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Results against our Corporate Plan

Strategic priority 1: Digitise the national audiovisual collection

Collection material is deteriorating at a faster rate than we can currently digitise it. We estimate that by 2025 our magnetic tape collection will no longer be accessible due to degradation and technical obsolescence. Many of the other formats in our collection face similar threats. In addition, our audiences now expect to be able to access and use collection material in digital format on demand. We need to evolve with these expectations and dramatically increase our rates of digitisation to ensure that the national audiovisual collection is available and accessible into the future.

Outcome: By 2025 we will digitise over 40,000 audiovisual collection items every year.

Table 1: Strategic priority 1: Digitise the national audiovisual collection

Objective

Activity

Target 2019-20

Result 2019-20

Objective 1A: Implement the NFSA Digitisation Strategy, which commits to prioritising digitisation as a core program of activity

1A.1. Implement the Digitisation Strategy*

Five-year Digitisation Plan developed, and objectives delivered on time and withinbudget

Achieved

Objective 1B: Digitise the national audiovisual collectionso that it is preserved and accessible

1B.1. Digitise the collection through active digitisation, format-shifting of content and data migration

16,000 audiovisual collection items digitised*

Achieved: 18,543 items

Objective 1C: Increase our capacity and capability to manage digital preservation of all collection formats

1C.1. Develop a Large-scale Digitisation Plan to progress the establishment of large‑scale digitisation

Large-scale Digitisation Plan developed and implemented on time and within budget*

Achieved

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2019-20 to 2022-23 page 6 and PBS page 162

*PBS 2019-20 target

Objective 1A: Implement the NFSA Digitisation Strategy, which commits to prioritising digitisation as a core program of activity

1A.1 Implement the Digitisation Strategy

Table noting that the target of having a five-year Digitisation Plan developed, and objectives delivered on time and within budget was achieved

What we achieved

The NFSA Digitisation Strategy 2018–2025 sets out the case for digitisation of our analogue audiovisual collection – opening it up for access and use by everyone. We will prioritise material that is most at-risk, culturally significant or in public demand. Based on consensus among audiovisual archives internationally and endorsed by UNESCO, Deadline 2025 highlights the fact that much of Australia’s audiovisual heritage held on magnetic tape will be lost forever if it is not digitised by2025.

In 2019–20 we developed the Collection Digitisation Plan 2020–2025 focused on progressing large-scale digitisation. The plan clearly outlines our digitisation priorities, capability and capacity and how we will progressively upgrade our operations. However, the plan also recognises that in order to meet our target of digitising 40,000 items annually by 2025, we will need significant additional funding to invest in digitisation equipment, technical staff and digital storage and infrastructure.

On 30 June 2020 the Minister for Communications, CyberSafety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, announced that we will receive $5.5 million over four years to support digitisation of at-risk collection material. This additional funding will enable us to upgrade our existing operations to undertake large-scale digitisation and to digitise our at-risk audio and video magnetic tape, at the highest international archival standard, in time to meet Deadline 2025. We will significantly revise the Collection Digitisation Plan 2020–2025 in July 2020 to reflect this additional funding.

Objective 1B: Digitise the national audiovisual collection so that it is preserved and accessible

1B.1 Digitise the collection through active digitisation, format-shifting of content and data migration

Table noting that the target of having 16,000 audiovisual collection items digitised was achieved

What we achieved

In 2019–20 we digitised 18,543 audiovisual collection items, exceeding our target. We increased digitisation outputs by continually upgrading equipment, improving workflows, streamlining procedures and implementing software solutions where appropriate to assist with automating processes. Additionally, we improved digital infrastructure and storage using the latest digital technologies.

Key milestones to date include:

  • Increasing our video digitisation capacity by 80% through the acquisition of new multi-ingest video systems, increasing our five streams of video digitisation to nine
  • Establishing a centralised, scalable transcoding solution that provides the ability to automate the process of creating files for digital distribution and browsing
  • Implementing a centralised machine-learning and artificial intelligence-enabled quality and compliance platform that provides automated checks for collection items being digitised, as well as digital-born acquisitions
  • Upgrading our collection storage management infrastructure which enables us to archive files at an increased capacity of about 400%.

Objective 1C: Increase our capacity and capability to manage digital preservation of all collection formats

1C.1 Develop a Large-scale Digitisation Plan to progress the establishment of large-scale digitisation

Table noting the target of having a large-scale Digitisation Plan developed and implemented on time and within budget was achieved

What we achieved

Progressing large-scale digitisation is the core focus of our Collection Digitisation Plan 2020–2025 which was developed during 2019–20. Large‑scale digitisation is the capability to digitise material en masse through technology such as multi‑channel ingest workstations and systems. We need to balance this approach to digitisation by recognising that some collection material is not suitable for large-scale digitisation due to condition or format, and must be digitised on a one-to-one scale by highly trained technical staff.

In 2019–20 we completed research, testing and procurement for three new multi-channel video ingest systems to significantly increase our ability to digitise and preserve at-risk video material. Despite interruption from COVID-19 this year, we were able to introduce one of these systems – increasing our five streams of video digitisation to nine and resulting in a significant increase (up to 80%) in our video digitisation capacity. Once all three of these systems are operational, we will be able to increase our video digitisation to 17 streams.

We also completed plans and procurement to significantly upgrade two of our eight audio studios, which will result in increased large-scale digitisation of magnetic cassette and reel-to-reel tape material from our collection. We finalised procurement for an additional CD multi-ingest system, as CDs are considered an at-risk format, but unfortunately the implementation of this new system was delayed because of COVID-19.

We will significantly revise the Collection Digitisation Plan 2020–2025 in July 2020 to reflect the additional $5.5 million in funding announced on 30 June 2020, specifically in terms of undertaking large-scale digitisation of our audio and video magnetic tape in time to meet Deadline 2025.

Case study: Collecting and preserving video games

Our collection represents the cultural diversity and breadth of experience of all Australians and is constantly evolving. One of our strategic priorities is to be the national leader in collecting, preserving and sharing multimedia and new media content. As a result, we launched a pilot project in September 2019 to explore the feasibility of collecting and preserving Australian video games. Like film, recorded sound, radio and television before them, video games have had a significant impact on society.

Video games are an immersive audiovisual medium that play a major role in contemporary popular culture. They represent an artistic, storytelling and technological achievement, as well as an industry that contributes significantly to the Australian economy.

Our initial selection of eight games for archiving spans all eras and technical formats, from cassette tape to mobile devices and virtual reality headsets. We are collecting physical cartridges and discs, as well as storyboards, artwork, soundtracks and publicity materials. The games selected for the pilot project are:

  • The Hobbit (Beam Software, 1982)
  • Halloween Harry (SubZero Software, Interactive Binary Illusions, 1985)
  • Shadowrun (Beam Software, 1993)
  • LA Noire (Team Bondi, 2011)
  • Submerged (Uppercut Games, 2015)
  • Hollow Knight (Team Cherry, 2017)
  • Florence (Mountains, 2018)
  • Espire 1: VR Operative (Digital Lode, 2019).

