The Trust can make a grant of up to £4,000 towards publishing work on any aspect of the history of television.
The promotion of public education through the study and research of the history of television in all its aspects and without regard to country of origin, including the development and encouragement of publications and associated projects such as bibliographies and monographs on particular aspects, provided that the results of such study and research shall be published and that the contribution made by the Trust shall be suitably acknowledged in any publication.
Grants will be given to assist in the completion of new or unfinished projects, work or literature specific to the objectives of the Trust. ‘Literature’ is defined as including audio-visual media such as DVDs and websites.
The Trustees must be satisfied that the work they are supporting either could not be finished or published without the grant and that, with it, the work will be completed, or, the grant will provide the initial phase of a project that will be continued and completed with other identified funding.
Applications will be considered broadly in support of research, development, writing, editing or publication. Grants for research will require that the results of the work will be made known and accessible through appropriate means. In the case of literature, projects must have a real prospect of publication.
Applicants must demonstrate that their work will have a clear expectation of making a significant contribution to the objectives of the Trust.
Applicants will be required to satisfy the Trustees of the soundness of their projects, and identify any grants from other sources. The Trustees will not make commitments to support recurring funding, nor make grants to cover fees or maintenance of students undertaking courses.
Applications are now invited and should be submitted to the Trustees by 27 March 2020 on an official application form (available to download here). Applications should set out the nature of the project in no more than 500 words. Supporting documentation may also be included. Details of your experience or qualifications should be provided. Applicants should ensure that their project conforms to all the criteria. Applications should be accompanied by a budget that clearly identifies the sum being requested for a grant and the purposes for which it will be used. Application forms are available by following the link below and should be returned by email to RTS archivist Clare Colvin.
About George Shiers
George Shiers, a distinguished US television historian, was a long-standing member of the RTS. Before his death in 1983, he and his wife, May, provided for a bequest in their wills. The Shiers Trust grant, now in its 19th year, is normally worth £2,000. This year, to mark the 90th anniversary of the RTS, it has been raised to £4,000. Grants will be considered and approved by the Trustees who may, at their discretion, consult appropriate experts to assist their decisions. In assessing priorities, the Trustees will take into account the sums of money available.
Past Shiers Trust Projects
2019: Stuart Ramsay’s film Made in Yorkshire about the history of Yorkshire Television and Mark Craig for filmed interviews with ex BBC motion graphic designers
2017: Birmingham City University recorded interviews with programme-makers to expand its online oral history of BBC Pebble Mill, 1971 to 2004
2016: The Scottish Broadcasting Heritage Group recorded interviews with people who worked at and watched STV from 1957 to 2017
2015: Oral history project by former Granada staffers Stephen Kelly and Judith Jones, with interviews published at: www.granadaland.org
2014: Shared between Dr Sheldon Hall, whose Armchair Cinema is a study of feature films on British television, and Marc Scott, whose research focuses on the unofficial development of TV in Australia
2013: Barry Fox has built a website to present his collection of historical consumer electronics imagery and documents. The picture shows a publicity still for Philips’s optical videodisc
2012: Paul Marshall researched a biography of Alan Archibald Campbell Swinton, the early visionary of all-electronic television
2012: Simon Vaughan digitised the 300-page ‘Black Book’, the first manual of the Marconi-EMI electronic television system, installed in 1936
2011: David Rose presented an illustrated retrospective of his exceptional career as a ground-breaking television and film producer to a large number of live audiences
2010: John Wyver conducted interviews on the presentation of theatre plays on British television
2009: Ronald Sandell, a key planner of the analogue terrestrial transmitter network, conducted research for a book, Seventy Years Before the Masts
2008/2010: Steve Arnold digitised back issues of Radio Times to make a searchable online archive of articles and schedules
2005: John Grist wrote a biography of Grace Wyndham Goldie, the first Head of BBC Television News and Current Affairs
2004: Don McLean compiled an authentically accurate audio two-CD presentation of the beginnings of television in Britain.
2001: Simon Vaughan, archivist of the Alexandra Palace Television Society, printed a collection of 1,200 photos by the father of television lighting, Desmond Robert Campbell
For queries about the Shiers Trust please contact Clare Colvin, the Royal Television Society archivist.