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Tuesday, October 2 • 10:00 - 10:30
Accessibility to music heritage field recording collections: right of communities of origin?

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Creation of online access to the historically significant Hugh Tracey Collection of early recordings of African music created from the late 1920s – early 1970s, housed at the International Library of African Music in South Africa, was accomplished late in 2008 with the help of funding from international and national donors. This was considered a great achievement. It served its purpose well among research scholars, musicians, students and the general public who somehow – perhaps through a Google search - found out about the Collection. All of these ‘communities’ have internet access. However, on-line access has not meant the recordings are reaching the communities where they were originally created by the collector, Hugh Tracey. Most often source communities are remote, marginalized rural villages throughout sub-Saharan Africa, where internet access is not guaranteed. Also, most often the descendants of the artists recorded by Tracey either do not know that the recordings exist or, if they do remember that there was an Englishman who made recordings of their grandfather or grandmother, they have no idea what happened to them. This paper discusses reasons why there is a need to reach out and return recordings to their communities of origin and issues encountered in doing so. Further, it reports on current projects in digital return of music heritage collections archived in Australia, USA and Canada, in addition to ILAM’s efforts.

avatar for Will Prentice

Will Prentice

Phonogrammarchiv, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Will Prentice is the Training and Dissemination Manager for the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project at the British Library, where he has worked since 1999. He is Chair of the IASA Training & Education Committee, sits on the IASA Technical Committee and is a Trustee of the EMI Archive... Read More →

avatar for Diane Thram

Diane Thram

Professor Emeritus, International Library of African Music, Rhodes University
I was Director of ILAM for 10 years and became passionate about music heritage archives, digital return of field collections to their communities of origin, issues in archival ethics and the need to de-colonize collections through heritage activism and promotion of music sustain... Read More →

Tuesday October 2, 2018 10:00 - 10:30 GMT
Main Hall / Auditorium Department of Economics, University of Ghana, Legon

Attendees (6)