David Walsh, training and outreach coordinator for FIAF
Archival expertise has largely fallen away, and the knowledge resides in an increasingly aged core of former film technicians and laboratory works and filmmakers. It’s very hard for anyone joining an archive to actually gain this knowledge.
Conference addressed challenges of audiovisual preservation
Details from our inaugural event
In May 2019, 50 professional archivists, filmmakers, scholars, and film projectionists from 12 countries traveled to Bloomington, Indiana to participate in FIAF’s new two-week training program held at Indiana University. The first Biennial Audio Visual Archival Summer School (BAVASS), established a new multi-week training model with comprehensive curriculum focused on audiovisual archiving and preservation
Time and change have become some of the biggest threats to audiovisual collections. With motion picture imaging dying away in its traditional form, conventional film has already reached the end of its life. Other media, such as videotapes and audiocassettes, will soon follow. It’s the archivist’s job to protect and preserve, as much as possible, those formats and the content they hold.
“Time is against us,” said Natalie Rose Cassaniti, an assistant conservator at the State Library of New South Wales, Australia. “There are massed collections all over the world, but we are limited with time and funding resources to be able to preserve them."
Funding is another factor in the struggle to save aging media. Indiana University is one of the rare exceptions in the archival world, in that the university has a decades-long track record of providing the resources, expertise, and funding to preserve and provide access to its unique image and sound collections across all its campuses. In 2013, the university announced it would be allocating $15 million to the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI) to digitally preserve and provide access to all significant audio, video, and film recordings by 2020. That’s 325,000 audio-visual pieces. In 2017, MDPI added the digitization of 25,000 film reels to its goal.
“The amazing facilities, staff, and ongoing programs that IU has supported allowed us to host the BAVASS program,” said Rachael Stoeltje, director of Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive and one of the lead organizers of the Summer School.
A look back
With multiple days of workshops and presentations summer school participants experienced intensive, hands-on learning through instruction by today's leading experts in the field of archival preservation, and exposure to Indiana University's comprehensive and cutting edge audiovisual environments.