Mark your calendar- October 27, 2016 is World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. The theme for this year is: “It’s Your Story – Don’t Lose It”
Many sound recordings, moving images and other audiovisual material are lost because of neglect, natural decay and technological obsolescence. Organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) felt that more audiovisual documents would be lost if stronger and concerted international action was not taken. A proposal to commemorate a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage was approved at a UNESCO general conference in 2005. The first World Day for Audiovisual Heritage was held on October 27, 2007.
The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage aims to raise general awareness of the need for urgent measures to be taken. It also focuses on acknowledging the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity. Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova,says:
“We have 10 to 15 years left to transfer available audiovisual recordings to digital media and prevent their loss. We need to join forces to change the situation – for it is of the utmost importance that this recent history be understood and shared not only for issues of identity and affiliation but also for a clearer grasp of relationships and challenges in contemporary societies.”
UNESCO works with organizations, governments and communities to promote the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage each year. Activities and events include:
- Competitions, such as a logo contest, to promote the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.
- Local programs organized as a joint effort between national film archives, audiovisual societies, television or radio stations, and governments.
- Panel discussions, conferences, and public talks on the importance of preserving important audiovisual documents.
- Special film screenings.
Countries previously involved in observing the day included (but were not exclusive to) Canada, Denmark, Thailand, and the United States.
For more information check out the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives Website.