Working on this initial selection allows us to explore what components and documentation we need to collect to archive a game’s creative process from concept to finished product. It will also identify challenges around software and hardware obsolescence, long-term storage and access, rights and proprietorial platforms to inform our ongoing preservation strategy.

The games collecting pilot has received fantastic reactions from game developers and the broader games industry in Australia. The level of engagement displayed by the games industry demonstrates that there is a major role for us in collecting and preserving games and game-related material. Following the pilot phase, we will collect Australian games on an ongoing basis.

This year our games collecting pilot and ‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’ helped position the NFSA at the forefront of digital culture, sparking positive new relationships with industry, creators and visitors.

Halloween Harry video game cover
Original 1993 'Halloween Harry' game

Strategic priority 2: Establish the National Centre for Excellence in Audiovisual Heritage

As Australia’s only national audiovisual archive, the NFSA is uniquely placed to be a leader in the GLAM sector in the collection, preservation, curation and sharing of audiovisual content in all formats. As our resources are increasingly stretched, we also need to ensure that we are taking a collaborative approach, partnering with other collecting institutions, creators, industry and the tertiary sector. We must ensure that we use our expertise to speak with authority and to offer guidance and support in relation to audiovisual archiving for the GLAM sector.

Outcome: By 2025 we will be recognised in the Australian GLAM sector as the National Centre for Excellence in Audiovisual Heritage.

Table 2: Strategic priority 2: Establish the National Centre for Excellence in Audiovisual Heritage

Objective

Activity

Target 2019-20

Result 2019-20

Objective 2A: Partner with the tertiary sector, industry, collecting institutions and government to build our impact and output

2A.1. Develop partnerships with the tertiary sector, industry, collecting institutions and government

Eight current partnerships in place*

Achieved

Objective 2B: Establish ourselves as a trusted digital repository for the collections sector

2B.1. Develop a detailed business case for the National Centre for Excellence in Audiovisual Heritage

Completion of business case delivered on time and within budget

Not achieved

Objective 2C: Build the NFSA's profile and reputation as a thought leader in the field of audiovisual archiving

2C.1 Support and drive knowledge exchange and thought leadership in relation to digital cultural collections through the NFSA’s Digital Directions conference

200 participants in the NFSA’s Digital Directions conference*

Partially achieved: 160 participants

2C.2 Provide training and development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archive professionals in audiovisual archiving practices

Four current partnerships in place

Achieved

2C.3 Develop an Indigenous Strategy

Indigenous Strategy developed on time and within budget

Partially achieved

Objective 2A: Partner with the tertiary sector, industry, collecting institutions and government to build our impact and output

2A.1 Develop partnerships with the tertiary sector, industry, collecting institutions and government

Table noting that the target of having eight current partnerships in place was achieved

What we achieved

We have established several new partnerships this year, encompassing education, exhibitions, events and more:

  • National Gallery of Australia: to present NFSA programming at the gallery’s family event series Super Sundays and the inaugural Art IRL party event aimed at teenagers where we presented the ‘Carriberrie’ virtual reality experience
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales: to co-present the ‘Mervyn Bishop’ exhibition (postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19)
  • ANU’s Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies: to co‑fund and collaborate on a doctorate program and host a PhD student within the NFSA Exhibitions team
  • Screen Canberra, Goethe-Institut, Sydney Film Festival, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, BusStop Films, Clipped.tv, Art Not Apart, ANU/Canberra Times Meet the Author Series, Floriade, Enlighten Festival, Canberra International Film Festival: to co-present events at the NFSA
  • Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), GamePlus, Film Art Media, Visit Canberra, Ovolo Nishi hotel, National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach (NCITO) Program: to support exhibitions at the NFSA
  • Anglicare and Cinesound Movietone Productions: to deliver a year-long pilot of our ‘Master the Archive’ interactive trivia game in 20 residential care facilities across Australia
  • SBS Digital Creative Labs: to collaborate on the development of Storywall, an upcoming interactive video installation showcasing collection stories from NFSA staff.

We continue to maintain close and productive partnerships with a number of other organisations including the NMA, the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, SBS, the National Library of Australia (NLA), the NAA, the ABC and AIATSIS.

Objective 2B: Establish ourselves as a trusted digital repository for the collections sector

2B.1 Develop a detailed business case for the National Centre for Excellence in Audiovisual Heritage

Table noting that the target of completing a business case was not achieved

What we achieved

In June 2020 Minister Fletcher announced an additional $5.5 million in funding to support the digitisation of the national audiovisual collection and the establishment of a hub for the digitisation of the collections of other cultural institutions, sharing our infrastructure and expertise. With this funding, we will be able to realise one of our key strategic priorities and establish the National Centre for Excellence in Audiovisual Heritage.

The NFSA is working with two foundation partners, the NAA and the ABC, toward this goal. We are in a position to commence scoping this project following the receipt of additional funding in June 2020. The National Centre for Excellence flagship project will commence in the second half of 2020, working with the NAA in the first instance.

Objective 2C: Build the NFSA’s profile and reputation as a thought leader in the field of audiovisual archiving

2C.1 Support and drive knowledge exchange and thought leadership in relation to digital cultural collections through the NFSA’s Digital Directions conference

Table noting that the target of having 200 participants at the Digital Directions conference was partially achieved with 160 participants

What we achieved

In November 2019, we held the fifth annual Digital Directions symposium, bringing together professionals who care about Australia’s cultural heritage in the digital age.

DrJon-Paul Dyson joined us from Rochester, New York, where he leads the International Center for the History of Electronic Games and runs exhibitions at the Strong National Museum of Play. Other speakers included Bill Peck, Chief Technology Ocer at Twist Bioscience (USA), Dr Alain Dufaux from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology as well as the ABC’s David Anderson (Managing Director) and Rebecca Matthews (Head of Content Management).

Guest speakers joined 160 of the brightest minds in the galleries, libraries, educators, archives and museums sector and creative industries for two days of talks, panels and workshops in Canberra. Attendance was slightly reduced due to competition from similar events in the same time period. Sessions were recorded and shared online with audiences around the world.

We delivered Digital Directions in partnership with the ABC, ANU, AIATSIS, AARNet, NAA, NLA and NMA.

2C.2 Provide training and development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archive professionals in audiovisual archiving practices

Table noting that having four current partnerships in place was achieved

What we achieved

We deliver the Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship in partnership with AIATSIS and First Nations Media Australia. We fulfilled the first stage of the fellowship in 2018–19 with the final stage completed in November 2019.

