October 15, 2015
This year, NISE and UNPO aim to compile a "State of the Archives" of unrepresented nations and peoples worldwide, especially UNPO Members (and affiliates), as part of a larger action plan aimed at safeguarding endangered archives of national and regional movements. We would therefore like to encourage UNPO Members to fill out the online questionnaire during the month of May. You can find the questionnaire here.
Archival awareness is a beginning of any archival activity when a person, organisation or a community as a whole feels the fundamental need to keep and safeguard its archives. In March 2014, UNPO in cooperation with NISE (National movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe) organised a successful workshop for UNPO Members (and other interested parties) on archival awareness at the ADVN Archives and Research Centre in the city of Antwerp, Belgium. The workshop explored how archives can be used to share knowledge and best practices on issues pertinent to the preservation of social, cultural, political and economic rights. It was led by a team of experts in the field of archival management, including specialists on minority rights and indigenous archives, and allowed participants to gain basic knowledge and skills necessary for archival management. It focused on the archival needs of the participants with regard to the material survival of archives and digital security. This first successful UNPO - NISE initiative signalled a clear interest and need to initiate further action in this area.
The newly launched State of the Archives questionnaire consists of four parts: [A] general information on your nation/people, [B] questions on the archives of your nation/people, [C] questions on the archives of your organisation, [D] questions on oral history traditions and [E] contact details. The questions concern the importance and preservation of the forms of historical heritage and oral history tradition. It is important to understand that we make a distinction between the archives of your nation/people as a whole (part B) and the archives of your organisation representing your nation/people (part C).
We believe that this survey is essential for future actions to safeguard the archives and heritage of unrepresented nations and peoples in the world. The results of this questionnaire will be evaluated and presented at the UNPO General Assembly in Brussels, 3 July 2015, and followed by a guided tour of the Flemish Parliament’ archives. Based on the responses received NISE will select one or several UNPO Members, with whom to increase cooperation and initiate tailor-made strategies for the safeguarding of their archives.
Please note that the deadline for the questionnaire is 15 October 2015. For questions or more information regarding this questionnaire, you may contact:
- Johanna Green (UNPO): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tom Cobbaert (NISE): email@example.com
NISE is an initiative of the ADVN, a government-funded archives, documentation and research centre in Antwerp, with more than twenty-five years of experience in research, archival collection and data management regarding the Flemish movement and nationalism. NISE as an interdisciplinary platform aims to enable comparative and transnational research on national movements and personal and institutional relations between them in order to study political and cultural transfers. NISE collects, verifies and structures archival, bibliographical, institutional and contextual data about the intermediary structures (political parties, organisations, societies and the people involved) of national movements in Europe. The data are obtained from different projects, unilateral inputs and other databases. NISE provides an opportunity to draw action plans for a structured and controlled collection, conservation, and disclosure of and access to the relevant historical and current archival sources. Finally, it provides an electronic forum for exchange of information and expertise.