Course Announcement | SOIMA 2013
04 March 2013

SOIMA 2013: Safeguarding sound and image collections

Dates: 23 September- 16 October 2013

Place: Nairobi, Kenya, with study visits to partner institutions.


  • ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property)
  • Trust for African Rock Art (TARA)

The Course
Today, sound and image records account for a large portion of the world’s memory and are found in diverse cultural institutions. As documents of intangible heritage and contemporary culture, they are of immense value. Yet archives, museums, libraries and other cultural institutions around the world are struggling to conserve their sound and image collections in both analogue and digital formats. Moreover, conservation of sound and image materials is complex and requires specialized guidance, skills and infrastructure. While digitization offers new possibilities for wider access and preservation, many institutions lack expertise to assess the technological implications and to make informed choices that do not strain institutional resources and at the same time respect the authenticity and inherent values of this heritage.

The course will provide an overview of issues related to the preservation and access of sound and image materials such as: photographs, films, video and audiotapes, and digital materials. It will discuss the value, meaning, selection, and use of sound and image collections in various institutional contexts, exploring the potential of sound and image media to transmit knowledge and cultural traditions. Initial sessions will especially focus on identification of various formats including the playback equipment, life expectancy of media, and ways of detecting deterioration. Additional course topics will include: current knowledge and practices for documenting and cataloguing, media handling and storage, risk assessment of collections, emergency preparedness and response, criteria and technologies for migration and reformatting, planning preservation projects, outsourcing options, digital preservation, and management. Other issues such as curating and access, copyright laws, legal deposit, and institutional and national preservation policies, will be discussed in context with participant working realities. Adaptation to technological changes and related cost-effective preservation strategies will form a key component of the course.

Applicants: please have a look at the video in the related section. It will definitely give you a better idea of what to expect in this course!

At the end of the course, participants will be able to recognize materials and media in their sound and image collections, identify risks, and make informed choices for preservation and access. They will have improved their skills to communicate effectively across disciplines and to work in teams.

Course methodology
The course will comprise of lectures, a variety of group activities, practical sessions, case studies, and site visits. Significant time will be allocated for independent consultation with the course team. Case studies for the course will be based on participant inputs and will address issues and challenges identified by them. Thus, active involvement of participants will be sought during the course preparation phase. A follow-up programme will involve working on self-defined initiatives in participants’ home institutions, and communicating and networking through a platform supported by the organizers.

The course is aimed at professionals working with mixed collections that have sound and image records of national or regional significance. In particular, it will interest archivists, collection managers, conservators, curators, and librarians in charge of preserving such collections in various cultural institutions around the world. It will also interest Information Technology professionals working on projects involving digitization of sound and image collections or allied professionals and managers working for broadcasting institutions. Preference will be given to people actively involved in teaching and advising. A maximum of 22 participants will be selected.

Teaching team
International team of recognized experts identified through professional networks of the partners.

Working language: English

Course fee: €900 (Euro)

Travel, Accommodation and Living Expenses
Participants will be responsible for their round trip travel costs to and from Nairobi, Kenya. In order to cover living costs during the course, participants should plan for a minimum total allowance of €1200 (Euro). This sum would include the costs of accommodation in moderately priced hotels identified by the organizers. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from sources such as governmental institutions, employers and other relevant funding agencies. ICCROM may be able to offer a limited number of travel grants to selected candidates who have been unable to secure funding.

Please use the course application form and send it by email to Please note that it is mandatory to include the statement with your reasons for applying.

Applications without the statement of intent will not be considered. Should you be sending the application by mail, please send to the following contact address:

SOIMA 2013 – Collections Unit
13, via di San Michele
Tel (+39) 06 585531 Fax (+39) 06 58553349
E-mail: soima2013 (at) iccrom . org

Application deadline: 15 March 2013