NFSA to preserve broad-ranging audiovisual record of Australia during COVID-19

National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia to ensure that key moments in Australian history such as the COVID-19 crisis are collected and preserved.

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has announced the measures it is taking in order to collect and preserve a wide range of audiovisual records of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

NFSA Chief Curator Gayle Lake said: “We are making sure that this challenging period will be well-documented for future generations of Australians – from rolling news coverage to user-generated content, as well as the audiovisual industry’s creative output during these unprecedented times.”

One of the projects the NFSA will preserve is Australia Locked Down, a visual archive of COVID-19 in Australia. Created by filmmaker Jamie van Leeuwen, it will feature video shot by him over several months, as well as submissions from the general public.

Ms Lake said: “Australia Locked Down is a wonderful example of collaboration. It’s important that we capture different social and cultural aspects of the pandemic as experienced by the public, through a diversity of voices. Jamie van Leeuwen will produce a documentary combining his own work with thousands of submissions from across Australia, and this will be added to the NFSA collection. We will collect a representative selection of the content submitted by the public.”

In addition to preserving Australia Locked Down, the NFSA is collecting:

  • Ongoing capture of Australian broadcast television news and current affairs (across capital cities and regional centres).
  • Ongoing 24 hour cycle capture of off-air radio programs through agreements with three of the major radio networks in Australia.
  • A special oral history interview program captured via Zoom. focusing on the stories of Australian audiovisual professionals (e.g. producers, directors, musicians and other creatives), how they’ve been affected by the crisis and how they’ve responded creatively and found new ways to create content.
  • Targeted acquisition of audiovisual pieces representative of the Australian creative industries, high profile individuals and groups on recorded video and audio (e.g., YouTube content, sound recordings, recordings of live-streamed concerts). These include One Night Lonely, Powderfinger’s online reunion concert livestreamed on 23 May 2020, and Love in Lockdown, a comedy web series created by Gristmill Productions.

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