Photos, films, audio and video records capture memories, creative expressions and vital scientific data. “Wherever the collections of these records exist, they are being used to create jobs, feed research and provide multidimensional narratives of our past and present,” says Dr Stefano De Caro, ICCROM’s Director-General.
To discuss these topics, the 2017 SOIMA International Course on Sustaining Sound and Image Collections has brought together 17 participants from 12 countries at the Institute of African Studies and the J.H. Kwabena Nketia Archives at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana. The shared objective is to exchange knowledge on sustaining sound and image heritage, which is threatened by constantly changing technologies and the lack of cohesive institutional policies.
This course, which runs from 9 to 23 July 2017, was conceived by ICCROM in collaboration with the Institute of African Studies and with the cooperation of Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision , Ghana’s National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) , the International Council on Archives (ICA) , and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) .
During the two-week intensive course, participants have engaged in activities ranging from group discussions, hands-on activities and structured learning exercises. The shared topics include defining what audiovisual heritage is, why should we preserve it, and how can we use it for creative purposes. This learning opportunity focuses on a case study at the J.H. Kwabena Nketia Archive, which was founded to study the vibrant oral heritage of Ghana. This archive is led by a former SOIMA participant, Judith Opoku-Boateng, who is now sharing the fruits of her labour with other participants.
The dynamic teaching team comes from seven countries and contributes to the diversity of the group.
Brainstorms around what our collections hold, and why we preserve them, have led to the realization that we can find solutions to common problems. However, there is no singular method to preserve these mixed collections. The solutions for how to plan for preservation and ensure long-term access are as diverse as our collections are.
A field recording exercise gave participants hands-on experience in capturing audio and video recordings of Ghanaian music and dance groups. The participants used a range of equipment to capture elements of intangible heritage and ethnomusicology during the recording session, and then used their files to dive into understanding concepts of metadata and data storage. This multidimensional exercise also helped participants understand the ethical dilemmas of recording cultures and managing intellectual property rights of the source communities.
Towards the end of the course, on 21 July, ICCROM together with the Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana and their collaborators is holding a public symposium entitled “ Sound and Image Heritage: for Creativity, Peace and Development .” This symposium creates a platform for eight speakers from five countries to share their unique views on the importance of sound and image heritage in creating jobs, promoting peace and contributing to a creative society. The symposium ends with a Conversation with the Audience in which the attendees interact with the experts on the stage and discuss topics of current interest in the sound and image field.
ICCROM’s SOIMA (Sound and Image Collections Conservation) course has been held in six international editions in Brazil, India, Kenya, Latvia and Lithuania, Mexico, and Belgium. Cross-disciplinary exchange and networking is at the core of this international programme. It aims at increasing capacity of museums, archives, libraries and other cultural institutions to preserve and provide access to sound and image collections.
SOIMA has developed a robust network of 120 professionals from 56 countries that care for unique sound and image heritage in 109 diverse institutions. ICCROM organizes and coordinates meetings to identify and disseminate approaches and methodologies for conservation of different types of cultural heritage.
Member States represented: Argentina, Belgium, Ghana, India, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Syria, United States of America, Zimbabwe.