The ICA’s Expert Group on Shared Archival Heritage (EGSAH) invites the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking archival community to participate in the international survey on displaced archives claims conducted in partnership with the Association of Latin American Archivists (ALA).

In order to deepen our knowledge of displaced archives around the world, the ICA led two international surveys on this topic: the first between 1997-1998, and the second between 2018-2019. However, none of them reported information related to Latin America.

In view of the different scenarios conducive to the displacement of archives that the region has experienced, including the processes of colonisation between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the succession of governments at different times in our history, internal and external conflicts, political instability, attempts at reconquest and new foreign interventions, the ICA/EGSAH, in collaboration with ALA, seeks to gather information to fill the aforementioned gap with the present survey.

Your participation in this survey will be an invaluable input to deepen in a subject little studied in our region that will contribute to the knowledge of our archival reality.

This survey will be available until Sunday 10 March 2024 (23:59 Paris time).

On Displaced Archives  

Displaced archives have long been a concern for governments, communities and archivists around the world. Since the last decades of the twentieth century, UNESCO, ICA and researchers have advanced important discussions on the subject through the study of particular cases in scenarios of decolonisation or transformation of governments, especially in Africa, Asia and Europe. In this sense the ICA/EGSAH promotes a forum for debate and problem solving about the archives of more than one community, country or region where custody, ownership and access are unclear due to wars, military occupations, secession of states or other types of events.

Shared heritage is understood in this context as: “The collections resulting from the activities of administrations, whose functions are shared by two or more States or their successors, may be declared ‘shared heritage’. The rights and responsibilities relating to the custody of and access to shared archival heritage shall be specified in the agreement concluded on its creation by the States concerned”. The term “displaced archives” is used to refer to archives that have been moved to a place other than where they were created, and their ownership is disputed by two or more parties. In the literature on the subject, terms such as “emigrated archives”, “expatriate archives”, “disputed archival claims”, “joint archival heritage”, “shared archival heritage”, among others, have also been used to refer to the same or similar phenomena.

More Information?    

Please do not hesitate to contact this Expert Group at if you have any questions about this survey.