Sophia Gray - Work Placement

24th July 2023
Sophia Gray - Work Placement

Sophia Gray is an A-level student from North Yorkshire who recently undertook a 2-day work experience placement with Yorkshire Film Archive. Following the successful work we’ve been doing with volunteers, this placement was integrated within the Nature Matters project, under the supervision of the Nature Matters Curator. Her schedule involved getting to know the team, learning more about film history and archives, seeing some of our past film projects (Born a Rebel, Lost Connections, Cost of Living), having a go at some simple conservation work (such as splicing film and adding leader), watching some 16mm wildlife-related films on the Steenbeck (whilst making some curatorial decisions about the quality and content of each film), and being the first person to watch the first draft of our upcoming Nature Matters short film (watch this space!). 

Sophia wrote about her experience with the archive:

“My work experience at Yorkshire Film Archive was a wonderful adventure back in time through the old archives of film-making and Yorkshire’s way of life. The team was so welcoming and genuinely wonderful, they are specialists in what they do and their passion for preserving and creating really comes across in their work. Each one of them are committed and determined to create masterpieces for those who want to reminisce about the past or for those who want to learn about those who came before them. For everyone to enjoy.   

During my work placement I was privileged to watch some of their past productions of film like Lost Connections and Cost of Living which truly made me speechless (which for people who know me is really hard to do). 

The short film Lost Connections is such an emotional and impactful film where it challenges your idea of community and makes you reflect on what is important in life. The use of old film really surprised me in how relevant it can be to a contemporary audience and makes you think that we as the human race (no matter what time period) are always living the same life and with the same problems but nothing it changing. 

The repetitive message of human desire for connection really makes you question how as humans we desire the same connection with others but we have lost the real connection through virtual realities of devices and social media while isolating others and ourselves. As a young person who lived through Covid-19 in 2020/2021 I truly now understand the importance of community and human interaction as when you lose it, being isolated from friends and family only having a screen to look through, you understand the importance of it. 

The other short film Cost of Living is a deep reflection on a cycle of poverty throughout time, with the old footage of the past circumstances and hardships it really enlightened me on how our problems today have been previous problems yet they are still unresolved, making it relatable to contemporary audience. The continuous juxtaposition of privilege and poverty really highlights the big inequality and diversion in society then and today. 

The Yorkshire Film Archive Team really creates beautiful pieces of film from only a confined selection of old footage while even highlighting contemporary issues we face today. Their way of connecting films what on their own wouldn’t link but putting it together and creating an empowering feature blows my mind. I am grateful to have seen and been a part of their work. 

I feel like through my time at Yorkshire Film Archive, I have learnt not just what working life is like but how important it is in looking at the past. I have found that as a young person today I truly don’t look at what is happening around me as we look towards to the future like asking the questions what job will I get or I wonder what will I look like in 20 years’ time. I wish my life away before it has even started. The Yorkshire Film Archive captures and preserves memories and experiences of people’s livelihoods from all types of backgrounds keeping them alive for those who want to remember and share their past to the future generations.”

The team were very lucky to have such a lovely, bubbly and enthusiastic student in the offices for a few days. We’re always eager to hear younger people’s thoughts about archive film, as well as understanding how younger people engage with archive film, and Sophia really was a joy to have in that respect. We wish her all the very best for her future endeavours!

Related Links:

Lost Connections

Cost of Living

Born a Rebel