Engage With Us

Image: Guido Stilon collection
Woman looks into an image viewer, early 1960s

Engage With Us

Since 2017, Magna Żmien has gathered and digitised a large amount of sound, image and audio-visual material dating from the twentieth century, all linked with the Maltese Islands and the Maltese diaspora. This audiovisual content is donated by members of the public from their private home collections in order to preserve it and to allow Magna Żmien and collaborators to reinterpret the material.

Magna Żmien would like to make this material available to artists and researchers for the purposes of artistic and historical research, creative development and public awareness. This access allows for reinterpretation and renewed engagement with the digital collections. However, as this material has been generously donated to us by members of the public, Magna Żmien has a responsibility to ensure that the content of our archive is used respectfully and in line with the wishes of the donors, as well as to protect their privacy.

To this end, Magna Żmien welcomes requests for collaboration, but reserves the right to take each request on its own merit, and within the limitations of the organisation’s resources. Although we cannot directly assist financially with any projects, we can be a partner for any suitable funding applications. Past collaborations include Ilħna Mitlufa, Etnika, Giulia Privitelli, Caroline Tonna, Fleeting Territories, Justine Balzan, and Timothy Garrett.

As of December 2020 we have gathered over 8500 images and recordings from members of the public in Malta. We are extremely grateful to everyone who continues to bring material forward for us to preserve and use.

Since 2018 we have presented their stories in 11 public events, performances and exhibitions across Malta and abroad, in Tunis, Vienna, Budapest, and London. 2021 is set to be another busy year of collaborations.

  • 1615 photographs
  • 5016 negatives
  • 1065 slides
  • 296 8mm films
  • 89 audiocassettes
  • 80 open reel tapes
  • 605 other files from digital sources

General Access Note

Most of the collections that Magna Żmien work with contain private home footage, photographs and audio recordings of donor’s family members and their friends – many of whom have since passed away. These images were never meant to be seen beyond a close circle of friends and family. Because of the responsibility we have been entrusted with, we are careful how we share this content.

In some cases, individuals may identify family members in photos or videos that we share online, or in exhibitions, and in those cases we may be able to provide a copy to that person. However, these kinds of requests cannot always be met, and we don’t have the capacity to meet requests to search our collections for particular people or places.


Collaboration Process

Upon initial contact with an artist or researcher – ideally through our contact form – we’ll request some basic information about your proposed project or collaboration, including proposed dates, other collaborators, and any other relevant information. We’ll then meet with you to clarify any information and find points of collaboration. Ideally this will occur in our studio in Valletta, where we can help guide you through our collections.

The audio-visual content of our archive is accessible via an online portal. However, the descriptions of each item, or collection, may not be equally detailed across the entire archive. As such, you will need to be prepared to spend time searching through the collections depending on the material required and other circumstances!

You should also be aware of the IP rights due to the owners of our material and the agreement of use that Magna Żmien has entered into with them. The material being accessed belongs in part to individual donors, who may need to be consulted on the use of their material, depending on the nature of your project. We will not use items from our archive for commercial gain, and will not collaborate with private entities on projects which exist purely for commercial profit.

While every effort will be made to accommodate requests for collaboration, as Magna Żmien is a voluntary organisation the required resources are not always available from our end.