As part of the fellowship this year, two of our staff visited Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Media (PY Media) in the remote South Australian town of Umuwa. They audited the PY Media audiovisual collection and equipment, assessed the collection facilities and provided key recommendations and advice on caring for the collection on Country. We will provide ongoing audiovisual archiving support to PY Media.

In 2019–2020 we focused on delivering broader support for preservation of Indigenous collections on Country through digitisation, via our partnerships with the Strehlow Research Centre, Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association and Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa.

2C.3 Develop an Indigenous Strategy

Table noting that the target of having the Indigenous Strategy developed on time and within budget was partially achieved

What we achieved

In 2019 we committed to developing an Indigenous Strategy to ensure the inclusion of Indigenous Connections in everything we do. We established a working group to lead the strategy, consisting of CEO Jan Müller, Chief of Staff Nancy Eyers, and Manager of Indigenous Connections, Tasha James.

Our Indigenous Strategy will leverage First Peoples: A Roadmap for Enhancing Indigenous Engagement in Museums and Galleries, prepared by Terri Janke and Company for the Australian Museums and Galleries Association.

A draft of our Indigenous Strategy has been shared with the NFSA Board and Indigenous Connections Committee. The NFSA Indigenous Strategy 2020–2023 will be published in November 2020.

Snapshot: Improving our data analysis

We formed a Data Integrity and Analytics team in November 2019 to help maintain the integrity of our collection and its related data. This capability supports our role as a trusted digital repository for collection materials and positions us for our future role as the National Centre for Excellence in Audiovisual Heritage.

By extracting and analysing our data and metadata, the team provides insights into the collection and supports our strategic priorities. Our data integrity policies allow us to meet international standards for archiving; achieve consistency, accuracy and transparency with respect to our collection description tools; and ensure that we can collaborate with industry partners to the highest standard.

In its first year, the team has worked on several strategic collection projects. These include building a flexible tool to assist with the financial valuation of our collection, providing storage capacity planning to map the growth of both the analogue and digital collections, redeveloping the methodology to calculate the collection’s average lifespan using the Time Weighted Preservation Index (TWPI) and constructing preservation queues to prioritise the digitisation of at-risk analogue audiovisual material in the collection.

The team has extrapolated data for research projects, policy design and reporting functions, including the generation of key performance indicators. It is now collaborating with the Digital branch on the integration of several new tools to expedite access, description and integration of our collections.

Case study: Supporting the protection of culturally important recordings

In November 2019, as part of the Indigenous Remote Archival Fellowship, NFSA sta visited PY Media in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, South Australia. The fellowship is a partnership between the NFSA, First Nations Media Australia and AIATSIS to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in remote Australia to archive and preserve cultural heritage materials, particularly in audiovisual formats.

PY Media has operated as a production company on the APY Lands for 40 years, also running Radio 5NPY, which broadcasts in the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara languages. PY Media has an invaluable collection encompassing recordings of Inma (cultural dance and song), contemporary Anangu music and concerts, interviews, Tjukurpa stories, re‑enactments and contemporary events. Thousands of these culturally important recordings are at risk, being held on deteriorating analogue media.

PY Media staff had previously visited us in Canberra to learn about how we preserve our collection and how they might apply this knowledge to their own materials. This year, Tasha James (Manager, Indigenous Connections) and Belinda Hunt (Team Leader, Collection Management) visited the PY Media facility on country in Umuwa for three days.

Tasha and Belinda surveyed the collection of approximately 2,000 videotapes, in various formats, and digital files and provided advice on collection management processes, digitisation, security, storage conditions, collection care and handling. They spent time with the PY Media Manager to share knowledge, conduct conservation work on collection material and make recommendations about planning for the sustainability, engagement and growth of the archive.

We will continue to provide PY Media support through regular quarterly meetings. The next stage of the fellowship will involve PYMedia working with AIATSIS in relation to digitisation practices and equipment maintenance.

Shelves of tapes at the PY Media audiovisual archive in South Australia
Part of the PY Media audiovisual collection

Strategic priority 3: Build our national profile

As Australia's national audiovisual archive, the NFSA has a strong national focus. The collection contains a wealth of stories and content relevant to all Australians, held in a format that lends itself to remote delivery and emotional engagement. Our revitalised exhibition program drew thousands of interstate and international visitors to Canberra (nearly 50% of all visits) for ‘The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition’ and ‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’. We continued touring ‘Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits’ around the country, visiting Bathurst and Geraldton, and installed our interactive trivia game in 20 residential care facilities across NSW. Our new online streaming programs and enhanced web publishing efforts reached new audiences nationally and, combined with mainstream media coverage, helped elevate our national prole.

Outcome: By 2025 we will be recognised as Australia’s national audiovisual archive, a leader in our field, a source of vibrant, relevant and exciting engagement and the first point of call for audiovisual content.

Table 3: Strategic priority 3: Build our national profile

Objective

Activity

Target 2019-20

Result 201-20

Objective 3A: Establish a strong program of NFSA-branded events providing strong links to the national audiovisual collection

3A.1 Deliver events, public programs, screenings and education activities (onsite and offsite)

100,000 visits to the organisation

Partially achieved: 97,523 visits

20,000 people participating in public programs and events*

Achieved: 34,684 people

12,000 students participating in education programs

Partially achieved: 7,760 students

Objective 3B: Build our digital profile and online engagement activities

3B.1. Continue to develop NFSA.gov.au and the NFSA’s social media platforms to be contemporary, relevant and facilitate access to the collection (online)

1.1 million visits to the organisation’s website*

Achieved: 1.8 million visits

1.25 million YouTube views*

Achieved: 5.28 million views

11 million Facebook users (dailyreach)*

Partially achieved: 7 million users

9 million users (daily reach) on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

Achieved: 10 million users

3B.2. Develop and deliver interactive digital access opportunities engaging the public with collection material and NFSA programs in a range of venues across Australia

Deliver one interactive digital access program per year on time and within budget

Achieved

Objective 3C: Revitalise the NFSA's program of high-profile exhibitions celebrating Australian audiovisual content at the NFSA's headquarters

3C.1. Deliver temporary exhibitions showcasing Australia’s audiovisual heritage

40,000 visitors to exhibitions*

Partially achieved: 32,525 visitors

3.C.2 Deliver temporary original exhibitions that showcase the NFSA collection

Develop exhibition proposal for an original NFSA exhibition to be held in 2021–22

Achieved

3.C.3 Develop and deliver touring exhibitions that showcase the NFSA collection nationally

Deliver one touring exhibition per year on time and withinbudget

Achieved

Objective 3D: Share the national collection so that it is accessible for enjoyment, learning, insight and creativity

3D.1. Provide access services to increase the audience reach and re-use of the national collection

12 million Australians viewing content from the collection

Achieved

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2019–20 to 2022–23 page 10 and PBS page 163

*PBS 2019–20 target

Objective 3A: Establish a strong program of NFSA-branded events providing strong links to the national audiovisual collection

3A.1 Deliver events, public programs, screenings and education activities (onsite and offsite)

Table showing targets relating to objective 3A

What we achieved

Public Programs

During the year, our public programs underwent a series of changes, including a shift to online as a result of the temporary closure of our Acton building in Canberra in March because of COVID-19. Attendance on site in Canberra before the COVID-19 pandemic was strong, already reaching attendance targets by the time the building closed on 18 March 2020.

