Martin Parry

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Personal information

About Me

Like many in Swindon I wasn't actually born in the town, but grew up in Herefordshire, a beautiful and very rural county which I soon left in the time honoured fashion of young men to travel the world.

After spells in London and Europe, I spent most of the 70s in Canada, where I ran a local television channel and then worked in production for the National Film Board.

My involvement with Swindon Viewpoint began in 1980 when I moved back to Britain; I had heard of Viewpoint in North America where, with its open access and public accountability, it was recognised as the most progressive model for local television yet devised.

It was one of the reasons I was attracted to Swindon and the town also seemed a good place to bring up the family I was starting. Fortuitously I spotted and applied for a British Film Institute funded post as a resident filmmaker for Swindon, took that up, and looked forward to working in parallel with Swindon Viewpoint.

When I arrived however I found Viewpoint was experiencing severe underfunding and threatened with closure. The priority now was to find a way to keep it alive. I conceived of a model for a public media centre and lobbied the Council for support, then set up Media Arts as a partnership with Swindon Viewpoint (who capitalised the centre by providing its equipment). Through Media Arts we successfully managed Viewpoint programming during the eighties and did a range of broader arts work. In 1988 I started up Western Film Archive to collect and preserve historic film in the region for public benefit.

An authoritarian shift in the early nineties forced Viewpoint and Western Film Archive out of Media Arts, and the centre's name was changed to Create. The user management board was at the same time discontinued and the focus narrowed. With no access to its equipment Viewpoint was unable to continue programming.

I now concentrated on taking care of the programme archive and kept looking for a way to revitalise the service. In recent years I have, with help, worked to construct this website for the town and continue Viewpoint as an Internet protocol TV service. I now spend quite a bit of time digitising the archive and other gathered material, as well as producing new Viewpoint programmes and training others. When I can find time I have also continued making my own films!

I firmly believe in the value of community media for social development and a sense of place and hope that one day this will be fully recognised and properly funded.

Skills & Interests
Film and Video Director, Cameraman, Editor, Scriptwriter, Producer

History

Member for
7 years 50 weeks
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