Film Commissions

Call for Submissions: 2 x Film Commissions

Living Memory is a Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project that is working across the Black Country to record and celebrate people's own photography collections and life stories. These collections and family albums contain a wealth of important photographs and life stories that we think should be recorded, preserved and shared as part of our cultural heritage. The project launched in January 2018 and finishes early 2020.

As part of the Living Memory project we are:

  • Recording 30 new oral histories with collection holders and photographers to provide first-hand meaning and context to these photographic collections. 
  • Creating over 100 public sharing and training events, workshops, and temporary exhibitions across the region 
  • Working with and training up to 60 project volunteers
  • Producing a Living Memory book 
  • Producing a comprehensive website
  • Producing a DVD of the commissioned films
  • Producing a final Living Memory exhibition late 2019

Film Commissions

We are now looking to commission two films that will tell the story of the Living Memory project and works directly with some of the life stories and photography collections.
We are looking for an experienced creative/documentary filmmaker/s who have a demonstrable interest in heritage, life stories, and photography collections.
Ideally (but not essential) the commissioned filmmaker will have local knowledge of and/or a strong interest in the history and culture of the Black Country.
For an interesting perspective on the Black Country go here.

Film Commission 1


  • To produce a visually rich documentary film that tells a comprehensive story of the Living Memory project: what the project is about and why it is important.
  • To be able to communicate this in an engaging, contemporary style and be accessible to diverse audiences.
  • To capture and illustrate the different aspects of the project through various means, e.g. film, interview, conversation, text, sound, images.
  • To feature people’s stories, the range of photographic collections, and the process of the project including an agreed number of events and workshops.
  • To provide a bank of media footage that can be used to form short standalone pieces for the website and on social media.
  • To provide a bank of material that may be used at some of the show back events scheduled over the next 16 months.
  • To provide a visual record capable of being used for project evaluation purposes.
  • To prepare the film for final screening, final exhibition and hard-copy publishing.


October  2018 - Dec 2019


£3500 to include all travel, materials, and subsistence.  The commissioned filmmaker is responsible for their own NI and tax contributions.

Commission 2 


  • To produce a film that engages directly with the participants and the range of recorded material including: individual photographs; family albums; private photography collections; the recorded oral histories; other related documents. 
  • To create a film (or series of ‘shorts’) that may use more creative approaches 
  • To provide moving image material that can be used to form short standalone pieces for the website and on social media. 
  • To provide moving image material that can be shown back at events scheduled over the next 16 months.
  • To provide a visual record capable of being used for project evaluation purposes.
  • To prepare the film for final screening, final exhibition and hard-copy publishing.


£3500 to include all travel, materials and subsistence.  The commissioned filmmaker is responsible for their own NI and tax contributions.


October  2018 - Dec 2019

To Apply:

Please submit via email:

  • A cover letter detailing your interest in the commission/s and an outline of your skills and filmmaking experience.
  • A brief summary of how you would approach the commission/s.
  • An online link to your showreel or up to 3 specific examples of your work. Please remember to including any passwords.

Submission Deadline: 14th September 2018

Please send your submission to

To download this call as a .pdf document please go here. 

From the Will King Collecton.

Living Memory at The Tipton Canal Festival 2018

We are looking forward to taking part in this year’s Tipton Canal Festival and sharing some of the rich photographs and life stories that we have gathered so far as part of the project. 

Bring along your own canal memories, stories, and photographs.

Do you have any canal-related photographs and stories from the Black Country that you would like to share?  We are having a Living Memory stall at this year's festival where we will be on hand to digitize photographs and record your stories.  We will also be showing examples of the many stories and photographs that have been submitted so far as part of the project. 

Our canals have made a significant contribution to shaping the identity and the landscape of the Black Country. We want to help celebrate the role they have played in the life of our communities through sharing everyday stories and photographs.  We know there are many important untold stories and unseen photographs about the canal in our communities that will be lost if we don't take the opportunity to capture and record them now.  

We look forward to saying hello and talking about canal photographs and life stories as part of Tipton Canal Festival.

School boys on cycling trip around Oldbury,early 1980s. From the Bob Mansell Collecton.
Canal Scene, 1975. From the Keith Hodgkins Collection.

Will King exhibition at Tipton Library

To coincide with this year’s festival we have created a temporary exhibition featuring a selection of iconic photographs from the Will King collection. Will spent his working life on the Black Country canals and during this time took Free event - talking about WIll Kings photographs

For more information on the exhibition and Ruth's talk please see our related blog post.

Canal scene at Darby End, Netherton. From the Ron Moss Collection.