In July 2019, we created several new programming streams to build audience appeal around our Arc cinema screenings across complementary demographics:

  • Arc Out Loud is a series of interactive screenings, encouraging audience participation
  • Curator’s Pick focuses on recently acquired or rare items from the collection, selected and presented by curators who share their insights and expertise
  • Girls to the Front is a quarterly showcase of content produced and presented by female Australian creators, with a specific focus on promoting under-represented cultures, ideas and voices
  • Aussie Indies is a monthly showcase for contemporary Australian independent cinema
  • The Story of Film is a monthly screening about the history of cinema accompanied by relevant collection films.

Film event highlights for this year included:

  • The Essential Australian Women Directors program and a retrospective of the films of Agnès Varda, in partnership with Sydney Film Festival and ACMI
  • The Final Quarter (2019) free documentary screening and panel discussion about Adam Goodes and racism in sport with director Ian Darling, the ABC’s Fran Kelly, AFL Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch and former AFL Sydney Swans player Michael O’Loughlin
  • Costume Designer Marion Boyce delivering a floor talk for ‘The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition’, and joining Q&A sessions at screenings of The Dressmaker (2015) and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012–15)
  • NFSA Restores titles: Eternity (1994) plus Q&A with Lawrence Johnston, Black Robe (1991) plus Q&A session with Bruce Beresford and Sue Milliken, The Odd Angry Shot (1979) plus Q&A with Anna Senior and Howling III: The Marsupials (1987)
  • The Sci-Fi 79-99 season celebrating 40 years of iconic lms including a special 20th anniversary screening of The Matrix (1999) plus Q&A with producer Andrew Mason
  • A screening of short films made by people with disabilities for International Day of People with Disability, provided free and with open captions, in partnership with Bus Stop Films
  • Two KinoKonzert events in partnership with the Goethe-Institut: Nosferatu (1922), with live accompaniment by Ensemble Offspring (sold out), and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920), with live score by Ashley Hribar
  • A David Gulpilil film retrospective and free public session of our Indigenous Representations on Screen education program over the Australia Day long weekend.

Music and broadcast event highlights for the year included:

  • The Vinyl Lounge continuing with strong monthly attendance
  • In Case You Missed It: The Moon Landing event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing
  • Two episodes of Australian TV series The Evil Touch (1972) screening with accompanying talk by crime writer Andrew Nette
  • Bernard Fanning and Nick DiDia presenting our sold‑out Classic Australian Album session on Powderfinger’s Internationalist (1998)
  • A program of exclusive new music videos and a retrospective of newly restored clips by Ray Argall, in partnership with CLIPPED.TV
  • Mystify: Michael Hutchence (2019) screening with director Richard Lowenstein.

Arc cinema remains the home for a variety of film festivals including the Canberra International Film Festival, Czech and Slovak Film Festival and Japanese Classic Film Festival.

We continue to develop immersive, interactive and experiential programs that bring the collection and our exhibitions to life in innovative ways. Program highlights for this year included:

  • Friday Lates, a series of tie-in events with ‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’ encouraging a new, diverse and primarily adult audience to engage with us. Each event included after-hours access to the exhibition, music in the courtyard and talks by game developers, designers, composers and producers, in partnership with AIE and Game Plus
  • A ‘Pay What You Can Day’ offering access to the exhibition free of charge for people who may otherwise not be able to afford it.

With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting our Acton building in mid-March, the Public Programs team pivoted to present two new programs online: Deep Dive and NFSA Live. Deep Dive shares selected recordings from previous onsite events, using them as triggers to explore digitised collection items available on our website and beyond. NFSA Live is a series of free live-streamed events and film screenings featuring real-time Q&As.

  • The nine weekly editions of Deep Dive between April and June featured talks by David Stratton, Jocelyn Moorhouse, Richard Lowenstein, The Final Quarter panel discussion and more.
  • NFSA Live sessions included two editions of Virtual Vinyl Lounge with audience members invited to submit song requests via video; screenings of NFSA Restores titles: Storm Boy (1976), with introduction by Curator Elena Guest, Mabo: Life of an Island Man (1997) plus Q&A with director Trevor Graham and Indigenous Connections Manager Tasha James for National Reconciliation Week and Sunday Too Far Away (1975) plus Q&A with producer Matt Carroll; and a Prisoner 40th anniversary event with special guests from the TV drama.

We held a range of programs across the country including:

  • NFSA Restores: The Sentimental Bloke premiere at Westpac OpenAir Cinema in Sydney, with a live performance of a new score by Paul Mac
  • ‘NAIDOC in the City’ screenings of short films from the Black Screen program in Sydney’s Hyde Park
  • Talks and screenings to complement the ‘Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits’ touring exhibition in Geraldton and Bathurst.

Our Non-Theatrical Lending Collection (NTLC) lends feature, short, documentary and experimental films to non-profit organisations and film societies around the country for a modest fee. This year nearly 8,000 viewers watched an NTLC title on loan before screenings halted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Venue hire

Our venue hire activity continued during 2019–20 with attendance on track to increase on the previous year. When the building closed in March because of COVID-19, we had seen 6,918 visitors linked to venue hire, a 38% increase on the previous year to date.

As well as its commercial benefits, venue hire allows us to develop strategic relationships and audiences, and work with key government and cultural stakeholders including film festivals, diplomatic missions, government departments, university conferences and cultural sector organisations.

Notable venue hires included hosting the launch of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association’s Digital Australia 2020 report; a lecture by the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AMMP presented by ANU; a cast and crew screening for Australian TV drama Total Control (2019); the launch of the Canberra arm of Bus Stop Films (both in partnership with Screen Canberra); NAIDOC Week screenings for the then Department of Communications and the Arts; and the graduation screening for the University of Canberra’s film production course.

Engaging with Students

It was an exciting year for us in terms of education with a refreshed offering of programs, including a newly developed Animation program. The session included free play in ‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’ and garnered very positive feedback from students, teachers and parents.

We reached 8,041 students and teachers onsite this year, mostly from primary and secondary schools. This figure was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented schools from travelling to the ACT to participate in our programs from March to June.

Over 400 people took part in other events presented by the education team, including exhibition talks for seniors’ groups, industry seminars and conferences. During ‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’, we offered additional after-hours education sessions.

We continue to pilot a small outreach program with Canberra Hospital for school-aged children. We were also able to contribute collection footage to the NMA’s project, Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom.

