Scarborough Art Gallery to launch series of online screenings on Tuesday nights

Great Bustard, from the Scarborough Collections. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

SCARBOROUGH Art Gallery will begin a series of online film nights with When Species Meet this evening (28/4/2020).

Gallery Screenings Online, on the last Tuesday of each month from 7pm, will feature films selected to give audiences a new perspective on both visiting exhibitions and the permanent Scarborough Collections, followed by a question-and-answer session.

The series will have features aimed at making them as accessible to as many people as possible. Each event will have optional live captions from a stenographer; downloading the app version of Zoom is recommended for those wishing to use this function. 

Artist and designer Lucy Carruthers and collections manager Jim Middleton: an image from the social story, illustrated by Savannah Storm

A visual guide, or “social story”, will be created too, with illustrations by Scarborough artist Savannah Storm, to explain the format and accessible elements of the screening. 

The first screening, When Species Meet, will look at captive and extinct animals and how film has been used to represent them, opening with Bert Haanstra’s nine-minute documentary Zoo, followed by Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendes’ 20-minute interactive film Bear 71. 

Filmed in 1962 and nominated for a 1963 BAFTA Award for Best Short Film, Zoo compares the behaviour of animals and humans, using a hidden camera to capture the true nature of both man and beast.

Great Auk egg, from the Scarborough Collections. Picture: David Chalmers

Bear 71 explores the life of a grizzly bear in Banff National Park, monitored by wildlife conservation offices from 2001 to 2009. The film “gives viewers the experience of ‘being’ a bear”, exploring how one animal’s life is interlinked and affected by the movements of humans and animals around it. 

The screenings will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A with Jim Middleton, collections manager at Scarborough Museums Trust, who will discuss the natural history collections within the archive, and with artist and designer Lucy Carruthers.

Andrew Clay, Scarborough Museums Trust’s chief executive, says: “Increasing access to our events, whether they are online or in our venues, is really important to us. No-one should feel excluded. We hope the visual guides and subtitles will support more people from our communities to participate in our activities.”

Film programmer Martha Cattell: email her for access to Gallery Screenings Online. Image: Susannah Storm

Film programmer Martha Cattell says: “Scarborough Museums Trust has a large collection of taxidermy animals locked away in the stores. Some of the species represented – the great bustard, the great auk, of which we have a rare egg, the passenger pigeons, Captain Cook’s bean snail – are now extinct largely due to human intervention.

“Their bodies now rest, static and captive in the archives. They are ghosts of species lost and haunted by the human actions that led to their demise.”

Simon Hedges, the trust’s head of curation, collections and exhibitions, says: “ We launched the Gallery Screenings programme at Scarborough Art Gallery in early March and then, of course, had to cancel it after the first one because of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Chatscreen: another illustration from the virtual guide by Susannah Storm

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to continue these fascinating events online. They will return to the gallery once we reopen to the public.”

Access to the Gallery Screenings Online event this evening is by password only, available, along with a link, by emailing   

The social story for When Species Meet can be downloaded at The Q&A and introduction will be available post-event on Scarborough Museums Trust’s YouTube channel: