Conservation of sound and image collections (SOIMA)

Geared to meet the challenge of a fast disappearing sound and image heritage, SOIMA courses aim to develop a critical mass of professionals who will have the ability to multiply the impacts and benefits of the training. The emphasis is on mixed sound and image collections housed in diverse cultural institutions. The learning activities ensure that at the end of the training, the participants are able to: recognize materials and media in their respective sound and image collections;

  • identify the risks to such collections;
  • make informed choices for preservation and access within given means;
  • communicate effectively, across disciplines, the value of, and risks to, sound and image heritage, and advocate for its preservation and wider access.

One of the main modules of the training focuses on developing sustainable preservation and access models that encourage public-private partnerships as well as foster closer ties with IT (information technology) industries. To inform decision-making, possibilities offered by digitization are examined within the context of use and management of cultural heritage collections.

At the end of the course, participants are given time to develop ideas for carrying out projects on sound and image preservation and access in their respective countries. The outcomes of the projects are shared with the rest of the SOIMA community through the programme website and other relevant channels.

SOIMA in Practice: find out how former participants are making a difference in the field!

1 Hilke Arijs Belgium User-friendly tool for prioritizing image collections
(BELGIUM) Hilke Arijs has developed an assessment tool for image collections at the Belgian Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA). iCAT (Image Collections Assessment Tool) offers collection managers the opportunity to map and assess their respective image collections with the aim of identifying the different values associated with them, and informing choices for preservation and access. Moreover, the methodology assists in identifying new users for image collections. iCAT is currently aimed at photographic collections, but it can be adapted for other types of complex AV heritage such as video, film and sound collections.
2 Haitham Othman Egypt Emergency response
(EGYPT) Haitham Othman is working on low cost strategies for preservation of sound and image records. During January 2014 bombing incident near the Islamic Museum in Cairo, the collections of the National Library were also damaged. Haitham was one of the first emergency responders at the site and assisted in the salvage of damaged books and audiovisual records. “Because of SOIMA training, I was able to do the right procedures in a very hard time.”
3 Irfan Zuberi India First national repository dedicated to audiovisual preservation
(INDIA) Irfan Zuberi is coordinating the foundation of the country's first national institution in the field of audiovisual archives, tentatively named the National Cultural Audiovisual Archives. “The training imparted during the SOIMA course in Nairobi would be of critical importance in this regard, especially elements of collection and risk assessment, the issue of IPR vis-à-vis SOIMA collections, and the formulation of institutional as well as national preservation policy framework for India”, says Irfan.
4 Judith Opoku-Boateng Ghana Bridging the digital divide
(GHANA) Judith Opoku-Boateng is setting up a digital repository of audio visual records at the Institute for African Studies in the University of Ghana. “The SOIMA course gave me the rare opportunity of learning specific skills for our intended project stated above, from the International team of experts who taught on the programme and my fellow participants who came from various heritage institutions from around the world”, says Judith.
5 Annika Räim Estonia Preserving time-based media in installation art
(ESTONIA) Annika Räim specializes in the conservation of time-based media in contemporary art. At the S.M.A.K., the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent, Belgium, she has made a long-term preservation plan for Marie Jo Lafontaine’s video installation “A las cinco de la tarde”(1984) as the issue of updating the early manifestations of video art is becoming more relevant in media art collections.
6 Carlos Eduardo Serrano Vásquez Colombia Increasing awareness through user–driven access
(COLOMBIA) Carlos Eduardo Serrano Vásquez is developing innovative programmes for increasing awareness of the significance of audiovisual heritage at the Museum of Colombia. “The SOIMA course was a valuable experience that enhanced my knowledge about these collections and provided new tools to promote the safeguarding of audiovisual memory”, says Carlos.


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