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Tuesday, October 2 • 09:30 - 10:30
Panel: Audiovisual documentation and preservation of ceremonial celebrations and oral narratives: the Ghanaian experience

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There has been ubiquitous documentation and preservation of Ghanaian ceremonial celebrations and oral narratives in audiovisual formats by many institutions in Ghana, before and after independence. These recordings have in recent times become the permanent complement to the traditional written record. Much of these documentation initiatives by individuals and public institutions have, however,  been halted due to the obsolescence, lack of storage space, funding problems and lack of appropriate preservation methods. One of the main institutions in Ghana which has held on to the tradition of documentation and preservation of audiovisual resources is the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. This panel will host four persons from the Institute of African Studies; two research fellows and research assistants. They will discuss their experience with documentation of authentic contextual ceremonial celebrations and oral narratives from the point of view of ethnomusicology, literature, ethnography, history and preservation.
Paper 1: Dealing with authenticity in live and sprawling ceremonials: the role of the informed audience –
by Moses Nii Dortey (Ph.D), Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. Field researches that involve live, sprawling, multi-focal and integrated ceremonials (like traditional festivals, royal funerals, enstoolment/enskinment) often present liveness-induced challenges that sometimes threaten the authenticity of the documented outcomes. This presentation seeks to explore the centrality of informed audiences in such public performances as important complementary field strategy for dealing with the authenticity question.
Paper 2: The fascinating experience of oral narratives documentation – Pathways for the future, by Selina Emma Okle, Research Assistant, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. Whilst history is being lived and outlived, the participants might be willing or unwilling to tell their stories. “Pathways for the Future” was an initiative of the second Occupant of the Kwame Nkrumah Chair in the Institute of African Studies. The project recorded authentic information through oral narratives from senior citizens in Ghana who had interacted with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic of Ghana. Issues about Nkrumah’s political philosophies, his diasporic Pan-Africanist ideologies etc., emerged through the captured conversations. This presentation gives a brief on the “Pathways for the Future” and recounts the amazing experience of the videographer and project transcriber who had to play two other imaginary roles (the Archivist and the Researcher) during the documentation process.
Paper 3: The Field Experiences In Visual Documentation Of Ethnographic Data And Its Technical Encounters. By Fidelia Ametewee, Senior Research Assistant, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. The Audiovisual Laboratory of the Institute of African Studies, is responsible for assisting research fellows of the Institute with field recording, as well as the production and post production of the Institute’s ethnographic resources. The end products of the work undertaken at the unit end up in the Institute’s Audiovisual Archive for preservation and access. This presentation will highlight the experiences of the videographer with ethnographic data collection, whilst addressing the issue of field observation, appropriate recording facility, obsolescence and technical skills. Additionally, I will share my experience with dealing with the different levels of professionals (Research Fellows, Archivists and Research) who enjoy the fruits of the labour from my outfit.
Paper 4: "Forgotten Stories, Invented Narratives: Documenting Oral Narratives.” By Edward Nanbigne, Research Fellow, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. This presentation seeks to delve into the difficulties of documenting oral narratives in situations outside of their performance sphere and from sources where memory has become dim and the existing narrative becomes an invented one meant to serve parochial ends. In such situations issues of authenticity arise that might destroy the very idea of archival preservation of history and tradition for posterity.

avatar for Lynn Johnson

Lynn Johnson

e.tv Pty Ltd., e.tv Pty Ltd.
Library systems manager for 10 years at e.tv, South Africa's first independent, free to air, terrestrial television station and home of eNCA, South Africa's first 24 hour broadcast news service. Work with digital asset managements systems that manages news and programme content and... Read More →

avatar for Fidelia Serwaa Ametewee

Fidelia Serwaa Ametewee

Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana
Fidelia Serwaa Ametewee, is a Senior Research Assistant - Editing in the Media and Visual Arts Section of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, with (8)years ‘experience as a professional video editor for several TV series, Documentaries, TV Commercials etc... Read More →

Moses Nii Dortey

Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana

Edward Nanbigne

Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana
avatar for Judith Opoku-Boateng

Judith Opoku-Boateng

Archivist, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana

Tuesday October 2, 2018 09:30 - 10:30 GMT
Room 1: Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu Seminar Room Department of Economics, University of Ghana, Legon

Attendees (4)