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BDA Film & Video Archive Project

In 2007, the BBC broadcast a special SeeHear programme using rare 1930s film reels from the BDA to show the important work of the organisation’s Hon. Secretary and Treasurer Leslie Edwards. Edwards’ mission was simple – to create a film library for the BDA. Alongside silent entertainment films he built up a collection of newsreels. These newsreels provided information to the Deaf community in BSL and captured Deaf events taking place at home and abroad. This became a central resource that Deaf Clubs across the country could use.

The 2007 SeeHear programme triggered an extraordinary response among the Deaf community, many of whom had never seen this type of material before! The BDA, with the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and others, are now working to bring our entire moving image archive back to life – a total of over 500 film reels and videos dating back to 1931!

As well as preserving the film material, we want to make it accessible to the Deaf community and beyond by creating:

An Online Resource that will host all the films and encourage interaction with them. A Screening Programme that will reach a wide range of audiences. Educational Resources for Deaf and mainstream schools.


Current Work

The BDA’s Regional Deaf Heritage Officers have been working across the UK to find out more information about the films, and the people in them:


Want to arrange a screening in your area? Please contact Lisanne Holly – filmheritage.assistant@bda.org.uk