Caring for Artists’ Films, June 10-14, Museum of Modern Art

By December 18, 2018

Does your institution have a collection of avant-garde, experimental, or artists’ films? Are you uncertain where to get started in caring for such a collection? This five-day hands-on workshop will focus on the stewardship of both analog and digital artists’ films within collecting institutions such as museums, archives, libraries, and distributors. Participants will gain the knowledge and tools necessary to properly acquire, store, migrate, exhibit, and generally maintain these films, which have unique requirements for their care and display.

The workshop will include expert-led sessions on the following topics:

  • Technical history of filmmaking and film formats, with a focus on experimental and avant-garde artists’ practices
  • Film acquisition workflows
  • Strategies for collection surveys, registration, and long-term storage
  • Basics of condition assessment
  • Migration strategies related to exhibition and preservation
  • Exhibition design, planning, and installation for both gallery and theater display
  • Documentation methods and strategies
  • Long-term care and advocacy for film collections

Participants will leave with the knowledge and tools to design and execute action plans at their institutions to accomplish long-term preservation goals.

Requirements for Application: Attendance is limited to a small cohort of no more than sixteen participants. This workshop is open tostaff from museums, archives, libraries, distributors, and others who care for film collections that include artists’ films. Applicants should be permanent members of staff at their institution (full- or part-time). Participants are expected to attend all five days. There is no registration fee for this workshop. Travel and lodging will be reimbursed based on available funds and the budgets submitted. English will be the language of instruction.

How to Apply: Please provide 1) a letter of interest (1,000 words maximum); 2) a CV; and 3) a budget of the anticipated cost of attendance, in U.S. dollars. Additionally, applicants must complete the online Collection Data Form. Applications that do not meet all requested requirements will not be considered.

The letter of interest must include: 1) Why participation in this workshop is important to the film collection at the applicant’s institution; 2) a brief history of the film collection and key institutional preservation efforts to date; 3) the applicant’s work with the film collection to date; 4) how this workshop directly applies to the applicant’s day-to-day work; and 5) the applicant’s prior experience with the topic, or lack thereof, as well as attendance at any relevant conferences or workshops on related topics. (This is to aid curriculum development-no prior experience with the topic is required.)

Applications should be submitted to no later than midnight EST on Thursday, January 31, 2019, with notifications expected by the middle of March 2019. For more information, please visit  

This workshop is part of The Museum of Modern Art’s Media Conservation Initiative, generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Media Conservation Initiative seeks to advance new strategies for the field of time-based media art preservation and restoration.