Bradford without the National Media Museum is unthinkable
please note this post is not by Jay Clapp Photography but from the photography news at the guardian for your viewing pleasure please feel free to use the share buttons at the bottom.
The then-Museum of Photography, Film & Television inspired Si Cunningham to a career in journalism. He says its closure would wave a white flag for the promotion of creativity in the North
Not much in the way of knocks manages to shock your everyday Bradfordian. Another high street store is quitting the city? No surprise. We’re losing another HQ to Leeds, you say? That figures. Channel 4 are making an original documentary about how grim life is in t’North? Big deal.
But last week’s news that our much-loved National Media Museum is facing the very real threat of closure was a genuine punch in the guts for us all, and even calls into question our status as the world’s first ‘City of Film.’
Like many people who grew up in Bradford, one of my earliest and happiest of memories was being taken on a school trip to the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, as it was known until 2006. In fact, most people still call it that, or just the Photography Museum, or the Film and TV Museum, or whatever. It’s just always been there.
It’s where you’d find out how your favourite cartoons were made, have a go at reading the grown-ups’ news in a proper BBC studio, and then have a go on the legendary magic carpet. Ah yes, the magic carpet. Before me or my mates had ever even heard the phrase ‘green screen’ here we were, sat on a rug in a building in central Bradford, seeing ourselves flying through the skies. It was ace, and it gave us all something to be immensely proud of in a city that didn’t have much else going for it, and it kept us coming back for years.
Sure, Leeds had all the nice shops, but did it have an Imax? Or a place that housed working versions of every games console ever made? Pfft. Any town can have an H&M and a Pizza Express (incidentally, Bradford has neither) but does your town have a room where – for free! – you can watch pretty much any TV programme from the last 60-odd years?
In Notes From A Small Island, Bill Bryson wasn’t very nice about my home city (“Bradford’s role in life is to make every place else in the world look better in compa …” Blah, blah, whatever, Bill) but somewhere in his ramblings he did make a fair point that the only reason he’d visited Bradford in the first place was to check out a museum he’d heard so much about. And many creative types have followed in old beardy Bill’s footsteps.
I recall being chuffed to bits recently after reading an interview with League Of Gentleman legend Mark Gatiss – a bit of a hero of mine – in which he admitted bunking off college lectures back in the day to go to Bradford and watch old episodes of Doctor Who. It’s awesome, I thought, that this institution of ours may well have inspired some of the greatest moments of modern TV.
For my own part, the museum undoubtedly influenced my career in journalism. As an 18-year-old I did my first bit of work experience at the BBC’s studios there, and I remember how the buzzing, creative vibe of the place excited the hell out of me. It was the same for the scores of Bradford Uni students who’ve had their first taste of programme-making in the building’s hidden upstairs studios.
That this source of inspiration and pride for a whole city – a national destination in its own right – might no longer exist is unthinkable, and it makes my heart sink. Where we’ve grown used to the decline and the stalled regeneration elsewhere in Bradford, the Media Museum has always been our special place – our ever-present beacon of hope. To lose it through a lack of funding sends a clear message to the next generation of budding movie-makers, photographers, animators, and journalists in Bradford that they need not bother. To everyone else, the message would be that our city is no longer worth it.
Quite simply, if they take away our museum, they might as well take us off the map.
To sign the petition: ‘Save the National Media Museum in Bradford’, please visit 38degrees.org.uk.
• Si Cunningham is the features editor of Nuts magazine. He tweets @sicunninghamz
via Art and design: Photography | guardian.co.uk http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northerner/2013/jun/10/national-media-museum-bradford-closure Thanks for reading Jay
Posted on June 10, 2013, in Photography News and tagged Art and design: Photography | guardian.co.uk, arts, guardian, IFTTT, info, information, journal, news, newspaper, photo, photography. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.