MBE for Staffordshire University professor

Photo of Ray Johnson

A STAFFORDSHIRE University professor has been made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Ray Johnson, Professor of Film Heritage and Documentary, received the honour for his services to the Arts.

Having founded the Staffordshire Film Archive over 30 years ago, Ray is responsible for making Stoke-on-Trent one of the best documented cities in the country.

He said: “The MBE is about the work of archiving and documenting Stoke’s and the county’s history, which is important to me and something I’m passionate about.

“It's fulfilling to know that the importance of the archive work is recognised, and also a tribute to the generous help I get from the University and our great community.”

The archive, which is housed at Staffordshire University, was started in 1980 and features footage of the industrial background and social history of the Staffordshire area.

The collection comprises hundreds of archive films, and outputs now extend to over 50 DVDs and hours of publically available footage.

Ray said: “I think Stoke-on-Trent is one of the best documented cities in the land. The archive looks at all aspects of urban and rural life and activities.

“I was already a film maker when I started looking around for cans of film footage in archives all over the city that hadn’t been seen in years, gradually building up the collection. And that’s still going on now.”

Included in the collection is rural footage from around Staffordshire and footage of many of the local trades once found in the locality, such as pottery making, iron and steel working, coal mining, and football and cricket history among other sports.

There are also hours of complementary video material generated by Ray to inform and enhance the period films, such as location filming, interviews, relevant visual materials and complete documentary video productions.

Ray now hosts regular viewings of archive material at the Stoke Film Theatre, at Staffordshire University’s College Road Campus.

He said: “It’s not enough to just collect the material; we have to create opportunities to show it as well.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to look into past life. I call it the nearest thing we have to a time machine. And by interviewing people as well it can be really powerful and bring the history of the city to life.”


Maria Scrivens
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Public Relations
L600, Flaxman Building
College Road
t: +44 (0)1782 294375
m: 07766 520339
e: m.c.scrivens@staffs.ac.uk