BAAC in Vilnius - February 13-14, 2007

February 2007, Vilnius

The first travelling mini-seminar organized at Lithuanian Television

BAAC has started a tradition of travelling mini-seminars in order to widen its geographical activities. The main aim of the mini-seminars is to invite new people from the Baltic archives to join BAAC programmes; increase public interest and awareness of audiovisual archives as essential sources of significant cultural, educational, and historical information; educating and training archivists. The first seminar took place on February 14 in Vilnius, at Lithuanian TV. The day before, on February 13, BAAC had a Board meeting at Lithuanian Television.

The BAAC Board meeting was attended by: President, Piret Noorhani (Estonian Literary Museum), Vice-president Juozas Markauskas (Vilnius University), Secretary Aldis Pūtelis (University of Latvia), founding Board members Andris Ķesteris (Library and Archives Canada), Tedd Urnes (Norwegian Broadcasting), Lasse Nilsson and Lars-Gunnar Bengtsson (Swedish TV). The audit panel was represented by Eha Väinsalu (Estonian TV). BAAC member Jan Asmund Jakobsen (Norges Lexi) arrived later during the meeting.

Conclusions about The Riga Seminar 2006 were discussed. The event in general was considered a great success. It was decided that to comply with the needs and expectations of all participants, the programme would be enhanced and expanded.

The membership of the three new institutional members was approved: Latvian Occupation Museum, Estonian Television and Kumu Art Museum (Estonia). One of the BAAC founders, Tedd Urnes, became a lifetime member. BAAC also accepted the first supporting member - FIAT/IFTA (International Federation of Television Archives). The FIAT/IFTA contact person will be Eva-Lis Green from Swedish TV. BAAC has an established working relationship with Eva-Lis who was one of the hosts at Swedish TV (March 2006), when BAAC had a board meeting in Stockholm.

Besides a variety of organizational matters, the IASA-BAAC Conference 2007 was on the table. The planning discussion was continued two days later at a special meeting of the organizing committee in Riga.

The planning of the next mini-seminar in Tallinn (June 2007) was a priority topic. BAAC, Estonian Literary Museum and Estonian TV will organize the Tallinn Seminar. It will additionally be supported by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research.

An intriguing proposal was made by Estonians to bring The Riga Seminar 2008 to Tartu. A new research project on new media has been started this year at the Estonian Literary Museum. ELM is going to have a conference on this subject in autumn 2008. Binding the research project with the potential of The Riga Seminar tradition might, in future, offer very good prospects for academic research and exchange.

Lithuanian TV and Radio Director General Kęstutis Petrauskis joined the Vilnius meeting. The address of welcome and an overview of the current situation of the television and radio archives were followed by lively discussions.

The BAAC Board had a busy agenda on February 13, followed the next day by the seminar, “Networking of the Baltic Audiovisual Archives for Preservation and Re-use”. This took place in the early morning of February 14 at Lithuanian TV. The main co-ordinator of the event in Vilnius was BAAC Vice-president Juozas Markauskas who was assisted by Jonas Korys from Lithuanian Radio. Other Lithuanian participants came from Lithuanian Radio and Television (Sigitas Baltutis, Vida Špokevičienė, Virginija Matulevičienė, Virginija Smolskienė, Birute Šnarienė), Lithuanian State Archive (Valerija Jusevičiūtė, Jolė Stimbrytė, Rolandas Skarbauskas, Daina Venskevičiūtė), Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy (Virgis Baublinskas) and others.

The seminar was moderated by Juozas Markauskas. Presenters were: Piret Noorhani (Baltic Audiovisual Archival Council: A road to a better future?), Lasse Nilsson (Why we should do this networking between AV-archives?). Andris Ķesteris (Business update – September conferences and Commission), and Tedd Urnes (Fact and fiction in movies: An evaluation of different movies where real shots of events are mixed with fiction and drama), Lasse Nilsson (Mass migration of video), Tedd Urnes (Content descriptions of the political issues of Lithuania. The Year 1990, Sigitas Baltutis (Digitizing the Lithuanian Radio archives).

The last presentation included a visit to the archives of Lithuanian Radio and TV. This tour confirmed that people, working with the archives, care a lot about the “crown jewel” of Lithuanian Radio and Television (the archives), as stated by the Director General. BAAC would like to work together with Lithuanian TV in developing a radiant and brilliant archive of the future. How to succeed? We need to find ways for effective and efficient partnership. We need to develop our existing contacts and set realistic goals. We are most fortunate to have partners like Juozas Markauskas and Jonas Korys. They are congratulated for successfully organizing the first BAAC travelling mini-seminar and we are very grateful to them. We also wish them and their Lithuanian colleagues a lot of good energy and great tenacity in their everyday work.

Working with archives is a constant and all-encompassing struggle. One needs endurance in order to be successful. Archives also need social and political stability. As an example, BAAC participants had a robust reminder of the Soviet occupation during a trip to the abandoned television and radio centre 30 km outside Vilnius. The Baltic States have gone a long way, but there is yet much work to be accomplished. We still need to find ways how to manage the Soviet legacy and past historical ordeals in the Baltics.

Piret Noorhani

Related articles:
Media archeology in Vilnius
Seminar programme