Media policy

1. Aims, purpose and objectives

This policy has been produced to describe in detail the various stages to be considered in relation to using archives for media purposes. It outlines both the services we provide and the work which we expect to be undertaken by media companies. The Archives Centre reserves the right to refuse permission to film.

This policy is subordinate to the Churchill Archives Centre Mission Statement which can be viewed on-line here.

2. Introduction

The Churchill Archives Centre is one of the premier repositories in the United Kingdom for modern personal papers. Part of Churchill College, Cambridge, itself the National and Commonwealth memorial to Sir Winston, the Centre exists to preserve and make available the raw material of our recent past. It is already one of the most important sources for the understanding of the twentieth century. The Centre maintains the archives of British politicians and public figures who helped decisively to shape that century. It also holds important papers documenting scientific advance over the same period.

As our archival collections are typically unique, fragile and irreplaceable, their care and preservation must take priority. Consequently, the following conditions must be applied to any filming undertaken.

3. Making a Request to Film

Advance notice of at least 20 days is usually required regarding the intended use of original documents for filming. It is advisable for a member of the production team to arrange an initial onsite visit in order to discuss the proposed filming and to assess the location’s suitability. In the case of large-scale filming or major programme ideas, a meeting should be booked at least two months in advance.

To request permission to film at Churchill College, please complete the Media Agreement Form and email it to as far in advance as possible.

4. Identifying the documents you wish to film

You are responsible for identifying document(s) you wish to film. While archives staff can provide help with highlighting collections and relevant catalogues, we have limited staff resources to undertake detailed research on your behalf and will only undertake paid research subject to staff availability– see our prices here.

A general description of most collections is searchable online here.

In some instances however, paper catalogues may also need to be consulted within the Centre reading rooms. It is therefore advisable for a member of the production team to arrange an initial visit in order to consult these catalogues.

All document references for filming must be submitted to the Centre at least five working days in advance of filming to ensure they are ready and prepared for your arrival. No additional documents can be ordered on the day of filming.

5. Researching the collections

Any media researchers are welcome to visit the Archives to undertake research at any time within the normal reading room opening hours as advertised on our website.

All researchers consulting original archives must also have a valid Centre reader’s ticket. For further guidance please see our web pages here.

If you are unable to carry out the necessary research in order to identify the items you wish to film, we can offer a limited research service or we can provide lists of independent researchers who may be able to help you on a paid basis.

6. Filming practicalities

Timings & Invigilation

A maximum of half a day is available for filming archive documents in the reading room.

Due to the fragile and irreplaceable nature of our archive collections, a member of staff must be present to supervise at all times throughout the filming. Therefore, filming of documents can only take place on weekdays, between the hours of 9.30am-12.30pm or 1.30pm-4.30pm. These time slots are inclusive of the time taken for setting up and packing up. Film crews must be off site by 5.00pm at the latest. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to arrange filming outside of these hours. However, this should be negotiated well in advance and would incur an additional fee.

A maximum of four crew associated with the filming, plus one presenter, are permitted.

Location of filming

Subject to availability, the filming of original documents can only be undertaken in the reading rooms. Filming will be supervised at all times by staff.

Subject to availability, the filming of interviews without original documents can be undertaken in an office room.

Filming of archive storage areas, excluding original documents, is possible and will be supervised at all times by staff.

Filming on Churchill College grounds: Please liaise with Centre staff.

All requests to film archives or use the premises must be preceded by the completion and signing of a Media Agreement Form.

7. Filming and the care of collections

As our archival documents are irreplaceable and easily damaged, they must therefore be handled carefully and as little as possible. Filming can only be undertaken if it does not compromise the physical preservation of the archives. All visitors will be asked to respect and adhere to the conservation and care requirements for document handling and the majority of the handling will be carried out by Centre staff. Generally, documents will be filmed, untouched, while fully supported on a table or on an appropriate book rest provided by the Centre. Any weights, rests or protective materials supplied by CAC staff must be used throughout the filming process.

You will be asked to sign to our rules on the Media Agreement Form.

