Recorded sound and images have captured our world, our lives and our imagination. They bring knowledge, enjoyment and inspiration to us and enhance many professions, from education, design, software development and human rights advocacy, to those more directly related to audiovisual media, such as film and documentary production.

Thanks to rapid advancements in social media and information technologies, it has become much easier to share and use sound and image content. Yet contrary to common perception, not all content is readily usable. Beyond large broadcasting archives and dedicated audio-visual repositories, there is extremely valuable content of sound and image, both still and moving, spread among diverse cultural and research organizations and individual collections. Unfortunately, many of these lack the necessary information, skill sets and resources to protect this heritage from physical deterioration, technological obsolescence and various disasters. Global statistics are difficult to find, but it has been estimated that in Europe alone, some 57-63% of sound and image content is held in outdated formats that are in need of digitization to ensure accessibility.

Knowledge on sound and image preservation and access is fragmented, trapped in separate areas of expertise, thereby adding another challenge to content collectors and users:

Collaboration, and exchange of information and know-how between institutions and specialists is key to unlocking this heritage


The conference is based on the collective experience of ICCROM’s multi-partner programme on Sound and Image Collections Conservation (SOIMA), which organized five capacity building initiatives (four international and one regional) in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America during 2007-2014. Building on SOIMA’s global insights from bringing together 89 sound and image professionals from 55 countries to date, the 2015 conference is making a strong case for looking beyond professional and institutional boundaries, actively listening to each other and sharing strategies to ensure a safe and creative tomorrow for sound and image heritage. The conference aims to promote the sound and image heritage held by diverse and lesser-known cultural and research institutions, as well as individual collectors.


  • Raise awareness of the immense spread and significance of the world’s sound and image heritage, serving the ultimate goal of improved future preservation, access and use.
  • Provide professionals from different disciplines with an occasion to reach a shared understanding, build collaboration and develop solutions for common problems.
  • Showcase innovative examples, and help identify new applicable strategies, based on how sound and image collections have been preserved, made accessible and used creatively in real-life practice.
  • Share how pioneering training and education initiatives have produced results, and discuss future needs and concrete possibilities.
  • At the end of the conference, make recommendations for cross-disciplinary collaboration, and exchange on information and know-how.


  • Sound and image collectors: cultural and research organizations, individual collectors, curators, archivists, librarians and other managers of cultural heritage.
  • Preservation and access specialists: professionals specializing in the preservation of analogue and digital media, software and app developers, as well as policy makers and professionals who deal with intellectual property rights.
  • Cultural and creative industries: creators and users of sound and image content by different industries.
  • Researchers and business developers: culture policy makers and researchers, consultancy firms.
  • Educators and trainers: education policy makers and professionals providing both formal and non-formal training for sound and image preservation and access.


  • Experience some of the hidden sound and image treasures unlocked from unique collections across the world.
  • Share experiences with dedicated people working on saving collections under difficult conditions.
  • Explore novel solutions with some diverse and innovative thinkers from past SOIMA events.
  • Meet people from different sectors that share interest in sound and image heritage.
  • See innovative, real-life examples of how sound and image heritage has been preserved, made accessible and used creatively.
  • Imagine future opportunities for sound and image collections.
  • Take part in a truly international conference, allowing you unexpected perspectives and networking possibilities.
  • Receive the key conference outcome that will be summarized in an e-publication, covering conference proceedings and other programmes, including highlights and information on special sound and image content that were shared during the event.
  • Last, but not the least, the conference format gives plenty of opportunities for interaction with contributors and participants.