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 and The Radcliffe Trust we have been able to restore and digitise this extraordinary collection.

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.

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.

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.


The Phoenix Archive Project is offering two creative commissions to enable filmmakers and artists from the south west to work with the archive material to develop an exciting and creative response to the material.

Applications for the commission are now closed. More information about the commissioned artists and the workshops will be made public soon.

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