The past year has shown that we need to be agile and able to adapt to change rapidly. We must continue to ensure our remit in acquisition, preservation, access and use is to the fore so that the archives can deliver on the promise of the social, cultural and economic leverage they comprise. In other words, we must ensure that the digital dividend, the return to society of our efforts, becomes as large, visible, and viable as possible.

Advancing the digital dividend

Less than two weeks have passed since the 2021 FIAT/IFTA World Conference. We counted almost 400 participants and almost 100 speakers spread over 67 sessions. I am also very happy that it has become a truly global conference, bringing together representatives from more than 50 countries, from all continents. The conference had to take place online once again, yet we kept our focus on Africa, which has been an important objective from the start. By resolutely confirming Cape Town as the host city for our World Conference for next year, we reiterate our commitment to the African continent and the African media archives community.

I would like to mention two successful World Conference sessions in particular. Firstly, there were the Archive Achievement Awards, which again this year demonstrated the dynamism, innovative strength and creativity of the field of media archiving. Congratulations once again not only to the winners, but to all shortlisted candidates. In addition, I would also like to point out the two wonderful Save Your Archive projects that we were able to support together with our partners Prasad and Memnon and that introduced themselves to a wider audience for the first time at the conference. Finally, I once again express feelings of profound gratitude to everyone who contributed to the organisation of the 45th edition of the World Conference.

Brecht Declercq
FIAT/IFTA President