The Learning on Screen Story

A look back at our history and where it all started 75 years ago.

Learning on Screen began back in 1948 when a group of pioneering university teachers were driven to promote the use of film in higher education and research.

As a result, they founded the Universities Film Council, which soon became the British Universities Film Council (BUFC). It wasn’t until 1983 that the word ‘video’ was added changing it to the British Universities Film and Video Council or BUFVC. During these early years, the organisation was sustained by a handful of volunteers who identified and addressed the audiovisual needs of higher education and built up a collection of educationally relevant films for the membership to access.

These innovative educators saw the potential of using moving images and sound as powerful tools for education. They understood that films could bring subjects to life, engage students in a more immersive way, and facilitate a deeper understanding of complex concepts. By harnessing the educational potential of films, they sought to revolutionise teaching methods and enhance the learning experience for students in higher education institutions.

In 1948 the BUFC was passionate about promoting the creation and use of audiovisual assets in education, founding the organisation with the following original charitable objects: The advancement of education in the universities and institutions of university standard in the United Kingdom by the coordination and development of the use and study of film and related media, materials, and techniques for the purpose of university teaching and research. Over the years, however, those objects were revisited and in January 2015, in recognition and support of the greater range and impact of our work, our members agreed new charitable objects: The advancement of education by promoting the production, study, and use of moving image, sound, and related media within education and research, for the public benefit. Despite the changes to the objects, one thing has remained steadfast: OUR VISION. We continue to aim for this:

With this vision in mind, the educators laid the foundation for what would later become Learning on Screen. Their initiative aimed to promote the adoption of films and audio-visual materials in academic settings, encouraging universities and researchers to embrace this emerging form of media for educational purposes.

Over the years, we have expanded our focus beyond films to include a wider range of moving image and sound resources. This evolution reflects the advancements in technology and the increasing availability of diverse media formats that can enrich the learning experience.

As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, it stands as a testament to the continued importance and relevance of visual media and technology in education. Our commitment to enhancing the use of moving images and sound in education has undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping the educational landscape and supporting educators and learners throughout the years.