Sounds and images comprise a major portion of the world’s memory and information encompassing diverse cultures, languages, governing systems, and creative expressions. Yet most of world’s twentieth century audiovisual heritage is at risk of being lost. With the current transition from analogue to digital formats, cultural institutions worldwide are facing serious difficulties due to a lack of knowledge, skills and resources. Many sound and image collections are held in institutions that do not specialise in this area and therefore, lack the competencies or the necessary support to manage and preserve such collections. Unless action is taken now, most of the sound and image heritage of the past century will disappear.

As a response, ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Culutral Porperty) has introduced an international programme, SOIMA (Sound and Image Collections Conservation), to emphasize conservation training for mid-career professionals in charge of conservation and archiving of sound and image collections in cultural institutions. Activities include creation of instructional and reference materials, training of professional staff, and encouraging collaboration between professionals in different countries.  The focus is on audiovisual collections residing in institutions that primarily care for non-audiovisual materials (libraries, museums, archives, cultural centers, etc.).

The SOIMA 2015 International Conference took place in Brussels, Belgium on 3-4 September 2015. Its main theme was "Unlocking Sound and Image Heritage". You can find information about past SOIMA courses HERE.