Our education presenters continue to develop high‑level cultural awareness and competencies. They also encourage teachers to develop an open dialogue in classrooms on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, contested histories and race issues in contemporary Australian society.

Objective 3B: Build our digital profile and online engagement activities

3B.1. Continue to develop NFSA.gov.au and the NFSA’s social media platforms to be contemporary, relevant and facilitate access to the collection (online)

Table showing targets related to objective 3B1

What we achieved

As a core aspect of our public engagement, our website and social media channels connect our audiences with our collection both nationally and internationally. As we continue digitising the collection, more is brought to light for new generations of audiences everywhere.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, we adjusted our publishing schedule from March 2020 in line with our ‘NFSA is Always Open Online’ campaign. Between March and June 2020, visitors to our website were up by 35% on the previous quarter and almost double the figures for the same period of the previous year.

In 2019–20, we added 20 themed online curated collections for a total of 170, as well as one new Collection Story for a total of 13, and over 80 new articles. Our website and associated education sites welcomed 1,848,330 visits. This content generated dozens of external media stories, reports and articles throughout the year, further raising our profile.

Our combined reach on social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and SoundCloud) was 15,490,237. Our engagement levels (including likes, comments and shares) more than doubled, from 338,329 in 2018–19 to 712,215 in 2019–20, along with our conversion rate, which increased from 2.1% to 4.6%.

Our YouTube content was viewed more than 5.2 million times. People worldwide watched 24 million minutes’ worth of NFSA video content. Newly published titles from the collection attracted hundreds of thousands of views, including the only existing colour footage of Sir Don Bradman AC playing cricket (270,232 views), and the last known footage of the extinct thylacine (177,849 views). The latter clip, from a 1935 film unearthed by Australian researchers, drove a notable increase in engagement and views across all our platforms and was covered by major news outlets worldwide.

Our Facebook content also reached viral levels, with four posts promoting the Skippy online exhibition exceeding 100,000 video views each. Our videos on Facebook were viewed 2.1 million times and generated 145,600 engagements.

3B.2. Develop and deliver interactive digital access opportunities engaging the public with collection material and NFSA programs in a range of venues across Australia

Table noting target of delivering one interactive digital access program per year was achieved

What we achieved

We deployed the NFSA quiz ‘Master the Archive’ across 20 residential care facilities in partnership with Anglicare, for a year-long pilot project. We have produced 80 engaging questions drawn from audiovisual materials in our collection and through our partnership with Cinesound Movietone. The interactive computer app is designed to foster conversation around archival footage that connects to the lives of residents.

The reaction to the content has been very positive. Reports from staff at Anglicare describe the quiz’s ability to engage and enthuse residents, trigger memories and reduce social isolation. This speaks to our collection’s potential for social impact, in this case delivering therapeutic benefits to Australians aged 80 and over, many of whom suffer memory loss.

Objective 3C: Revitalise the NFSA’s program of high-profile exhibitions celebrating Australian audiovisual content at the NFSA’s headquarters

3C.1 Deliver temporary exhibitions showcasing Australia’s audiovisual heritage

Table noting that the target of having 40,000 visitors to exhibitions was partially achieved

The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition’ ran from 18 April to 18 August 2019, welcoming 16,705 visitors. It was our second exhibition (and the first to be ticketed) since the program was rebooted in 2018. Audiences responded very positively with repeat visitation and strong participation in associated events and programs. The filmmakers donated the costumes from the film to the NFSA and we began developing a travelling exhibition in partnership with Film Art Media, to tour from September 2020 to multiple venues in regional Australia.

‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’ (26 September 2019 – 9 March 2020), delivered with our major partner CBR Canberra, was a success with audiences but also allowed the exhibitions team to build capacity with a complex, audiovisual content-heavy exhibition. The ACMI traveling exhibition was presented across three spaces within our Acton building, with a total footprint of just over 600 square metres. We implemented several power, data and infrastructure upgrades to deliver the exhibition in the South Gallery and refurbished the Library as a display and exhibition venue. These infrastructure enhancements to heritage venues will serve the program well into the future and allow for more audiovisual-centric programming.

‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’ was unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic as it closed before national travel restrictions. Our visitor numbers were affected, however, by the 2019–20 summer bushfire crisis and subsequent smoke hazard in Canberra. All national collecting institutions experienced a downturn of 25-30% in anticipated summer holiday visitation, traditionally the busiest period. The ‘Mervyn Bishop’ exhibition originally scheduled to launch in April 2020 was postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

3C.2 Deliver temporary original exhibitions that showcase the NFSA collection

Table showing target of developing an exhibition proposal was achieved

What we achieved

We have developed a preliminary concept and proposal and assembled a creative team to start developing an ambitious temporary exhibition for our South Gallery, to run from September 2021. The project will use staff expertise as well as external creative partners to realise the exhibition, which brings together items from the NFSA collection with works on loan.

3C.3 Develop and deliver touring exhibitions that showcase the NFSA collection nationally

Table noting that the target of delivering one touring exhibition per year was achieved

What we achieved

‘Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits’, a multi-year collaborative touring exhibition with the National Portrait Gallery, finished its regional tour this year. The final venue to host the exhibition was Geraldton Regional Art Gallery WA from 27 September to 24 November 2019. A total of 1,866 people attended the exhibition, which is a great outcome for a remote population centre. Between July 2015 and July 2020, ‘Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits’ was supported by $443,722 in grant money from the NCITO Program. Of that total, we spent $283,179 on staffing, creating 13 positions over 5 years and facilitating professional development and upskilling across several specialist areas of activity. The ‘Starstruck’ exhibition travelled over 11,415km to an audience of more than 36,000 people across regional Australia, and the website attracted over 19,600 individual visits.

We have been developing ‘The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition’ as a touring exhibition in partnership with Film Art Media throughout the year and it will be ready to tour from September 2020. This means a new touring exhibition for regional Australia will launch within 10 months of the previous tour concluding, a significant achievement considering the effects that the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic have had on funding streams, touring venues, regional councils and exhibition suppliers. NCITO continues to be a key funder for our touring exhibition program, allowing the collection to be experienced by regional Australians.

Objective 3D: Share the national collection so that it is accessible for enjoyment, learning, insight and creativity

3D.1 Provide access services to increase the audience reach and reuse of the national collection

Table noting that the target of having 12 million Australians viewing content from the collection was achieved

What we achieved

We provide collection material including newsreels, segments from feature films, documentaries, home movies and advertisements for use in a wide variety of productions.

This year we supplied a significant proportion of the footage for the upcoming second series of Australia in Colour, produced by Stranger Than Fiction films. The first series of Australia in Colour (2019) attracted strong audience numbers and critical acclaim for revitalising documentary audiovisual history. We have also provided material from our collection for other upcoming productions including The Crown (series 4, 2020), the feature documentary Slim & I (2020) and the three-part documentary series Come Fly with Me (2020).

