Organise by: A-Z, Year, Theme


Based at Goldsmiths, University of London,  the  London Community Video Archive (LCVA) will preserve, archive and share community videos made in the 1970s/80s in London and the South East. Portable video recording — now a technology routinely embodied in smartphones — became available for the very first time back in the early 1970s, making it possible for individuals and communities to make their own television. The medium was taken up by people ignored or under-represented in the mainstream media – tenants on housing estates, community action groups, women, black and minority ethnic groups, youth, gay and lesbian people, and the disabled. With an overriding commitment to social empowerment and to combating exclusion, 'Community Video' dealt with issues which still have a contemporary resonance — housing, play-space, discrimination, youth arts. 

This rich heritage was under threat of disappearing, both because of the physical decay and disintegration of half-inch reel-to reel-tape, and the ageing memories of the original ‘Community Video’ practitioners. LCVA is a project within the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, and was created by two of these video activists: Tony Dowmunt and Andy Porter. It was made possible by the support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and has been able to archive and digitise a selection of videos from 1970 to 1985, thus recovering and reviving this history so that it can be used as a resource for contemporary debates and activism. In addition, it has conducted 20 oral history interviews with a representative sample of people active in Community Video in the area and is also running an outreach and partnership programme of community screenings and events. Project co-ordinator Tony Dowmunt adds: “Since our 1891 birth in New Cross, Goldsmiths has served and been shaped by our vibrant, ever-changing and growing local community. The 1970s in particular saw an intense and turbulent political climate in Lewisham and across London as a whole. It is vital that we preserve the history of our communities, their ups and downs, struggles and celebrations, for future generations"


The LCVA covers more than London — stretching to Milton Keynes to the north, Reading to the west and Brighton to the south. Because of our own C histories it remains South-East centred, but we hope that people in other UK regions and nations will be able to make their own archives, and we will do what we can to support other initiatives.


‘Community video’ is a slippery term: we use it to make a distinction between it and other sorts of work (for example, ‘artist’s video’, or independent V documentary making). The work This is a dynamic and growing site. Please contribute any archive, oral history interviews, or documents you have from the period. Get in touch with us at and find us on Facebook. on this site is characterised by activist impulses and participatory production methods.


Not all of the work in the archive was originated on video — there are a few relevant participatory-based works that were originated on 16mm film.


As is probably obvious by now, LCVA is more than a passive archive. Of course it is vitally important to us that works (especially the 1/2” Black and White videos) are preserved before they disintegrate, but it is equally important that the work is made use of in the present.


This is a dynamic and growing site. Please contribute any archive, oral history interviews, or documents you have from the period. Get in touch with us at and find us on Facebook and TwitterVimeo and YouTube.


The LCVA was originated by Heinz Nigg and Andy Porter, and developed by Tony Dowmunt, Heinz Nigg and Andy Porter, with input from Ed Webb-Ingall. Tony Dowmunt and Andy Porter are the directors of the Project, Ed Webb-Ingall oversees the events and participation and Alex Wilson is our Archive Consultant, with assistance from Sam Cuthbert, Alex Kemp, Victoria Baker (Creative Skillset Trainees) and Alexandre Jordan. The oral history interviews were made by Zoe Kinross, Heinz Nigg, Rosie Saunders, Siobhan Schwartzberg and Ceridwen Williams. Project evaluation is by Imogen Slater from The Art Of Regeneration, assisted by Anouska Samms. This website and typeface was designed by Rosie Eveleigh and built by Tom Allen at Metable.

Thanks to the late Alan Fountain, Sean Cubitt, Julia Knight and Marjorie Mayo from our Steering Group, Jess Pavlos from Goldsmiths, Adam Lockhart from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Ros Cranston, Charles Fairall, Will Fowler, and Patrick Russell from the BFI, Andrew Pearson and Luke McKernan from the British Library, Madeline Bates and Sue Malden from Creative Skillset, and Kiri Anderson from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We are based at Goldsmiths, University of London and receive funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from the British Film Institute. All of the materials we have collected can be viewed online here and have been donated kindly by community video makers and activists, under Creative Commons licenses.