Image credits


Website design


Norwich HEART is a private, charitable company set up to act as an umbrella organisation for the fantastic and often unknown heritage on offer in Norwich. HEART strategically plan, regenerate, manage and promote Norwich’s heritage resources and act as a best practice case study nationally and internationally on developing heritage as a vehicle for social and economic regeneration.

Norwich HEART wanted to bring archive film footage alive through an innovative Anglo French archive film collaboration called the Digital Heritage Project. This cross channel digitisation project aimed to increase public access to a unique collection of archive films from the East of England and Upper Normandy from as far back as the late 19th century. HEART worked with Rouen based screen agency Pôle Image Haute-Normandie and the East Anglian Film Archive to bring this valuable, moving image history alive for modern audiences.


NUA were appointed with Soak Digital to jointly design and develop the archivealive.org website which would give the public the opportunity to view the curated footage and compare and contrast films from each decade and from each country.

As part of the collaborative project, NUA staff and students worked with Soak to present concept ideas for the website at the pitch stage. Following the appointment of Soak and NUA, the ideas factory was specifically tasked with creating the timeline module which would make up a major part of the website homepage design. The timeline module offers the viewer a selection of highlighted videos representing each decade from 1890 up to the1970s. The aim is for the viewer to scroll through each decade, revealing the selected videos one after another.

The brief called for individual backgrounds featuring iconic imagery of each decade, which would change as the viewer scrolled through.


A group of staff and students worked to develop a number of background illustrations, which included iconic imagery of important events from 1890 through to the 1970s. The timeline was used on both the UK and French versions of the site, so it was important that the imagery was internationally significant.

A key technical consideration of the brief was the inclusion of the three viewing screens for previous, current and next film. As these made up a large proportion of the timeline module, it was important we considered these when designing the backgrounds so that important elements were not obscured.


The website was launched on 16.10.2012 and brings the history of East Anglia and Upper Normandy alive through a moving image timeline of film from as far back as 1896, showcasing events, places and people over the decades, and now viewed at the click of a mouse.

Also, HEART will now be able to feature the archive films on mobile phones and software applications as part of its strategy to promote cultural tourism in Norwich and East Anglia.

Client Quote

Norwich HEART are very pleased with the website www.archivealive.org delivered following the collaboration between NUA and Soak Digital. Working with archive film shot so many years ago (some from as far back as 1896) and with an aim to ensure the website and films reach an intergenerational audience, it has been good to have the input of the creative minds of NUA students to work to showcase the footage – we are more than happy with the results. We would certainly like to explore more ways that we might be able to work again with NUA to promote and access heritage.

Jane Jarvis
Digital Heritage Project Manager, Norwich HEART

Homepage design

HEART website

It has been good to have the input of the creative minds of NUA students… we would certainly like to explore more ways that we might be able to work again with NUA.

Jane Jarvis
Digital Heritage Project Manager, Norwich HEART