Australian researchers uncovered the last-known thylacine footage in a little-seen documentary in our collection, Tasmania the Wonderland (1935). The footage received global attention with coverage by media outlets including CNN, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Post, USA Today, AAP and ABC television and radio. The estimated media audience in Australia alone was 2,287,732.

Snapshot: Game Masters the Exhibition

 The Exhibition’ at the NFSA

Originally developed by ACMI in Melbourne, ‘Game Masters’ is an interactive exhibition of playable video games showcasing five decades of video game history. In addition to 80 playable
game stations, ‘Game Masters’ features interviews, never-before-seen concept artwork and an amazing display of vintage consoles and collectable items. For its return to Australia after a six-year international tour, new games were added to the exhibition including titles from our games collecting pilot project.

Our major partner for the exhibition was CBR Canberra. An array of special events complemented
the exhibition. These included school programs, an after‑hours Halloween night, a session for
women and non-binary gamers, a ‘Pay what you can day’ and Local Heroes of Gaming, which featured acclaimed games creators as guest speakers.

By the time the exhibition closed its doors on 9 March 2020, it had attracted 24,780 visitors who
rated it an average 4.54 out of 5 stars. The exhibition enhanced our profile in the video game development industry and allowed us to reach and engage new audiences, with nearly half of attendees visiting from interstate and 60% of ticket buyers aged 18-39.

Strategic priority 4: Collect, preserve and share multimedia and new media

Since it was established in 1984, the NFSA has been tasked with building a collection that reflects the full diversity of Australia’s audiovisual output in all formats. As technology advances at a rapid rate, the way in which audiovisual content is created and consumed is also changing rapidly, and it is vital that the NFSA adapts so that we continue to build a collection that is relevant and representative. As part of this strategy, the NFSA must look at collecting and preserving multimedia and new media – including online content, video games and extended reality – alongside more traditional formats.

Outcome: By 2025 we will be the national leader in collecting, preserving and sharing multimedia and new media content.

Table 4: Strategic priority 4: Collect, preserve and share multimedia and new media

Objective

Activity

Target 2019-20

Result 2019-20

Objective 4A: Appropriate management of, and engagement with, the cultural collections of Australia's First Peoples

4A.1 Develop Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) Protocol Guidelines

ICIP Protocol Guidelines developed on time and within budget

Achieved

Objective 4B: Work with our GLAM partners across Australia to ensure a nationally coordinated approach to collecting multimedia and new media

4B/C.1 Develop partnerships with the GLAM sector to coordinate collection approach and build skills and capacity

Two new partnerships per annum*

Achieved

Objective 4C: Build our skills and capacity in relation to archiving multimedia and new media

Objective 4D: Establish the NFSA as an archive of multimedia and new media content, along with more traditional formats for audiovisual content

4D.1 Expand multimedia and new media acquisitions to include games produced by independent makers and pilot an ingest program

Develop a Multimedia and New Media Acquisition Protocol*

Achieved

4D.2 Accession the collection in line with best practice to ensure the integrity of our data

100,000 items accessioned in the reporting period*

Achieved: 166,451 items

4D.3 Continue targeted collection development including analysis and deselection

60,000 acquisitions made in the reporting period*

Partially achieved: 37,747 acquisitions

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2019–20 to 2022–23 page 12 and PBS page 163

* PBS 2019–20 target

Objective 4A: Appropriate management of, and engagement with, the cultural collections of Australia's First Peoples

4A.1 Develop Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property (ICIP) Protocol Guidelines

Table noting that the target to develop ICIP Protocol Guidelines was achieved

What we achieved

Our collection includes a unique array of Australian Indigenous films and sound recordings. In managing the collection, we are committed to best practice in the treatment of ICIP held by, acquired or otherwise used or relied upon by the NFSA.

Key staff members from the Corporate, Collection and Digital branches worked together this year to review and update the NFSA ICIP Protocol Guidelines. This protocol provides guidance on how Australian Indigenous collection materials are treated.

The ICIP Protocol Guidelines were agreed internally June 2020 and will be published on our website later in 2020.

Objective 4B: Work with our GLAM partners across Australia to ensure a nationally coordinated approach to collecting multimedia and new media | Objective 4C: Build our skills and capacity in relation to archiving multimedia and new media

4B/C.1 Develop partnerships with the GLAM sector to coordinate collection approach and build skills and capacity

Table noting that the target to have two new partnerships per annum was achieved

What we achieved

This year we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ACMI and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. The MOU acknowledges the importance of the video games industry in Australia’s audiovisual heritage and outlines a collective approach to the acquisition of video games. This includes sharing information regarding the planning and implementation of preservation systems and policies related to collection development, preservation, management, cataloguing, storage and exhibition. The MOU will remain in force for three years.

Objective 4D: Establish the NFSA as an archive of multimedia and new media content, along with more traditional formats for audiovisual content

4D.1 Expand multimedia and new media acquisitions to include games produced by independent makers and pilot an ingest program

Table noting that the target to develop a Multimedia and New Media Acquisition Protocol was achieved

What we achieved

To test protocol assumptions, a project team was convened to scope and document the resource and technical requirements of collecting and preserving video games through the game acquisition pilot. The pilot was designed to include a diverse range of formats and game types, ranging from the 1982 cassette-based game The Hobbit through to the 2018 mobile game Florence (see appendix 3). The project team reported on issues relevant to copyright, games industry liaison and the enhancements of our asset management system required to accommodate games. The report outcomes informed the NFSA’s planned approach to multimedia and new media acquisition outlined in its Collection Development Strategy, which effectively established acquisition protocols for the future collection of multimedia and new media items.

4D.2 Accession the collection in line with best practice to ensure the integrity of our data

Table noting that the target to accession 100,000 items in 2019-20 was achieved

What we achieved

This year we exceeded our annual target of 100,000 items accessioned by a significant margin. This was due to digitisation and ingest processes supporting not only the master preservation file but also producing the files that enable copying and access.

During the COVID-19 shutdown period, from March 2020, we were able to continue accessioning and ingesting digital files into the collection by enabling remote access to the network drives and the asset management system.

4D.3 Continue targeted collection development including analysis and deselection

Table noting that the target to achieve 60,000 acquisitions in the reporting period was partially achieved

What we achieved

We did not reach our acquisitions target this year because of difficulties arising from the extended bushfire season and the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these limitations, the collection has grown to over 3.3 million items and now includes video games in addition to moving image, recorded sound and broadcast items, and associated documents and artefacts.

We receive material into the collection through:

  • Donation (material received free of charge)
  • Deposit through agreement with the owner
  • Formal agreements with screen funding agencies, requiring material to be lodged with the NFSA
  • Purchase
  • Bequest.

