The World in a Cube - Tate & Lyle's collection of films

The World in a Cube: a prototype for public engagement with archives

The World in a Cube, NMN's project with Birkbeck's Institute for the Moving Image, and Tate & Lyle, was exhibited at Creativeworks London's exhibition at the prestigious AHRC Creative Economy Showcase 2014.   An opportunity to share the creativity, insights and knowledge that has resulted from this collaborative work over the last two years with films from Tate & Lyle's collection.

The World in a Cube enabled New Media Networks (NMN)  and the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image to produce a prototype for public engagement with archives. This pilot project was supported by Creativeworks London.

Tate & Lyle’s unique archive of 300 films, from the 1950s/60s, feature places and events from all over the world and from their refinery on the Thames in east London (opened in 1878). NMN has the licence to Tate & Lyle’s archive for educational purposes.

With funding from Creativeworks London and support from Tate & Lyle, this pilot project researched ways to deliver learning and public engagement processes. 

A key part of the pilot was the Creative Challenge to emerging filmmakers to create audio-visual responses to a small selection of the Tate & Lyle material. The winning submissions were announced and screened to an influential audience of film historians, archivists, educationalists and film-makers.

Thanks to Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication for resources and support as we pursued opportunities for creative interpretations of the collection. 

Many thanks to the Advisory Group
Members include:

  • Ken Wilson, Frances Bull (Tate & Lyle)
  • Jerry White (Birkbeck)
  • Matt Cook (Raphael Samuel History Centre)
  • Patrick Russell, Mark Duguid, David Somerset (BFI)


  • Ian Christie, Wendy Earle, Nick Lambert, Eleni Liarou (Birkbeck)
  • Karen Merkel, Akim Mogaji (NMN)
  • Paul Stanley (Phoenix Cinema)