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The Dick Arnall Collection

The Dick Arnall Collection

2013-ongoing

Under the stewardship of Prof Suzanne Buchan  the collection is  currently being investigated at a level of foundational research, classification and cataloguing of the collection, to develop a database and metadata criteria that reflects and communicate its specific qualities and unique value for a greater understanding of UK independent animation.

Dick Arnall (1944-2007) was a champion of non-conventional, experimental animation filmmaking. The Dick Arnall animate! Collection was donated by Marjut Rimminen to Suzanne Buchan and Middlesex University in 2013. The collection comprises over 30 archive boxes that contain production reports, books, festival catalogues, photographs, artwork, film and sound on a range of media, correspondence, and a considerable amount of international and multilingual ephemera. Arnall’s ethos and attitude was and is very much shared by Buchan, and we are honoured to receive this legacy and to develop it into an accessible resource of UK animation history for researchers, students and a wider public.

Dick Arnall was an international leader in challenging common misperceptions of the fuzzy term 'animation' as a catch-all in the public mind that elided radical experimentation. He founded the Cambridge Animation Festival in 1965, and was part of a group that revived it in 1979 after which it enjoyed significant support from Channel 4 television. His polemical essay " AGENCY: Death to Animation" in Vertigo (Vol 3 No 5 Spring 2007) remains a call-to-arms for radial experimentation in the changing field of experimental animation.

Between 1990-2007 Dick Arnall was a central figure in animate!, a project for independent animation film funded by Arts Council England and Channel 4 television. Arnall was its first independent production advisor, he and produced over 80 independent animation works, later through his production company Finetake Limited. After his death, animate! was reformed as Animate Projects, run by Gary Thomas.

On the event of Arnall’s death Aurora Film Festival (Norwich) director Adam Pugh's words remain heart-felt for many: “The world truly will be diminished without Dick...his vision and energy, but also quite fundamentally his goodness.”
In 2008, the Aurora Festival created the Dick Arnall Award "For Rogue Vision in the Manipulated Moving Image".

Read Gareth Evans' obituary in the Guardian.

MORTALITIES: "Dick Arnall Remembered" Vertigo, Vol 3 No 5, Spring 2007: