Phoenix Archive Project: COMMISSIONS

Published March 12, 2024

Thanks to an anonymous donor, Exeter Phoenix possesses an extraordinary historical resource: 8,700 feet, or around 4 hours, of 16mm film footage dating from the 1930s-1960s and tracking one family's travels and activities through this turbulent period.

It constitutes a never-before-seen social history document and an early example of film-making. We do not yet know the full value of the content; however, a cursory glance has shown that the family traveled internationally and bore witness to several significant moments in time, including the aftermath of the Crystal Palace Fire and the 1937 Paris Exhibition.

Following a callout for artists and filmmakers to respond to the archive, the Phoenix Archive Project is thrilled to announce our new commissioned artists.

Holly Ebony

Cascading vocals, mellifluously heady & peaty raw as the Dartmoor landscape she hails from, community song facilitator & Alt-Folk artist Holly Ebony writes lyrical solace as creative activism that speaks to a profound love affair with life.

2023 debut album, "Born For These Times" conjures curlews and cormorants, lullabies Ash trees & seeks to connect people with nature & cultivate resilience.

Holly will create a song cycle reflecting on the archive, viewing the footage through a contemporary lens: Reflecting on the collapse of empire, from an era of greater social inclusivity, residing amidst the ecologically collapsing shell left in its wake. This work will celebrate cross cultural pollination, acknowledge the harm inflicted on people, culture and ecosystems by industrial growth colonialism, while seeking to understand the personal experiences of a family raised by an archaic worldview. The repertoire will be performed, used in workshops and available as recordings.

Xenia Glenn & Antosh Wojcik

Antosh and Xenia are filmmakers, writers, and co-founders of Sleepwalker, a Dorset-based production company that was founded as a filmmaker collective in 2017. Antosh and Xenia's films have premiered at the London Film Festival, the London Short Film Festival, and on BBC3. They are in production on their latest film, 'Exploding Memory', an archive-based exploration of preserving memories in the modern era (commissioned by the Phoenix Exeter, the National Lottery Heritage, and the Radcliffe Trust).


As the project evolves, there will be further opportunities to get involved so keep an eye out for further updates on screenings and workshops, coming soon.

With thanks to our project funders: