Those of you who participated in the IASA conference in Athens in September 2009 might remember a presentation by Mathias Boström about the situation for Swedish folk music archives. He representented Svenskt visarkiv/The Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research, a national institution specialized in ethnomusicological collecting and research for 60 years, with substantial original audiovisual collections from phonograph cylinders to today’s formats. Svenskt visarkiv has participated in several international audiovisual archiving projects (e.g. DISMARC and starting up/helping develop similar archives in Vietnam, South Africa and Zambia) and has produced numerous LPs/cds and scholarly as well as popular publications.
In a recent governmental Committee Report (Government Official Reports Series SOU 2010:12) on changes in the national music institutions in Sweden, it is suggested that the specialized work at Svenskt visarkiv should stop and the institution dissolve into a general documentation unit for music, theatre and dance within the National Collections of Music (the governmental agency to which Svenskt visarkiv is administratively connected).
For those of us who know Svenskt visarkiv, this is not a desired line of development. There is still a need today for institutions with specialized staff with knowledge of their unique collections and the conditions under which they were created, and with ambitions of increasing and disseminating the collections and knowledge for academic audiences as well as the general public.
There have already been protests against the proposal in the governmental Committee Report, and one way to show your support – if you feel like it – is to join the almost 3 000 supporters of the petition “Rädda Svenskt visarkiv” (Save Svenskt visarkiv). You will find it at http://upprop.nu/IVAT. It’s in Swedish but should be quite easy to understand. Write your name (and title) /”namn (och titel)”/ in the first box, where you live in the second /”ort”/, your e-mail address/”e-postadress”/ in the third and, if you like, your homepage/”hemsida”/ in the fourth. Don’t forget to fill in the reCaptcha words and then press “Skriv på uppropet”/sign the petition/.
You can also join the Facebook group “Rädda Svenskt visarkiv” (5000+ members). It is also possible – and very much appreciatied! – if you have positive experiences of Svenskt visarkiv and would like to write supportive comments about the archive to the Swedish Ministry of Culture. For more information about this option, please contact the Friends of the archive association ([log in to unmask]). For more information in general about the archive and the current situtation, please contact the director of Svenskt visarkiv, prof. Dan Lundberg, [log in to unmask]
Thank you in advance!