Excessive exposure to light is also dangerous, and the lighting levels and periods of exposure must be kept to minimum. Every effort must be made to ensure that archive material is not subject to excessive lighting levels which can cause significant damage to documents. The Centre may request lighting levels to be reduced to minimise risks to archive material while filming. Please remember to switch off additional lighting between takes to ensure that documents are not exposed to strong lighting for extended periods of time.

Under no circumstances can documents be removed from the reading rooms for filming.

The Centre reserves the right to refuse the use of any equipment if it is considered that it may have been poorly maintained, be harmful to the health and safety of staff or to the physical condition of the documents.

Similarly the Centre reserves the right to halt filming or photography if it is not satisfied with the standard of care being applied.

8. Technical requirements

The Centre reserves the right to determine the suitability of all equipment used in filming, including its electrical safety. No equipment without a current valid safety certificate, or which does not conform to the Safety Regulations of the Electrical Institute of Great Britain and suitable British Standards, may be used on the premises. No lights or equipment may be clamped to any fixed furnishings. The capacity of the electrical circuits is that of any one 13 amp safety socket, i.e. just over 2 kilowatts. Multi outlet adaptors are forbidden even where the total wattage rating is within the 2 kilowatt guideline.

9. Insurance

The film company must provide us with proof of public liability insurance and that they are adequately insured. Any damage arising out of filming of Centre material either of persons or objects will be the responsibility of the client. We shall ask for a copy of your insurance schedule when you request permission to film.

10. Broadcasting and copyright

Filming these archives does not constitute authorisation for the material to be broadcast without the express permission of the Centre and the copyright owner of the particular archive collection. The onus to clear copyright and satisfy the requirements of the Copyright Act rests with the media company concerned. Where necessary, permission must be sought from external owners of collections which are held by the Centre. Note that the owner of an archival document is not necessarily the same as the copyright holder. The Archive Centre will advise and provide contact details of the copyright holder where it is able to do so. Copyright fees may be payable to Churchill College or any third party and clearance should be confirmed in advance of filming.

Prior to filming, media companies must complete the Centre Licence to publish/broadcast form. The licence sets out the use for which a document(s) is being used. This licence must be signed and returned to the Centre before any filming or photography can take place.

It is the responsibility of the media company to ensure that any subsequent use of images does not infringe copyright.

11. Acknowledgements and transmission

When publishing, exhibiting or broadcasting any material from CAC (regardless of copyright status), formal acknowledgements must be made to the Centre using the form of wording specified in the Media Agreement Form concluded with the Centre.

Please inform the Centre of the date/s and time of the proposed broadcast/s.

12. Fees

Fees will generally be charged to media companies filming archives or using the Archives premises. Media companies will also be charged for consultancy work or programme input or preparation.

A facility fee will be levied by the Centre for the cost of filming on its premises for each half day of filming or part thereof. These charges are entirely separate from any copyright reproduction fees that may be charged to broadcast or publish material.

Payment of the facility fee may be required in advance of filming.

Full address and billing details must be supplied in order for us to send you an invoice. Please provide these details within the Centre’s Media Agreement Form.

13. Interviews

Requests for television, radio and other interviews to promote archive collections, events, exhibitions and the Centre in general should be addressed via

The Centre is under no obligation to agree to such requests.

14. Conduct

In accordance with Centre rules, all visitors are expected to co-operate with Archives and Churchill College staff, and in support of maintaining a welcoming environment conducive to study and enjoyable use of the Centre. Visitors must not behave in a way that threatens or harasses members of staff or disturbs other users, and must not damage College property.  Other individuals on site must not be filmed without prior warning.

15. Termination

The Centre reserves the right to terminate filming at any time if staff deem that the stipulated terms and conditions are not being met or that the filming is deviating from the agreed schedule or context.

16. Review

This policy will be reviewed annually but it is a working document and, depending on local circumstances, may be subject to modification before a formal review.

Reviewed by: Allen Packwood
Date: September 2023
Date of next review: October 2024