World Day for Audiovisual Heritage – October 27, 2021

The annual World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on October 27 reminds us of the importance of archiving and preserving audiovisual sources. Also known as AV in short, audiovisual items can be anything from a short clip or a documentary to speeches or music. These types of material provide us with an insight into the social, political, economical, and linguistic realities of a given environment. Audiovisual archives are also a way of learning about those parts of history that are no longer accessible for whatever reason. October 27 is, thus, a way to remind everyone about the importance of preserving audiovisual records before it becomes too late. Many such sources have already been lost due to negligence and lack of preservation efforts.

History of World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

The first World Day for Audiovisual Heritage was celebrated in 2005. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) collaborated with the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA) to bring the day into existence on October 27.

The CCAAA is a worldwide organization that has many audiovisual organizations as members. There are no special staff positions in the CCAAA as the registered associations each have a president and vice president elected to the board, which changes according to people willing to volunteer for the positions. The CCAAA came into being after UNESCO’s 1980 “Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images”. The Recommendation initiative urged institutions and associations to work together to preserve archives on an urgent basis. The result was the Roundtable of Audiovisual Records. Several organizations like the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the International Council on Archives (ICA) came together for the Roundtable meeting.

It was decided that a Joint Technical Symposium (JTS) would be held every few years. However, within a few years, the involved archive associations realized that more needed to be done, and thus the CCAAA was born. It is estimated that it only takes 10 to 15 years for audiovisual sources to deteriorate if not preserved and maintained correctly, due to the nature of the materials they are recorded on. If this happens, we will lose important linguistic, social, and cultural histories around us. UNESCO views the following benefits of the day as “Raising public awareness of the need for preservation; providing opportunities to celebrate specific local, national or international aspects of the heritage; highlighting the accessibility of archives; attracting media attention to heritage issues; raising the cultural status of audiovisual heritage; highlighting audiovisual heritage in danger, especially in developing countries”.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage timeline

1600s
Audiovisual Education

John Amos Comenius, a Czech teacher, advocates that audiovisual educational resources be added to the schooling curriculum.

1930s–1940s
Audiovisual Sources During WWII

WWII sees audiovisual sources being distributed to important armed services to be used as tools of reflection and to stimulate thought processes, action, and imagination.

1980
UNESCO’s Recommendation Initiative for Audiovisual Archiving

UNESCO presents a report titled “Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images” for the preservation of audiovisual sources.

2005
First World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

UNESCO and the CCAAA collaborate to celebrate the first World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on October 27.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage FAQs

Why is World Day for Audiovisual Heritage celebrated?

The day provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of preserving, archiving, and maintaining knowledge within audiovisual sources.

Which body is a national custodian for the preservation of audiovisual heritage?

The United Nations is one of the main national custodians for the preservation of audiovisual heritage. Around 40,000 audiovisual records were preserved on October 27, 2020, by a team of experts in the NY headquarters alone.

What are the types of audiovisual materials?

Audiovisual documents could be anything from movies to clips to documentaries to slides to music videos to tape recordings and many more of the newer forms of visual and auditory arts.

How to Observe World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

  1. Participate in the day’s activities

    Look up what your country is doing for the day to decide how you can participate in the activities. There are usually logo-making contests, conferences, screenings, and discussion panels themed around the day. For example, 2020’s theme was “Your Window to the World”, and many of the planned activities were centered around the theme.

  2. Host an event/activity

    If there are no activities happening around you, you can organize one yourself. You can reach out to your town council or organizations like the local library or museum to see what can be done to raise awareness about the importance of the day. Get your family and friends to help you with the event.

  3. Check out audiovisual resources

    What’s a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage if you do not take the time to learn something from an audiovisual source? Go to your local library to check out some audiovisual material. Often libraries receive the required funds and donations if the sources being kept at their institution are constantly being checked out by patrons/visitors. If this doesn’t happen, libraries lose out on important funding to preserve their sources.

5 Facts About Audiovisual That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. One of the best educational materials

    Using an audiovisual source to teach in a classroom has proven to be one of the best teaching methods, as it allows students to hear and see the material at the same time.

  2. Rapidly changing industry

    Given the rapid technological transitions, the audiovisual industry has seen massive growth and changes, so much so that a child growing up in the 2020s will have different technological experiences than a child from the early 2000s.

  3. Music video trends

    A good way to learn about the trends of a given timeline is to look at the music videos from that time, as these would provide a good audiovisual background on what was happening at the time the videos were shot.

  4. Underlying prejudice vs choice

    Many scholars and educators have expressed their inhibitions regarding the use of audiovisual materials, as the way they may have recorded could have potential prejudices in their underlying messages.

  5. Immersive audiovisual

    Technological advancements mean that newer audiovisual methods are on the rise, with the latest one being Virtual Reality technology.

Why World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is Important

  1. It’s a celebration of audiovisual technology

    Audiovisual technology allows us to hear and view the world as we sit comfortably in one place. This technology started out as a window through which we could have a glimpse of a different world, but with today’s virtual reality, we can have walkthroughs, which adds a different dimension to the learning aspects.

  2. It focuses on a slice of history

    We can learn a lot from history, from how people lived socially and economically to how they interacted, based on linguistics and culture. History also gives us the liberty to reflect and learn from the events, and on this day we have an excuse to delve into older movies, music, audiobooks, and the like to enrich that knowledge.

  3. It’s educational

    Audiovisual sources in an educational setting allow for a deeper understanding of the material being taught because at least two senses are engaged, and that stimulates increased interest and remembering.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage dates

YearDateDay
2021October 27Wednesday
2022October 27Thursday
2023October 27Friday
2024October 27Sunday
2025October 27Monday

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