In the late 1960s Sheffield Polytechnic was one of the first higher education institutions in the UK to teach filmmaking. The tutors, Barry Callaghan and Paul Haywood nurtured several generations of student filmmakers. Many of the graduates have gone on to have successful careers in the film and television industry.
The Special Collection contains over 60 pieces of student work shot on 16mm film, dating from the 1960s - 1990s, and spanning several genres including experimental film, drama, documentary and animation. These include an animation with an unreleased soundtrack by The Human League (whose first live concert was held at Psalter Lane's Wham Bar in 1978) and early experimental work by Nick Park.
The Special Collection holds the archives of Sheffield Independent Film (SIF), set up in the mid-1970s by ex-Sheffield Polytechnic filmmaking students Peter Care, Russell Murray and David Rea. These records were acquired following the liquidation of the company in 2013.
The aim of the organisation was to establish a regional filmmaking base in the North of England, away from the UK industry locus based in and around London.
The Special Collection also holds the records and papers of the Independent Film, Video and Photography Association (IFVPA), first established as the Independent Filmmaker's Association (IFA) in 1975. The IFA/IFVPA worked closely with Channel 4 from their launch in 1982.
This collection covering the period c. 1975-1987, includes literature on cultural policy and the development of specific independent media projects.
Alongside the SIF archive, provides a valuable insight into regional and independent filmmaking in the UK.