Over four decades
of collaboration


The history of FIAT/IFTA began in 1976 when the leaders of a small group of television archives established the need for collaboration and pooling expertise in their specific domain.

In 1977 eighteen representatives of television archives came together in Paris to establish FIAT/IFTA officially as a foundation under French law. Among them are major European broadcasters such as BBC, RAI, ARD and RTVE, and smaller ones, such as ORF and RTP, the French national audiovisual archive INA and non-European broadcasters such as CBS. The objective is to promote cooperation in the conservation techniques and tools, documentation and documentation systems, and more to promote the appreciation and dissemination of the collections.

Within a few years, the annual meeting grows into a conference, including a statutory General Assembly every other year. This assembly elects the Executive Council, which meets twice annually. A strong sense of solidarity grows among the core group of members, allowing exchanging and sharing of experiences and solutions for classic archival challenges such as storage rights or cataloguing. Gradually working groups on these subfields develop; it is the birth of the committees as we know them today.

The membership of FIAT/IFTA keeps on growing, and the annual conference travels along cities around the world, organised under the leadership of the local FIAT/IFTA member. In the nineties, even two joint conferences are organised, one with IASA in Berlin and one with AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists) in Washington. More regional seminars, such as in South America or the Middle East, are also organised. In 2000, driven by UNESCO, FIAT/IFTA was among the founding members of CCAAA, the ‘Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations’.

Over the years, FIAT/IFTA has started a broad range of initiatives, specially developed to remain relevant in audiovisual archiving: standards and norms, research and surveys, training, support programs such as ‘Save your Archive’, lobbying and more informal support. But most of all, FIAT/IFTA remains a membership organisation where professionals from over 250 member organisations meet, learn, and exchange information to keep preserving and unlocking audiovisual content in the 21st century.