SASE at the University of Brighton


Screen Archive South East (SASE) is part of the University of Brighton and based within its School of Media. It serves the University by advancing its teaching, learning and research culture and by the many ways in which it connects the University to the UK and European heritage sectors and communities throughout the region.

Brighton and Other Places of Interest (1966)SASE’s collection is relevant to many histories and subject areas of relevance to the University’s academic work: the study of the magic lantern, film & television, the history of Britain in the 20th Century, the study of art & design, film & media, creative writing and literary studies, cultural geography, the modern development of medicine & health, transport, tourism, leisure and everyday lives. The collection also serves as a catalyst for the production of new creative work.

As part of the University of Brighton’s submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 and Unit of Assessment D34, SASE’s work played a prominent role in the Impact Case Study entitled, Transforming Screen Culture. It drew attention to the many ways in which SASE has engaged with local communities, national and international museums and broadcasters and has developed new public audiences for contemporary and historical screen culture. It also identified how its collection of largely non-fiction material represents and connects with the past through associations with memory, identity and place.

SASE has well-established relationships with a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University. These include those programmes associated with fashion & dress history, social history (especially the first & second world wars), art & design history, tourism, primary education (digital creativity), the representations of place, information science, screen history and film practice. Every year introductions to the collection and the archive’s work are presented and resources (in the form of digital versions of lantern slides and films) are made available to support student projects. SASE’s staff also supervise undergraduate dissertations and PhDs on subjects related to contemporary archiving and aspects of film / screen history. SASE played a leading role in the creation of two new BA degrees at the University in 2009: Film & Screen Studies and The Moving Image.

Research projects supported by the collection and SASE staff have addressed a very eclectic range of subjects: archival metadata and cataloguing, the history of film archives in the UK, the Church Army and its use of the magic lantern, the rise of amateur cine-clubs, the representation of the British landscape in the visual arts, seaside pier culture, amateur film-making in the 1930s, Empire Day, tourism in the inter-war years, early colour film technologies (Kinemacolor), poverty and the body on the magic lantern screen, film and the Spanish Civil War, population displacement after 1945, the invention of the Sussex town of Peacehaven, the introduction of trousers in women’s wear and temporality in film.

SASE’s Director, Dr Frank Gray, is a specialist in early cinema studies. He has led two AHRC-funded projects (one dedicated to developing SASE’s first on-line catalogue and the second to the curation of a public exhibition on early colour film technologies for Brighton Museum & Art Gallery), served as a member and panelist of the AHRC’s Peer Review College and is an AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellow.

SASE’s ‘sister’ archive within the University of Brighton is the Design Archives; focusing on British design and global design organisations in the twentieth century. There are fascinating links and connections between the SASE collections and the Design Archives and both organisations represent significant research resources within the University.

SASE also has active partnerships that connect the University to a number of pan-European initiatives. SASE’s archivist, leads SASE’s work with two European magic lantern projects: the development of the Lucerna magic lantern database at the University of Trier and the EU-funded Million Pictures academic research project at the University of Utrecht. SASE is also part of EUScreenXL, a European-wide consortium dedicated to sharing Europe’s audiovisual heritage. SASE’s Collections Development Manager has managed the integration of over 1,000 new SASE titles on the EUscreen portal and onto Europeana, a portal for libraries, archive and museums across Europe. 

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