2020 FIAF Congress in Mexico City: Symposium Call for Papers

Theme: "Preventing and managing natural and human-made disasters in film archives"

20-21 April 2020, Mexico City

The Call for papers can be downloaded in ENGLISH, FRENCH, and SPANISH. Submission deadline: 13 January 2020.

The 2020 FIAF Congress website can be consulted HERE. Congress Newsletter #1 can be downloaded HERE. Congress Newsletter #2 can be downloaded HERE. Congress Newsletter #3 can be downloaded HERE.


We will share experiences, contingency and prevention plans for natural phenomena.

How to anticipate the constant and extreme changes in global climate and how they affect conservation and preservation in our archives. Create priority checklists and disaster rescue lists, organize drills and evaluate them, respond quickly when they happen in order to minimize damage to our collections.

In addition, there are human-caused disasters, which are perhaps even more serious – those that through negligence, ignorance or public policy erase or destroy archival collections. For example, disasters caused by military dictatorships and political regimes; or those where archivists are omitted or apathetic to the imponderables of everyday life, or when staff lack the training and knowledge to properly care for the collections.


Causes of disaster:

Natural disasters, both catastrophic and gradual

Disasters through negligence

Disasters resulting from war and conflict

Political interference and the deliberate erasure of memory

Tackling disasters:

Disaster planning

Strategies and tactics

Protection against malign external influences

Disaster case studies


We look forward to receiving your proposals, whether they are suggestions for individual contributions or pre-constituted panels. We invite you to consider including partners and colleagues outside FIAF when thinking of pre-constituted panels. Individual contributions (papers, presentations, etc.) should last about 20 minutes (plus discussion), pre-constituted panels about 120 minutes (including discussion).

For individual contributions, please send us an abstract of approximately 150 words and a brief biography. For pre-constituted panels, please provide details of the speakers/institutions represented and an abstract of 300 words maximum. Whenever possible, please also suggest your preferred moderators.

Proposals may be submitted in one of the three languages of the symposium (English, French, Spanish).

The symposium is intended as an opportunity to discuss and share opinions. We therefore recommend submitting proposals that are not just project presentations.  

During the review and comment phase, the symposium organisers and the symposium advisory board could make comments and suggestions to applicants in order to develop a complex but compact programme. Some proposals may be recommended for other congress events and other proposals may be rejected.

Proposals must be submitted via an online form by 13 January 2020.


Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 April 2020. There will be eight sessions of two hours each in total.


The Symposium is coordinated by filmmaker Albino Álvarez (Filmoteca de la UNAM) with input from the Symposium Advisory Committee. The role of the Advisory Committee is to contribute to the conceptualisation of the Symposium and to participate in the evaluation of the proposals.


New proposal submission deadline: 13 January 2020.

The Filmoteca UNAM and FIAF will jointly announce the final selection of the Symposium presentations on 31 January 2020.


Colleagues from the FIAF community presenting at the Symposium may apply for funds from the Christian Dimitriu Fund (applications will open in December). Please note that some funds for other symposium speakers will also be available, so please indicate in your proposal if you would like to apply for financial assistance to attend the symposium.


For any questions or comments, please use the following email: fiaf2020.symposium@gmail.com

Selection Committee members:

  • Rachael Stoeltje (Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive, USA)
  • David Walsh (FIAF Training and Outreach Coordinator, UK)
  • Luciano Castillo (Cinemateca de Cuba, Cuba)
  • Hisashi Okajima (National Film Archive of Japan, Japan)
  • Albino Álvarez G. (Filmoteca UNAM, Mexico)