World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

About Audiovisual Heritage  

Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, audio and video recordings, contain the primary records of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Transcending language and cultural boundaries, appealing immediately to the eye and the ear, to the literate and illiterate, audiovisual documents have transformed society by becoming a permanent complement to the traditional written record.

However, they are extremely vulnerable, and it is estimated that we have few years to transfer audiovisual records to digital to prevent their loss. Much of the world’s audiovisual heritage has already been irrevocably lost through neglect, destruction, decay and the lack of resources, skills, and structures, thus impoverishing the memory of mankind. Much more will be lost if stronger and concerted international action is not taken.

About the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

During the 2004 International Congress in Vienna, the 2,000 participants in attendance adopted a resolution requesting that the United Nations (UN) designate a specific day to mark the importance and value of archives.

In 2005, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared 27 October as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (WDAH) during the 33rd session of the UNESCO General Conference held in Paris, France. WDAH offers an occasion to raise widespread awareness of the need to take urgent measures and acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents as a representation of our shared heritage and memory.

The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is a key initiative to honour audiovisual preservation professionals and institutions that safeguard our heritage for future generations. Around the world audiovisual archives come together each year on this day to celebrate their work with events that not only highlight the vulnerability of these valuable materials, but also raise the profile of the often, unheralded work of institutions that provide protection and preservation to ensure their future availability.