Phoenix Archive Project Commission

Exeter Phoenix


Salary: £4,250 fee

Exeter Phoenix is looking to commission two filmmakers and artists from the south west to develop a creative response to the material in the Phoenix Archive Project.

About the Phoenix Archive Project

Exeter Phoenix possesses an extraordinary historical resource; an archive of approximately 5 hours of 16mm film footage dating from the 1930s to the 1960s, tracking one family’s travels and activities through this turbulent period. Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund we have been able to restore and digitise this extraordinary collection. As well as preserving this valuable resource we’ll be working with project partners to hold community workshops, create public responses to the footage, hold live screenings of previously unseen film, and develop academic and creative responses, including commissions for creative practitioners to make work responding to the collection.

Archive Contents

The Phoenix Archive contains approximately 5 hours of previously unseen footage, predominantly shot on silent 16mm film, and now restored and digitised to 2K video. Due to the fragile nature of the film much of the contents had not been viewed prior to digitisation, but tantalising clues to the contents were available through the notes written on the original film packaging. With the archive now digitised the range and quality of material present represents a beautiful and unique perspective on life in the mid 20th century. From daily life and family outings, to major historical events and world travel, the archive represents an exciting historical record.

The archive includes:

  • Travel to Madeira, Tenerife, Capri, Lucerne, Rome, Barbados, Trinidad, Tobago, Jamaica, Siena, Lausanne, Paris, Brussels, Monaco, Marseille, Lisbon, Algiers, Casablanca and undocumented parts of Africa.
  • Major historic events, including the Paris Exhibition (1937), the aftermath of the Crystal Palace fire (1936), the celebration and coronation parade of George VI, the Festival of Britain, celebrations for the coronation of Elizabeth II.
  • Family and company outings through the UK, including trips to Walton and Frinton Lifeboat Day (1936), Whipsnade zoo (1937), Stratford-upon-Avon, Loch Lomand & travels on the Thames.
  • A great deal more undocumented material.

Phoenix Archive Film Commission

This commission is for the creation of a film which utilises the digital archive and responds to the material. Commissioned artists are free to take any creative approach they wish and must deliver a film for exhibition at the end of the commission. A version of the final output will need to be shared and made public as part of the project’s exhibition and legacy.

Phoenix Archive Creative Practice Commission

The Phoenix Archive Creative Practice Commission is intended for creative practitioners in any medium to respond to the digital material in the archive.

The creative output from this commission can take any form, including but not limited to; live performance, poetry & literature, artists lectures, musical composition, audio visual displays, sculpture, painting, photography and printmaking. A version of the final output will need to be shared and made public as part of the project’s exhibition and legacy.

Commission details

These commissioned works can focus on specific sections, ideas, visuals or themes presented by the archive, and are not required to respond to the archive as a whole.

Alongside the creative output, successful applicants will be required to run a series of public workshops in collaboration with our project partners, facilitating creative responses and interaction with the archive in communities across Devon.

Commissions are open to creative practitioners based in the south west, who are able to deliver work in Devon.

Creative output

Commissioned creatives will be given full access to the digitised archive materials in order to research and develop their commissioned work. For both commissions this work is expected to use and explore aspects of the archive’s content to create the final work or works. As part of the application, we would like applicants to present the creative, and where appropriate thematic, approach they will take to the material and the intended outcome of the final commission.

Creative outputs for both commissions will be exhibited as part of the Phoenix Archive Project and presented or made accessible once the project is complete.


Commissioned creatives will each be required to prepare and deliver 5 community workshops in collaboration with our project partners. This will involve facilitating communities to reflect, engage with, and respond to the archive through a creative output. These creative outcomes may form part of the finished commission piece, or they may sit alongside the commissioned work as an independent creative response.

  • Applications open Mon 04 Dec 2023.
  • Applications close Wed 03 Jan 2023 at 5PM.
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview the week commencing Mon 15 Jan 2024.
  • Commission starts Mon 29 Jan 2024.
  • The commission will end Fri 31 May 2024, during which time you will create the commissioned outcome, as well as facilitate the community workshops.
Commision Funding and Support

The Phoenix Archive Project is offering two commissions of £4250.00

Exeter Phoenix will award one Phoenix Archive Film Commission and one Phoenix Creative Practice Commission.

In addition to this we are able to offer access to space to facilitate project development.

Apply for a commission

Before applying for a Phoenix Archive Commission please read through the Project Guidelines.

To apply for a commission please fill out an application via the form below. Applicants are also asked to complete a Diversity Standards form.

Thanks to our funders & supporters on this project: The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Radcliffe Trust, Aurelius Charitable Trust, Exeter Communities Together, & Villages in Action.

The closing date for this position is 03/01/2024 at 17:00

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