to contribute to both strands to this event. The first strand are practical case studies and provocations: anything that you have done to bring new and existing audiences to film history, rep cinema or material that is held in film archives. The second is curated programmes. We are looking for programmes that could be toured nationally, that you’d present to our audience of cinema professionals.

You can attend an information session about this open call with our Projects and Business Manager Duncan Carson:

These are a good opportunity to put questions directly to the team and hone your application. We will share a link to a recording of the session to anyone who registers so even if you can’t make these two sessions, sign up and you’ll be able to watch later.

What is Archive Screening Days?

Archive Screening Days is a multiple-day event that:

  • Shares routes to introducing audiences to undershown pieces of film history
  • Discusses how we can connect audiences with material held in film archives
  • Previews new restorations of classic titles and films that make use of archive material

We are seeking contributions to both the film programmes and session concepts programme to reach out beyond the networks and areas of expertise within the ICO.

What kinds of ideas are we looking for? What is ‘archive’ material?

We are looking for ideas outside of what the ICO team could develop ourselves, so we are actively looking to be surprised, but here’s some broad areas of interest for us:

  • How do you market classic titles effectively
  • How can we reshape what the film canon is and which older films audiences are keen to engage with
  • How can the archive become a public resource and offer its material more easily in cinemas and community spaces
  • Removing barriers to screening films on film and honouring the way films were seen in their original formats

We would like session ideas to be ambitious, inspiring and engaging, as useful as possible for cinemas to apply, and to focus on specific topics rather than general concepts. Possible formats are panel discussions, case studies, provocations, discussion groups, workshops, debates and more. If you have a film programme – preferably one that you have previously screened so you can talk about your experience as a case study – we can also welcome that as a platform for other independent cinemas to take it on.

Due to programme space, if you propose a film programme we will only be able to show one film in the programme, though you can propose a broader season and present on it.

Please note that we are planning to deliver this event in a hybrid format incorporating both in-venue and virtual screenings and sessions. You are welcome to present in either format.

Is there a fee available?

We have budget for up to three external curators to be selected from this open call. If your idea is taken forward we can pay a fee of £500 for organising/administering the session, as well as a budget for travel and accommodation for the event and a pass to attend the event. There will also be an additional budget to cover speaker fees or other costs to deliver the event. If you plan to lead the session yourself, you are also eligible to receive the speaker fee. Your contribution will be acknowledged in the Screening Days info pack and on social media (if you would appreciate that). You may like to work with a partner, speakers or a group in which case the available fee will be split accordingly.

Who can make a proposal?

You do not need to work in film or a cinema to propose a session. If you have practical experience of engaging audiences with historical material that is immediately applicable or transferable to film, then we want to hear from you. You do not need to deliver the session yourself; as long as you are able to develop it and have the direct connections for it to take place we want to hear from you. You are also welcome to deliver it yourself (for which additional payment is applicable).

What are we trying to achieve?

We want to influence people who work in cinemas and other exhibition spaces to be more ambitious about how they share film history. We are looking for innovative topics and speaker suggestions to make these events as impactful and inspiring as possible.

Who are the sessions aimed at? Who attends Screening Days?

Screening Days are attended by people who work for cinemas, mixed-art venues, film societies, film festivals and community cinemas as well as staff of public funders and other agencies working to support film culture in the UK. They will probably work in film programming, marketing and audience development roles. They will likely have small budgets and limited staff time so it’s important that the events give them both inspiration and practical takeaways.

What support is available?

The ICO team are happy to work with you on organising and developing sessions if you’d like, or we can try and pair you with other curators who might like to partner with you. We are also able to provide accommodations for access that you – or anyone who you might engage for the session – might need. We also pay for accommodation, travel fees and event passes for you and your speakers to attend the event if traveling in person.

How and when should ideas be submitted?

The closing date for submissions is Monday 31 October at 10am. If you’re interested in taking part please send your session idea(s) to Duncan Carson, Projects and Business Manager at the ICO:

Your session idea should be no longer than one page and should include:

  • Session title
  • Session description (no more than 500 words) including why you think this session will help more people to engage with film history
  • Suggested speakers (if applicable)

You are also welcome to send an audio or video recording of no more than 8 minutes describing your idea. Send a WeTransfer or private YouTube link to

All ideas are reviewed by the ICO internal team and the Screening Days Advisory Group. Once successful ideas have been selected to be taken forward, you will be given more guidance about session design and inviting speakers. We are happy to receive more than one suggestion if you have it.

We will let you know whether your idea has been accepted or not by 7 November, offering you around four weeks to prepare the programme if successful. We are happy to offer feedback on all submissions if desired.

The closing date for this position is 31/10/2022 at 10:00

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