A detailed listing of notable acquisitions for 2019–20 appears in appendix 3, but highlights include:

Film

  • Contemporary film productions including features Babyteeth (Shannon Murphy, 2019), Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (Tony Tilse, 2020) and The King (David Michôd, 2019); documentaries Koko: A Red Dog Story (Aaron McCann and Dominic Pearce, 2019) and Suzi Q (Liam Firmager, 2019); and short film All These Creatures (Charles Williams, 2018).
  • Original 35mm and 16mm film materials for The Castle (Rob Sitch, 1997) acquired from Working Dog Pty Ltd.
  • New web series including Cloudy River (Charlie Ford and Sophie Hardcastle, 2020); Girl, Interpreted (Grace Feng Fang Juan, 2019); and Kutcha’s Carpool Koorioke (John Harvey, 2019).
  • Virtual reality productions including the 360-degree stop-motion VR film Passenger (Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine, 2020) and Virtual Whadjuk (Karla Hart and Sam Bodhi Field, 2019), a VR project about Noongar culture pre-European settlement.

Sound

  • Over 400 vinyl records from Zenith Records
  • A unique aluminium disc recorded by Patrick Bacon in the Harrods store, London, 1935
  • A collection of 78 RPM phonograph records and lacquer discs relating to Dame Judith Anderson, donated by her grandniece, Jan Read
  • Powderfinger multitrack tapes
  • The finalists and winners in the 2019 Australian Podcast Awards.

Radio

  • Over 17,000 hours of contemporary radio broadcasts
  • Coverage of news and current affairs including ongoing national and local reporting of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019–20 bushfire crisis, Black Lives Matter protests, and the High Court decision to overturn the conviction of Cardinal George Pell
  • Coverage of sporting events including the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, the Ashes, the AFL and NRL Grand Finals, and the Melbourne Cup.

Television

  • Scripted TV series on free-to-air and streaming platforms including The Commons, Doctor Doctor (series 4), Five Bedrooms, Frayed, Harrow (series 1–2), Rosehaven (series 4), Seachange, The Secrets She Keeps, Stateless, Upright, Wentworth (series 7), and Content, the latter designed for screening on smartphones
  • Indigenous-produced scripted TV series including Black Comedy (series 4), Mystery Road (series 2), Thalu and Total Control
  • Over 3,000 film and video master materials donated by Fremantle Australia including ABBA the Movie, Australia’s Most Wanted, Confessions of Ronald Biggs, Embassy, Perfect Match, The Price is Right/New Price is Right, Possession, Punishment, Secret Valley, Tanamera, Until Tomorrow, Waterloo Station and You’ve Got to Be Joking
  • A copy of the TCN9 Opening Transmission Schedule of 16 September 1956, from the opening night of official television broadcasting in Australia.

Documents and Artefacts

  • Costumes from The Dressmaker (Jocelyn Moorhouse, 2015) donated by Film Art Media Pty Ltd
  • A selection of costumes, props and documentation donated by Porchlight Films Pty Ltd
  • An original copy of the book For the Term of His Natural Life autographed by the cast of the 1927 film including Arthur Tauchert
  • Zoopraxiscope ‘Wheel of Life’ apparatus for projecting animated images painted on a glass disc, patented 1869–71.

Oral History

We conducted 27 interviews this year including:

  • Simon Burke
  • Jo Ford
  • Angie Hart
  • Dave Mason
  • Liz Mullinar
  • Fiona O’Loughlin
  • Jennifer Peedom
  • Lloyd Swanton

Case study: Representing women in public engagement

Our collection represents creative industries that have historically been dominated by men and in which gender bias and inequality endure. During 2019–20, our Engagement team has worked hard to increase the representation of women in public programming. We have made efforts to increase the number of lms in the program directed by women; dedicated space for women’s voices to be heard through talks, Q&A sessions and social events; and added programs to ensure representation when the available content did not allow for diversity.

Our new quarterly program Girls to the Front showcases content produced by female Australian creators. The program has a specific focus on promoting under-represented cultures, ideas and voices and is accompanied by a Q&A session with the featured artist. In February 2020 we welcomed director Sophie Hyde and screened two of her films: Animals (2019), which centres on female friendship, and 52 Tuesdays (2013), about gender transitioning and family bonding.

We presented two female-led touring packages in partnership with the Sydney Film Festival and ACMI. Essential Australian Women Directors showcased 10 films from our collection directed by Australian women, and we also screened a retrospective of five films by iconic French feminist filmmaker Agnès Varda.

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020, we partnered with Girls Rock! Canberra to host a
themed Vinyl Lounge session where people selected their favourite female artists to share. We also hosted a fundraiser screening of No Time for Quiet (2019), which contributed to Girls Rock! Canberra’s annual band camp for girls and trans and gender diverse young people.

‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’ showcases an industry that has sometimes had a difficult relationship with female creatives, characters and players. We invited ACMI senior curator Fiona Trigg, games designer Kamina Vincent and games journalist Angharad ‘Rad’ Yeo to be spokeswomen for the show and offer their perspectives on opening night. The presentations and panel discussions that were part of the tie-in events all featured at least 50% female speakers, and we hosted an edition of ACMI’s Women and Non-Binary Gamer Club.

While there is still work to do to ensure diversity across all our public programs, this year we are proud that we have made signicant strides in the right direction.

Case study: The Bloke comes home for his centenary

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the silent classic The Sentimental Bloke, we premiered a full
digital restoration of the film at the Westpac OpenAir Cinema on Sydney Harbour on 15 February 2020. The film was shot in and around Sydney, particularly Woolloomooloo, which made the screening against the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge even more significant.

The event allowed us to share the film with existing and new audiences, who can only see it in the current digital cinema environment. The objective of the restoration was to produce a digital outcome that matches the original cinematic experience and retains preservation-quality digital components.

The path to digital restoration was intricate and involved combining two separate 4K scans. We acquired a scan of a 35mm pristine print of the US version of the film from the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, and worked to seamlessly match the US scan with our own components. After cleaning and grading, we undertook in-depth research to match tints and tones from the original using a previous photochemical version of the film as a reference.

 The Sentimental Bloke
Jack Thompson AM and Gabrielle Trainor AO at the February 2020 screening of 'The Sentimental Bloke'
The Sentimental Bloke has screened with many scores and musical presentations over the past 100 years. For 2020, we commissioned contemporary electronica artist Paul Mac to compose and perform his interpretation of the work. Paul offered his unique artistic interpretation, complete with intertitles narrated by Australian actor Rhys Muldoon.

The event was attended by Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, as well as key film industry representatives including Jack Thompson AM. We now hold high-quality 4K digital scans, as well as 2K digital cinema packages, of both the restored silent version and a version with Paul Mac’s complete score. We look forward to seeing the film on screens around the world over the coming years.

Strategic priority 5: Redefine our physical presence

As the NFSA transforms from an analogue archive into a digital archive, adapting to the changing nature of our creators and audiences, our physical presence must also change. The NFSA’s current headquarters are no longer fit for purpose and we need to increase our national profile and connections with the creative industries and other national collecting institutions. We must also make sure that our physical presence in Sydney and Melbourne facilitates stakeholder and audience engagement and that it is targeted and future-proofed.

