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Northumbria University and BFI launch bold cultural partnership

11th August 2022

Northumbria University has joined forces with the UK’s biggest screen body, the BFI (British Film Institute) on an ambitious partnership that will provide leading networks, insight and experience with moving image culture and the screen industries for staff and students across the University.

The UK’s lead organisation for film and the moving image, the BFI will work with Northumbria on projects including live briefs, masterclasses and curriculum development for undergraduate and postgraduate arts and humanities students. More details on these will be announced over the coming months.

As part of the new agreement, all Northumbria students and staff will be able to stream critically acclaimed classic, cult and archive films, including specialist collections curated by the BFI, such as Black stories, LGBTQIA+ and visionary directors on the award-winning BFI Player.

British Film Institute logo

On a wider level, Northumbria will work with the BFI to support the expansion of the screen industry in the North East. Film industry figures and BFI leads will visit Northumbria to meet with students, local talent and industry organisations and specialist employability events will be held to connect Northumbria students to BFI staff and industry networking opportunities.

Simone Pyne, Senior Business Development Manager at the BFI, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Northumbria to enrich learning and embed moving image culture throughout the university with BFI Player and our upcoming projects.

“A robust and meaningful relationship between higher education and industry is critical for the future success of film and high-end television, and together we’ll develop transferable and industry specific skills, helping to address the UK’s screen skills shortage.”

Professor Katy Shaw, Director of Cultural Partnerships at Northumbria University, said: “Northumbria is delighted to launch this national partnership with the BFI. Preserving, producing and promoting film and television is core to our activities in teaching and research within the creative industries in the North East today.

“As a result of this partnership, we will be offering student live briefing learning opportunities alongside industry experts, workshops and masterclasses. This new national partnership will create a much-needed talent pipeline to address a creative industries skills shortage, training the best new screen talent, in the North, for the global screen industry.”

“All students and staff will also have access to on-demand streaming of thousands of movies through BFI player.

“On a national level, the partnership speaks directly to a wider explosion of interest and investment in the screen industries in our region with the launch of North East Screen, new BBC devolution deals and global production companies joining us in the city to work with our students and recent graduates to make the best of new British TV and Film.”

Professor Solomon Lennox, Head of the Department of Arts at Northumbria University added: “The official partnership with the BFI enables Northumbria students to work alongside industry leaders on life briefs, and provides our students with meaningful industry networks, work experience, and masterclass sessions.

“Our approach to partnerships is to facilitate research-enriched learning opportunities, where our students are working with cultural partners to address big questions and global challenges. We are extremely proud of the partnership with the BFI and the scope it provides students to work on responding to matters of social justice within the film industry.”

Northumbria’s cultural partnerships

Northumbria University is committed to partnering with leading arts and cultural organisations to bring benefits for teaching, research and the wider region including the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and New Writing North.

Professor Shaw is currently leading a £1.5 million project with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and UKRI to explore how culture can address regional inequality and help level up the UK.

The BFI (British Film Institute) and BFI Player

The BFI is the UK’s leading organisation for film and the moving image and is home to the world’s largest film and television archive. As part of the collaboration, students and staff have gained access to BFI Player* – a streaming service showing critically acclaimed classic, cult and archive films available for research purposes, and to enjoy at leisure. Students and staff can search collections including LGBTQIA+, visionary directors and black stories. They can also access over 12,000 archive titles that cover all aspects of British life over the last 120 years.

Staff and students can sign up to BFI Player by visiting

More information can be found on the Library’s A-Z list of databases.

* Accessible from within the UK


Department of Arts

Northumbria’s Arts Department Offers A Stimulating And Dynamic Learning Environment In Which To Study Flexible, Student-Orientated Courses. Staff Are Globally-Renowned, Research-Active Experts In Fine Art, Performance And Visual Cultures.

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