REWIND, FAST FORWARD: Sandi Hughes’ History of the Liverpool Scene

Sandi Hughes and Holly Johnson
Sandi Hughes and Holly Johnson

Sandi Hughes’ History of the Liverpool Scene 1975 – 2005

A unique archive of Liverpool’s music, club and fashion sub-cultures and the intersections with local LGBT and BAME history will be saved, shared and made accessible to thousands across the North West thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Film Hub North West Central, part of the British Film Institute Film Audience Network and Liverpool Record Office.

View the Official 1 min trailer

Sandi Hughes, feminist film-maker, DJ and poet has hundreds of hours of film, thousands of photographs, nightclub flyers, posters, magazines and other printed material that capture the marginalised and outrageous characters of Liverpool that she mixed with during the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Rewind, Fast Forward is being given a grant of £47,200 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Sara Hilton, Head of HLF North West, said:
“This project will bring to light fascinating stories from the edges of Liverpool’s rich cultural scene, capturing the distinctive creativity and excitement of that time and place. We are delighted to support it.”

These rare historical recordings come from the decades before smartphones and the daily digital documenting that is now commonplace. Starting in the 70s with a stills camera and then transferring to a video camera in the 80s Sandi captured many community and political events concerned with gender, race and sexuality such as protests against Clause 28, AIDS activism and campaigning for an equal age of consent.

This is also a personal archive capturing Sandi’s own experiences of racism, homophobia and sexism through her childhood abandonment, divorce, custody battle and son’s death.
Friends including Holly Johnson, Frank Clarke, Margi Clarke, Chris Bernard, Jayne Casey and Shaun Duggan appear in candid moments alongside many other less well-known characters from the buoyant Liverpool music, theatre, film and club scenes at a time of significant national political and social turmoil.

Sandi, who is 72, is delighted that her years of work filming and collecting memorabilia will be professionally digitised, archived and made available for people to research and produce their own new work.
“I’m really looking forward to sparking off lots of people’s memories of a very special and important period in Liverpool’s history and I’m excited to work with other artists to re-present what I’ve got to reach new audiences.”

The project will be managed with Sandi by Re-dock, a Liverpool based arts collective who recently established the Liverpool Small Cinema and who have extensive experience of working with diverse communities to deliver arts projects.

Film Hub North West Central is committed to supporting and enabling audiences’ access to the region’s screen heritage. Sally Folkard from the BFI’s Film Hub North West Central said;
“Film Hub NWC is proud to be funding the screenings of Sandi’s rare collection of archive footage, making the films accessible to and enjoyed by audiences across the region. The films will spark nostalgia with those familiar with the scene, whilst giving new audience a unique glimpse at an authentic snapshot of Liverpool’s cultural heritage.”

Rewind, Fast Forward is planned to last one year and will start with the huge task of digitising Sandi’s films and cataloguing the materials. Several events are planned to share the contents of the archive and to raise awareness of the region’s BAME and LGBT history. These will include 3 film screenings, and new artistic collaborations for events such as part of Liverpool Light Night 13th May 2016. There will also be 10 new oral histories gathered to help place the archive in context.

Some of the archive will be accessible via the project website

and other material will be shared through social media
Facebook page


Chris Bernard with Holly Johnson signing on
Chris Bernard with Holly Johnson signing on