Will King Exhibition at Tipton Library


We are delighted to announce that our next temporary exhibition will be a selection of canal photographs from the Will King Collection and will be on show at Tipton Library between 15 - 29 September 2018. 

Over a period of 30 years Will King took over 2000 significant photographs that captured everyday life on the canals of the Black Country and beyond. Will spent much of his life working on the canal network working as a Lengthsman and then a Toll Clark for the BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigation). He died in 1962 leaving behind a trove of remarkable photographs that capture a time of great change as working boats were being faded out and the canals went into a temporary period of decline.

The Will King collection is now held by his daughter Ruth Collins who has been working with us to curate this first public exhibition of his work. Ruth will be joining us at Tipton Library on the 22nd September to talk about her father’s life and work. More information below. 

The exhibition coincides with the 2018 Tipton Canal Festival which runs over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd of September. We will also be having a stall at this year’s festival where we will be inviting people to bring in their own photographs and stories of life on and around the canals.

Free exhibition event: Ruth Collins in Conversation

11 am - 12.30pm
Saturday 22nd September
Tipton Library

Ruth Collins will be talking about her father’s life and work as well as sharing her own memories of growing up around the canal. As part of the talk, Ruth will be sharing some outstanding photographs from Will's collection for the first time in public. 

All welcome! 

The exhibition runs from the 15th - 29th September.

The Library opening times are:

Monday: 9.30am - 6pm
Tuesday: 9.30am - 1pm
Wednesday and Friday: 9.30am - 5pm
Thursday and Sunday: Closed
Saturday: 10am - 1pm

Looking Back: A guided walk over Rowley Hills with archive photographs.


Led by Mike Poulton and Jim Rippin

10-30am 13.00pm, 15th September 2018.

Cost: £6 (all proceeds go to the Friends of Rowley Hills)

This specially designed guided walk-and-talk is based around a series of remarkable photographs taken by Jim Rippin over the last seventy years. The walk will invite us to see the area in new and fascinating ways, helping us to reflect on the many changes that have taken place within living memory.

Jim Rippin has lived in the area all his life and spent much of it exploring and documenting with his camera. Mike Poulton is also a native of the area and has dedicated much of his life to help document, preserve and celebrate the flora and fauna of this unique landscape.

Working together to lead this walk-and-talk they will be sharing their own rich insights and historical information about this much-loved landscape. We invite you to come along and share your own views, photographs, and experiences of this icon area.

Panarama of Oldbury taken from the Rowley Hills in the 1980s by Jim Rippin.

Length: 2 miles approx

Time: 2.5 hours, depending on the conversation and weather.

Please note the route is at times undulating and steep and is classified as moderate.
We are very sorry that the route is not suitable for wheelchair users and people with mobility issues.
We recommend you wear sturdy footwear or walking boots. The route may be slippy in wet weather.

The maximum number of participants is 15. We advise booking early as we expect the walk to sell-out quickly.

Assembly point and further details will be sent to booked participants.


To book onto the walk please go to our Eventbrite page here. 

Edale House, Tividale taken 1956 by Jim Rippin

Scramblers meeting on Rowley Hills, 1950s. Photo by Jim Rippin

Real Life Stories with Louise Palfreyman


We are delighted to announce that Louise Palfreyman from the Arts Foundry will be working with us over the next six months to lead a special programme of writing workshops and events called Real Life Stories. 

We’re on the lookout for the best tales from the region… and we’re using personal photography collections as inspiration!

Real Life Stories will work with writers and writing groups across the Black Country to develop new works for publication – based on responses to everyday photographs.

Louise Palfreyman, Arts Foundry Editor, said: ‘Sometimes the best stories come from glimpses into real lives, and we feel a collection of Black Country tales would be a great read!’

Run by Living Memory and the Black Country Arts Foundry, anyone with an interest in writing can take part in the workshops and submit their work. We hope to collect new real-life stories inspired by your own photos or images from our extensive Living Memory project archive.

We’ll be touring local writers’ groups with images from the archive to inspire new creative responses and invite you to work around your own personal photographs. Writers can also send us existing real-life tales.
We can also provide technical advice and some assistance in scanning your own photographs ready for publication.

Stories will initially be published on the Living Memory website and at the Black Country Arts Foundry.

Details of particular workshops and timing will be announced over the coming weeks.

If you are interested in independently submitting to Real Life Stories, please send us your work using the form on the Arts Foundry website.  Stories should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words.

Louise Palfreyman is a published writer of fiction and non-fiction, and has worked extensively in the Black Country through a recent residency at the University of Wolverhampton. If you'd like to find out more you can email her here.


Howard Berry's family collection.

Louise Palfreyman (left) leading the 'In Perspective' Creative Writing Workshop at Haden Hill House Museum in June 2018

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