Nature Matters Archive Open Day!

Book onto one of our FREE events, taking place on Friday 27th October 2023, to say a massive #ThanksToYou to National Lottery players and the National Lottery Heritage Fund for making our ‘Nature Matters’ project possible. We will be hosting a day of exclusive behind the scenes activities at our archive in York St John University!

Behind the Scenes Archive Tour

You are invited to book a 50 minute time slot, which will include:

  • Meet the team!
  • A tour of the archive
  • Handling/splicing 16mm and 8mm film
  • Viewing some of our analogue films on specialist equipment
  • Viewing some of the digitised content in our collection
  • Sneak preview of our brand new online exhibitions

We have specific time slots for you to book throughout the day, so make sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment!


People-Powered Cinema

From 2pm, you'll have the opportunity to charge up the ‘people-powered cinema’! This is a new project in partnership with the Festival of Thrift - a solar and pedal-powered sustainable cinema, which will be showing more environment-based footage from the vaults.

Whether you’re up for the challenge of cycling or you just want to watch your friends have a go, feel free to drop-in to the Creative Centre foyer at York St John University to experience a greener way of watching films, whilst having fun! No need to book!

John Hawkridge: A Midsummer Night’s Walk

In this talk, we'll introduce you to the pioneering, intrepid John Hawkridge - an adventurer with cerebral palsy who traversed difficult terrains in the UK and across the world - and discuss some of his greatest exploits captured on film.

In 2017, John Hawkridge donated three films to the Yorkshire Film Archive, which showed him walking The Dales Way, climbing Scafell Pike, and completing the local hiking challenge known as the Three Peaks of Yorkshire. As part of our research into these films, we uncovered a wealth of information about this fascinating and inspirational figure, much of it in his own words from his autobiographies: Sticks and Stones: An Autobiography (1987) and Uphill All The Way (1991), which were donated to the YFA along with his films.

Beyond the archives, John has been involved in other projects as part of his role as a local hiking celebrity. He has featured in a BBC documentary about his climb of Mount Everest, a British Library oral history project, and on a BBC hiking programme called ‘Tracks’.

John clearly displays an ardent love of nature and hiking, together with an admirable strength of will to keep on walking under the direst of circumstances, and we are excited to share his story with you.

When:  Friday 27th October 5.30pm-6.15pm

Where: Room CC/011 in the Creative Centre at York St John University


‘Nature Matters’ short film launch

We are also excited to announce the launch of our brand new short film that very evening! Join us for the premiere of ‘Nature Matters’: a love letter to nature and a call to action, this timely short film speaks across generations, using over a century of archive footage to remind us of our innate relationship with the natural world.

When: Friday 27th October, doors from 6:30pm, event starts at 7pm

Where: The Creative Centre, York St John University


* places are limited, booking is essential.

This special screening will be followed by a Q & A with the producers and a complimentary drinks reception. Produced by the Yorkshire and North East Film Archives, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and York St John University, ‘Nature Matters’ is both a prescient warning and a positive vision for the future.