World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is annually observed on October 27 to build global awareness of issues on preserving audiovisual material, such as sound recordings and moving images.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, are our common heritage and contain the primary records of the 20th and 21st centuries. They help to maintain the cultural identity of a people; but countless documentary treasures have disappeared since the invention of image and sound technologies that permit the peoples of the world to better share their experiences, creativity and knowledge.

All of the world’s audiovisual heritage is endangered. Nowhere can it be said to be preserved, but through initiatives such as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage and the Memory of the World Programme, the precious work of preservation professionals is given impetus to manage a range of technical, political, social, financial and other factors that threaten the safeguarding of our heritage.

It was in this context, that the General Conference in 2005 approved the commemoration of a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage as a mechanism to raise general awareness of the need for urgent measures to be taken and to acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity.

Many sound recordings, moving images and other audiovisual material are lost because of neglect, natural decay and technological obsolescence. Organizations such as UNESCO felt that more audiovisual documents would be lost if stronger and concerted international action was not taken. A proposal to commemorate a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage was approved at a UNESCO general conference in 2005. The first World Day for Audiovisual Heritage was held on October 27, 2007.

The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage aims to raise general awareness of the need for urgent measures to be taken. It also focuses on acknowledging the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) works with organizations, governments and communities promote the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on October 27 each year. Activities and events include:

  • Competitions, such as a logo contest, to promote the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.
  • Local programs organized as a joint effort between national film archives, audiovisual societies, television or radio stations, and governments.
  • Panel discussions, conferences, and public talks on the importance of preserving important audiovisual documents.
  • Special film screenings.

Countries previously involved in observing the day included (but were not exclusive to) Canada, Denmark, Thailand, and the United States.

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