Outcome: By 2025 we will have a strong physical presence which is fit for purpose, targeted, future-proof and nationwide.

Table 5: Strategic priority 5: Redefine our physical presence

Objectives

Activity

Target 2019-20

Result 2019-20

Objective 5A: Pursue the construction of a new facility for the NFSA

5A.1 Develop a detailed business case for new building

Progress a feasibility study regarding a new facility*

Achieved

Objective 5B: Ensure that the NFSA has a visible presence in every capital city, with strong links to local audiovisual, film, broadcast, recorded sound and creative industry stakeholders

5B.1 Maintain a physical presence via office spaces and NFSA Access Centres in each state and territory

Physical presence maintained in all Australian capital cities through NFSA Access Centres

Achieved

Sydney and Melbourne Oces connected with industry and cultural stakeholders

Achieved

Objective 5C: Maintain sustainable, environmentally-controlled storage for the collection (analogue and digital) to ensure its long-term preservation and accessibility

5C.1. Preserve the collection through sustainable practices for storage and environmental conditions (passive preservation)

Average physical collection lifespan of 230 years

Achieved: 303 years

Criterion source: Corporate Plan 2019–20 to 2022–23 page 14 and PBS page 163

* PBS Target 2019-20

Objective 5A: Pursue the construction of a new facility for the NFSA

5A.1 Develop a detailed business case for new building

Table noting the target to progress a feasibility study regarding a new facility was achieved

What we achieved

We continued work on our property strategy throughout the year, with a focus on building a strong business case for the construction of a new public-facing facility. In the first half of the year our priority was establishing a brief for tender and the governance structure for delivery of a business case. In January 2020 we started work on an initial business case with a consultant, andsubsequently undertook staff workshops. We consulted with stakeholders, including Commonwealth and ACT Government bodies, in order to develop our argument for a new facility. We developed the draft initial business case in June with recommendations to continue to a detailed business case and to further explore options to enhance current collection storage arrangements.

Objective 5B: Ensure that the NFSA has a visible presence in every capital city, with strong links to local audiovisual, film, broadcast, recorded sound and creative industry stakeholders

5B.1 Maintain a physical presence via office spaces and NFSA Access Centres in each state and territory

Table noting that the target to maintain a physical presence in all Australian capital cities was achieved

What we achieved

Beyond our Canberra headquarters we operate offices in Sydney and Melbourne, and we have state Access Centres based in the state libraries (see appendix 1 for details). Through these centres and our online resources, we support access to our collection for all Australians and for researchers, enthusiasts and people working in the creative industries.

Table noting that the target to have the Sydney and Melbourne offices connected with industry and cultural stakeholders was achieved

What we achieved

In October 2019 the Sydney office relocated to new premises in Pyrmont. The new office consolidated all staff onto a single floor in a more energy-efficient building. We incorporated new client access rooms and a transfer suite for delivery of access content in the fit-out. The office is in a business park shared by television and radio production facilities.

Our Melbourne office is in the heart of the city’s arts precinct in ACMI X, a shared workspace within the Australian Ballet Centre. The location is close to a mix of creative and digital start-ups, technologists, digital producers, web developers, filmmakers, arts administrators, researchers and designers. In both locations we maintain our network of relationships with Sydney- and Melbourne-based organisations and individuals.

Objective 5C: Maintain sustainable environmentally-controlled storage for the collection (analogue and digital) to ensure its long-term preservation and accessibility

5C.1 Preserve the collection through sustainable practices for storage and environmental conditions (passive preservation)

Table noting that the target of an average physical collection lifespan of 230 years was achieved

What we achieved

Drawing on international best practice, we set the environmental conditions to meet the storage requirements for the long-term and sustainable preservation of our collection. We apply the TWPI methodology developed by the Image Permanence Institute, Rochester University, USA, to provide a qualitative measure that estimates the collection lifespan in our storage facilities.

The TWPI estimates the average collection lifespan using three elements: storage environmental conditions (temperature and relative humidity), carrier format and time. In 2019–20 we continued to exceed our target and achieved an average collection lifespan of 303 years, 31.7% above our target of 230 years. This is because of effective management of our physical facilities and an efficient response to any identified variations.

In 2019–20 we completed several major rationalisation and service provision projects within our storage facilities including:

  • Upgrading the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems at the Nitrate Store in order to maintain appropriate environmental conditions for nitrate film
  • Conducting extensive maintenance on environmental systems at the Mitchell 5 storage building, including installing two new external chiller pumps
  • Making custom boxes to re-house approximately 120 collection items
  • Re-boxing and reorganising approximately 87,000 stills and publicity items
  • Updating technical code and custom metadata for 591 magnetic media items
  • Completing the Mediaflex vault mapping project
  • Replacing older, obsolete data loggers in accordance with the worldwide industry standard
  • Facilitating internal audits of the collection stocktake methodology and collection management processes
  • Assisting the Exhibitions team develop ‘The Dressmaker Regional Touring Costume Exhibition’, set up ‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’; and decommission ‘The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition’, ‘Game Masters: The Exhibition’ and the ‘Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits’ exhibition at Geraldton
  • Reviewing and updating conservation and collection management procedures.

Case study: Timor-Leste: Archiving in a Tropical Climate

This year, the NFSA and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade co-financed a visit by two of our staff members to the Centro Nacional Chega! (CNC) audiovisual archive in Timor-Leste.

Thorsten Kaeding (NFSA Curator, Industries) and Belinda Hunt (Team Leader, Collection Management) travelled to Dili in February 2020 to analyse CNC’s collection and operations, share expert knowledge with CNC staff and support its vision for digitising the collection.

Archiving audiovisual collections in Timor-Leste involves several challenges. The harsh tropical climate accelerates decomposition of physical objects, while the physical distance from key archival partners makes it difficult to access knowledge and technological support. Audiovisual collections thatare physically and chemically fragile, like CNC’s, have an ongoing demand for significant technological support and a high cost of maintenance.

Staff at the CNC operate a professional archive focused to date on safely storing, cataloguing and commencing preservation of their collection materials. Despite the constraints of its facility and tropical climate, CNC has succeeded in:

  • Storing its collection in appropriate environmental conditions for medium-term storage
  • Cataloguing and controlling the collection via spreadsheets
  • Getting digitisation underway, beginning with its large audiotape collection.

We were able to provide CNC with advice on immediate low-cost improvements to collection management, and options for longer-term digitisation. We will continue to work closely with CNC to advise and support it in implementation and further development of its digitisation processes.

NFSA and CNC staff at the Centro Nacional Chega! audiovisual archive in Timor-Leste
NFSA and CNC staff with Executive Director of CNC Hugo Fernandes (fourth from left)