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BFI National Archive asks public for help documenting life in lockdown

The Britain On Lockdown project is attempting to gather online videos that represent how the UK reacted to the outbreak.

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The British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive has launched a campaign asking the public to help document the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which may include Joe Wicks’s online fitness classes (Ian West/PA)

The British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive has launched a campaign asking the public to help document the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which may include Joe Wicks’s online fitness classes (Ian West/PA)

The British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive has launched a campaign asking the public to help document the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which may include Joe Wicks’s online fitness classes (Ian West/PA)

The British Film Institute (BFI) National Archive has launched a campaign asking the public to help document the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Britain On Lockdown project is attempting to gather online videos that best represent how the UK reacted to the outbreak.

Organisers listed examples such as Joe Wicks’s online fitness classes, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s video addresses to the country and the national outpourings of gratitude for the weekly Clap for Carers events.

Users can submit videos online and the project will create an archive that “reflects the public mood as it ebbed and flowed during the crisis”.

Heather Stewart, BFI creative director, said: “Life under lockdown has been really difficult for so many but it has given us an incredible historical and social record of the experience through online video in a way we have never seen before.

“From professional vloggers and filmmakers to everyday folk creating content on their phones shared across multiple platforms, from YouTube to Facebook, Twitter to TikTok – and of course all those Zoom calls, this content has made us laugh, cry, rage and has spurred us into action.

“As the guardians of the national film and television collection we want to make sure this unique content is preserved in the BFI National Archive for generations to come. So we are calling on everybody to help us find more and build this extraordinary collection.”

Examples suggested by the BFI include critical care nurse Dawn Bilbrough, who made a heartfelt plea for shoppers to stop stockpiling in a video shared on social media.

Also put forward was Derbyshire Police’s controversial drone footage of beauty spot Curbar Edge, showing walkers visiting the site.

Critics accused the force of overreaching their powers with the video.

The BFI National Archive holds one of the largest collections of film and television in the world, safeguarding moving image works created over the past 120 years.

PA Media