From outbreak to archive

From outbreak to archive: tales of public health

For the last four summers, The National Archives has worked with young people to create animated films that are inspired by our unique collection of historical documents. You can watch last year’s film, Mental Health on Record, here.

This summer we are taking the filmmaking online, challenging you to contribute from home!

This year’s project will explore diseases and epidemics from history: ranging from the Great Plague in 1665, to Cholera in 1830s, and the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.  What were the responses of the authorities, what public information was available, and what were the suggested cures and remedies for some of these diseases?

We invite you to explore these documents and to be inspired to create your own interpretation of these records.

The project week will be from Monday 27th – Friday 31st July for young people aged between 16-19, and you must be available to connect with us each day of the week.

Archive material and filmmaking guidance will be provided on our website and you will be able to contact filmmaker Nigel, and members of our Education team throughout the project.

By taking part in this project you will be able to:

  • Research the history of public health using digital facsimiles of original records with support from our Education team and record experts
  • Develop filmmaking skills with a professional from the industry, using a range of techniques which are available from your home
  • Work creatively with/alongside like-minded young people
  • Take part in a unique project that combines historical stories with your own interpretation of historical records
  • Be the first group of young people to contribute to our filmmaking project series whilst working remotely

If you’d like to take part in ‘From outbreak to archive’, please email ‘’ with 100 words outlining why you’d like to contribute to this project by Monday 6th July.

Apply to take part