Friday, 17 December 2010


The BFI announced yesterday a series of restructuring measures ahead of their new lead role in shaping film policy in the UK. One of the key decisions was to close the current gallery at the BFI Southbank and replace it with the BFI Library. This will come as a blow to moving image practitioners and enthusiasts, as there are few spaces like this, specially in such high profile locations. The rest of the announcement holds few surprises, with cost-cutting measures across the board, and a 'research centre' at Berkhamstead - an odd location for such a centre.

Here is what the BFI said in its announcement:

"At the core of the proposals are:

1) A plan to bring greater coherence to the cultural programme across the whole of the BFI, a move which will also reduce costs and create more incentives for fundraising and philanthropy. A new post of Director of BFI Public Programmes will lead a unified team of programmers across cinemas, festivals, distribution, digital and print.

2) An aim to further increase the number of people across the UK and internationally who can engage with the BFI's public programme and film culture. Digital technologies will play a critical part in this and the BFI proposes renewing infrastructure and investing in new skills.

3) Closure of the BFI Gallery at BFI Southbank as part of the prioritisation on those activities that only the BFI can deliver.

4) A proposal to move the BFI Library and reading room from its current location and create new facilities at BFI Southbank in the space currently used for the BFI Gallery.

5) Establishing a bespoke research centre for academics, the film industry and researchers in the heart of the BFI National Archive at Berkhamsted.

6) A stringent review of procurement processes to achieve economies; reducing overheads by making savings in support costs; boosting new business through the development of commercial opportunities both within the UK and internationally; a drive to increase fundraising income and philanthropy."

What this actually means in the short or even long term remains to be seen. Let's hope Greg Dyke knows what he's doing.

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