Culture Colony has a growing archive featuring the arts and arts practice, mainly in Wales but also includes artists and arts events in other countries throughout the UK and beyond. The archive consists of material filmed with the consent of the artists featured. The archive illustrates the creative process' of a great variety of arts practice and has been used on television (The Story of Welsh Art, BBC 4, Force of Nature, BBC 4, Forest, Field & Sky: Art Out of Nature, BBC 4, ) and for other purposes (the 'Welcome Video' at Cardiff International Airport for example). Initially the archive was recorded onto DVCam, since 2010 we've been recording on 1080 HD and now we're mainly recording onto 4K formats. Use of the archive by third parties is agreed in consultation with the artists featured (or representatives of their estate).

The story of the archive...

Pete, Culture Colony's founder, made items back in the day for arts magazine programmes on television. In the 90's and early 00's all three broadcasters in Wales (BBC Wales, ITV Wales and S4C) each had at least one arts magazine programme a week, comprising of around 5 items per broadcast. Initially as a staff director at BBC Wales and then as a freelance director/producer, over the years Pete made items about art and artists for every arts magazine series on all three channels in Wales. So, in 2008 when broadcasters decided to stop commissioning arts programmes Pete was well placed to notice the effect this decision would have on the cultural sector and that the creative community were being disenfranchised from their programmes. Each week, across the three channels, about 15 items were being made. That's telling the story of 15 artists, or theatres, or musicians, and bringing those stories to a wide audience that art dosen't otherwise reach. The audience was being disenfranchised as well.

David Nash beginning the charring process of works at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Not only was the audience being denied programmes about the arts but artists were no longer being documented, the development of their careers and ideas was not being recorded. For future generations looking back at our time, the period in which we are living now, it will look empty and devoid of cultural experience because an archive is being denied. Ironically, since 2008 and the end of regional arts programming, creative cultural activity has been getting increasingly interesting as artists explore and experiment with their practice, using new technologies and creating new connections. But, our broadcasters have missed this. And they will continue to miss it as long as commissioning keeps dumbing down, looking for their next populist easily forgettable productions.

The broadcasters will point out the arts programming that they have made, for BBC4. None of which reflects the grass roots arts that the magazine programmes covered alongside established and international names. It is this decision by the broadcasters, to not commission arts programmes, that motivated Pete to do what he could to preserve a record and create an archive of our time. This is how Culture Colony came into being.


Bernard Barnes working on his massive painting and Peter Jones checking over a Colourscape sculpture looking for holes and rips in the structure.

We don't pretend that we can fill the gap in the archive that the broadcasters are leaving but we are doing what we can.

Pete made a documentary for ITV 1 Wales about the sculptor David Nash from Blaenau Ffestiniog back in 1995. After finishing filming David asked Pete to continue documenting his process, even though there was no film in production. It's this realisation, that process is often overlooked in documentary films about artists, that informs the way Culture Colony documents the artists and their work. Even if an edited film does not result from the documentation at the time, an archive has still been created and added to. Over the years Culture Colony has returned to film many artists and therefore not just the process of making particular works has been recorded but a career and the development of ideas over time is preserved.

Documenting the creative process can be of value to other artists, especially those in the early years of their careers, to see how other artists work, their relationship with galleries and commitment to their ideas and principles. This can be inspiring and lead to a collective cultural evolution. This makes creating a platform where this content can be shared an important aspect of what we do at Culture Colony and how we've designed this web site.

Good Cop Bad Cop 'Performance for Passing Vehicles'.

Nick Capaldi during his interview with Phil George as a part of his Arts Council of Wales 'farewell' film, following his resignation from the committee after 14 years.