SOIMA 2009, 16 November - 11 December 2009, New Delhi, Pune

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Aparna Tandon, ICCROM, New Delhi - 20th November 2009
SAFEGUARDING SOUND AND IMAGE COLLECTIONS

SOIMA 2009: Safeguarding Sound and Image Collections International Course


An international course on the preservation of audiovisual records including photographs, films, recorded sound and videos was inaugurated on 16 November at the National  Museum Institute, New Delhi , India.
Being jointly organized by the National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property (NRLC) Lucknow, the National Museum Institute (NMI), New Delhi and International Centre for the study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, Rome (ICCROM), this month long course is the first of its kind in the region.  The course has been generously supported by the South Asia Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

Aimed at mid career professionals who are in charge of sound and image collections in cultural heritage institutions, SOIMA 2009 is second international course of  the SOIMA programme and will focus on practical solutions for ensuring long term preservation of and access to sound and image records.

Sounds and images comprise a major portion of the world’s memory encompassing diverse cultures, languages and creative expressions. Yet most of world’s twentieth century audiovisual heritage is at risk of being lost. With the current transition from analogue to digital formats, cultural institutions worldwide are facing serious difficulties due to a lack of knowledge, skills and resources. Many sound and image collections are held in institutions that do not specialise in this area and so do not have the competencies or the support to deal with the collections. Unless action is taken now this sound and image heritage will disappear.

As a response, ICCROM has introduced an international programme SOIMA (Sound and Image Collections Conservation) programme to emphasize conservation training for mid-career professionals in charge of conservation and archiving of sound and image collections in cultural institutions.  Activities will include creation of instructional and reference materials, training of professional staff, and encouraging collaboration between professionals in different countries. The focus is on audiovisual collections that reside in institutions that primarily care for non-audiovisual materials (libraries, museums, archives, cultural centers etc.)

The 19 course participants come from 15 different countries. They represent a broad range of conservation and heritage professionals in charge of sound and image collections in museums, archives, libraries and other cultural institutions. The training initiative enjoys the support of South Asia Foundation (SAF) that has made possible the participation of 8 professionals from the South Asia region at the course. The South Asia region has several memory institutions that have sound and image records of the rich intangible heritage of the region.

Keeping in view the specialized nature of the course, the working sessions of SOIMA 2009 are to be organized at different locations in New Delhi and in Pune, India. National Museum Institute, Janpath, New Delhi is hosting the course for the first week. Expected training outcomes include:

Keeping in view the specialized nature of the course, the working sessions of SOIMA 2009 are to be organized at different locations in New Delhi and in Pune, India. National Museum Institute, Janpath, New Delhi is hosting the course for the first week. At the end of the first week, the South Asia Foundation hosted the participants’ conference and invited them to meet with the Founder of SAF and India’s Goodwill Ambassador to UNESCO, Madanjeet Singh who is personally committed to the cause of preserving the sound and image heritage.

Other cooperating institutions include: