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Creative Reuse

We attempt to activate the archive by creating settings in which the films can be brought into public life with intimacy and care. We partner with artists, researchers, and donors from our home movie community to create opportunities for new perspectives to inform how we make sense of the scenes, settings, and histories represented in the films with a contemporary lens.

“Everyday Resistance: The Art of Living in Black Chicago," an exhibition featuring South Side home movies animating a domestic space and offering a visual record and aesthetic of Blackness from the 1940s through the 1980s, at the Arts Incubator, presented in partnership with Arts + Public Life, May 23–July 6, 2018.
A community cataloging activity at Video Lab, part of a celebration of Black History Month at the Apple Store on Michigan Ave, February 5, 2020.
Lighting up the historic McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum with home movies featuring scenes of our city’s waterways from 1940-1970, part of the Tender House Project, presented in conjunction with Friends of the Chicago River’s annual Chicago River Day, May 2018.
"Citizen with Camera: South Side Civic Engagement Thru Home Movies" presented films and tips for preserving home movies at Anthony Overton School, part of the Dimensions of Citizenship series, in partnership with Creative Grounds and Chicago Film Archives, April 6, 2019.
Screengrab from Spinning Home Movies episode 11, “eryday. new mercy(s), Part 1" with avery r. young, in conversation with film donor Tracye Matthews, series producer Avery LaFlamme and archivist Justin Williams, September 24, 2020.
Bingo! "Home Movies for the Holidays: Celebration + Drop off Station" at The Silver Room featured home movie bingo games based on our extensive collection of winter holiday films, December 15, 2018..
As part of The Silver Room Block Party, the SSHMP Video Lounge at Harper Theater invited folks to relax in our re-created living room, learn about Community Cataloging, and view selected home movies throughout the day, July 21, 2018.

Activating the Archive

Since the beginning of the project, we have engaged our communities through the familiar experience of watching home movies together - with family members narrating, music playing, and new generations gathering. We also present home movies in novel ways, and invite students, educators, and artists to reuse footage from our archive in creative new ways as well.

“I really believe that part of archiving this work is showing it, and you’re actually archiving it by putting the archival material in people’s minds and consciousness, and then wherever those mental images are they are keeping that history alive and moving forward." - Dr. Jacqueline Stewart, Director

Spinning Home Movies

Our signature program, the virtual event series “Spinning Home Movies,” invites Chicago musicians, filmmakers, spoken word artists and DJs to create unique soundtracks for a set of home movie clips that they select. Launched in 2020, thousands of viewers have joined the lively cross-generational, interdisciplinary conversation with archivists, artists, film donors, and family members, generating the intimate energy of a live performance as audiences stay home.

Learn More About Spinning Home Movies

Digital Exhibit: what love looks like in public

In the summer of 2021, a multi-generational team of co-curators from all facets of the Home Movie Project came together to create an exhibit that plays with the concept of public space. The exhibit was shown around the Arts Block and is visible from Garfield Boulevard.

A year later, the Project revisited the curation process to put together a retrospective digital page and document the stories behind this exhibit. This page is, hopefully, one of many digital exhibits that re-activate the archive.

Explore the Exhibit

Footage Licensing & Creative Reuse

The South Side Home Movie Project provides footage for commercial and non-commercial use on a per-case basis. Due to the personal nature of our collection we are sensitive to how the material is used and distributed, and prioritize projects that align with our goals. For details and to speak with our team about using the home movies in your project, please fill out the most appropriate form below with your name, contact information, affiliation and a brief description of your project and your intended use.

For all requests, please allow for a 2-week processing time. Footage rates may apply. All fees go toward the processing, digitization and preservation of our films.

Educational & Research Projects

On a per-case basis, South Side Home Movie Project grants limited, non-exclusive licenses to use footage for research and educational purposes. If you require clips or timecoded embedded screeners, a nominal fee may apply.

Educational & Research Licensing Inquiries

Creative Projects & Commercial Licensing

On a per-case basis, South Side Home Movie Project grants limited, non-exclusive licenses for footage to used in non-commercial creative & commercial projects. We require a minimum 2-week processing time for requested clips. Anything under that time period will incur a rush charge.

Creative & Commercial Licensing Inquiries

Licensing Tips

Please reach out early in your process!

We are a small team so we just ask that you reach out early in your process to ensure we can fulfill your request! If you are interested in commercial use and would like to review our standard license agreement or rate card, please fill out one of the forms above or send an email to

Take note of the Identifier ID.

In our catalog system, each film is assigned a unique Identifier ID which tells us exactly which film you are looking at and from which collection. Since the Identifier ID includes both the collection title and the reel (film) number, it’s also great shorthand for notetaking!

We are happy to make suggestions and share search strategies.

We know that our catalog is extensive and might feel overwhelming at first glance. We are happy to aid your search by walking you through the advanced tools on the website, and to field questions about specific types of subjects or scenes you may be looking for.

Don’t worry about the timecode just yet!

While you may find specific sections of the film you are interested in using, these clips may not always line up perfectly with the copy we will provide for you. So instead of giving you small segments of the film, we will provide lo-res access copy versions of the entire film with timecode burned in free of charge.