Saving the Sights and the Sounds

“Moving images, with sound recordings, are […] essential to identity and belonging. This is why they must be preserved and shared as part of our common heritage. The stories told by this heritage are powerful expressions of culture and place, weaving together personal and collective experience, reflecting the search for meaning shared by all. This heritage provides an anchor in a world of change, especially for local communities, providing records of cultural activities, reflecting the great diversity of expressions.” – Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

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One of technological wonders of the 20th century, audiovisual documents have come to play an important part in human history by complementing the traditional written record and offering new ways of seeing the past. Yet we easily forget how vulnerable they are.

Deliberate destruction and technological obsolescence are some of the major threats endangering our moving image heritage, but it can take something as simple as the natural passage of time to damage these important records of our history.

UNESCO recognised this in 2005 by declaring October 27 the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, in an attempt to raise awareness of the issue and help prevent further “impoverishing the memory of mankind”.

This year’s theme of ‘It’s your story – don’t lose it’ brings a personal touch to the preservation of AV heritage. LSA is celebrating the occasion with a focus on amateur films and home movies, which tell personal stories whilst simultaneously capturing a shared social past.

Here is a short retrospective of amateur films which have been digitised thanks to the BFI’s Unlocking Film Heritage project:

Head over to the BFI Player to watch other Amateur Auteurs in action

Check out this month’s gallery for more LSA home movies

Get in touch if you own moving image stories you don’t want to lose

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