2018 – David Walsh – Biography

Digital Preservation Consultant, IWM

Training and Outreach Coordinator, FIAF


David Walsh received an MA in Chemistry at Oxford University in 1974. His fascination with film led him to joining the Imperial War Museum (IWM) in 1975, where he undertook a project to study the decomposition of cellulose nitrate film. From this starting point he became heavily involved in all aspects of the work of the IWM Film and Video Archive, becoming Head of Preservation in the 1990s. With IWM’s growing reliance on digital technology, he found himself increasingly acting as the bridge between the technical and the curatorial, and was appointed Head of Digital Collections in 2012, working particularly on IWM’s strategy for digitisation and digital preservation, but still acting as the main repository of film preservation knowledge.

Internationally he is known for his writings and presentations on many film archive matters, frequently examining the hard facts underpinning many common assumptions about film and digitisation. He joined the Technical Commission of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) in 2006 and served as its head from 2011 to 2016.

Since 2016 he had divided his time between IWM, where he continues to drive the digital preservation strategy and acts as a mentor to staff learning the craft of film archiving, and FIAF, for whom he is the Training and Outreach Coordinator, taking a lead role in defining and implementing FIAF’s training initiatives around the world.

Having accumulated over 40 years of knowledge and experience in film archiving, he sees it as his mission to pass that knowledge on to current and future archivists, and takes delight in teaching new generations of enthusiasts.