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Audiovisual Research Alliance

The Audiovisual Research Alliance for Archivists & Cultural Heritage Professionals (AVRA), set up and supported by the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision, is an initiative that seeks to openly engage with and produce research in collaboration with the wider audiovisual archiving and heritage community.


Open Call for Researcher
Moving Beyond Search in Accessing Sound & Moving Image Archival Collections

***Download the Research Open Call***

Audiovisual Research Alliance x FIAT/IFTA Value, Use and Copyright Commission
On the occasion of World Day for AV Heritage 2022, the Audiovisual Research Alliance in collaboration with the FIAT/IFTA Value, Use and Copyright Commission is pleased to announce an open call for a new research commission. This temporary research position focuses on the ways in which cultural heritage institutions with audiovisual and audio collections are moving from common search interfaces to using and offering exploration as an expanded approach in their collection interfaces for surfacing content. This research also seeks to engage with how these expanded approaches interact with storytelling and information visualisation. 

The position commences on January 16, 2023 with a final text due May 22, 2023. As part of the research process, the selected researcher will develop and run a working session (online) with FIAT/IFTA’s VUC in early February 2023 in order to test initial thoughts and receive input/feedback from the FIAT/IFTA community. Additionally, the selected candidate will present the research (online or in person) at the FIAT/IFTA 2023 international conference in Locarno, Switzerland in autumn 2023.

This research position includes a total fee of 5.000 EUR (excl. VAT). 

Researchers can be located anywhere, as the position is offered remotely, but will require flexibility in online meeting timing as the AVRA is located in the Netherlands and the peer support team will likely exist across different time zones. 

To apply, please submit your CV, cover letter, and some research writing samples to AVRA coordinator Rachel Somers Miles at: by December 2, 2022 @ 17.00 CET.  

For full details about the research and position, please download the Research Open Call.

About the AVRA 

The Audiovisual Research Alliance commissions and publishes research in the field of sound and moving image archiving and heritage, evolving from the former AV Think Tank and taking the idea of a research-generating working group in a new direction. The research of the AVRA thinks forward to consider how the decisions, tools, strategies, and approaches enacted today are currently and can possibly impact the field of AV archiving and heritage. The Alliance does this by actively engaging with and openly inviting practitioners to: 

  1. Share key questions and topics they would like to see explored through formal research; 
  2. Join a network of interviewees to offer different perspectives and experiences on topics being researched; 
  3. Volunteer as part of diverse peer review teams to support the development and feedback of research; 
  4. Propose possible researchers within and outside of the audiovisual archiving field to be commissioned for specific reports.

The Audiovisual Research Alliance endeavours to support an AV archiving sector that enables more long-term use of, learning with, and education through AV materials. The AVRA does so by producing research (aiming for 1 to 2 research papers per year) that draw from the interests of AV archives and heritage practitioners and are guided by an editorial direction. This direction, in addition to being informed by exploring current and future impacts on the field, focuses on asking research questions of an analytical nature, looking across institutions, projects, people, and places; bridging technical questions with more political, social and philosophical inquiries; and showing and bringing together different approaches and strategies to offer broader overviews. Topics could include looking at the ethical implications of AI and machine learning in archives; about strategies for maximising financial, human, equipment or knowledge-based resources available to archives; exploring inspiring examples and strategies for access; or trying to understand the role of archives in taking in and caring for private born-digital collections, just to name a few.

The AVRA also seeks to collaborate with the working groups and committees of AV archiving associations to gather insight and engage in research on interests important to their members and the wider field, such as the collaboration with the AMIA Preservation Committee on the AVRA’s first published report or the current collaboration with FIAT/IFTA’s Value, Use and Copyright Commission. Additionally, the AVRA impresses the importance of an international scope, aiming to amplify the experiences of archives and practitioners operating outside of oft focused on North America, UK and Europe. 

Should you have any questions, comments or would like to be involved, please email Rachel Somers Miles at

voorkant van rapport 'Snapshot of a Field in Motion'

AVRA #1: Snapshot of a Field in Motion

On the occasion of World Day for AV Heritage 2020, the AVRA in collaboration with the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) Preservation Committee released the results of its first research commission: Snapshot of a Field in Motion. Audiovisual Preservation Report 2020: Four Topics Impacting the Field written by independent researcher Claire Fox.

Download report

Much like the name of the report suggests, Snapshot looks into the sound and moving image archival and heritage landscape, exploring a number of shifting and emerging topics impacting the field in 2020. These topics are: 

1. Providing and Preserving Captions for Digitized and Born-Digital Audiovisual Content

2. Testing and Implementing RAWcooked on DPX Film Scans 

3. Identifying and Managing Born-Digital Video Collections

4. Knowledge-Sharing as a Preservation Tool.

From the report: 

“What will the field of audiovisual preservation remember when it looks at the impact 2020 has had on this field and its future? It could be the year that archives decided that caption extraction or creation became a standard part of preservation workflows, joining with the sentiment that the COVID-19 pandemic could make the work more accessible. It could be the year that archivists adopted an open-source tool that compressed unwieldy file assets from expensive digitization projects into an open standard. It could be the year when born-digital processing is recognized as an urgent international concern, with smartphone documentation of protests accumulating in the form of evidence as well as irreplaceable cultural heritage documents. It could be the year that knowledge-sharing platforms evolved in a way that brought new preservationists to the field, and provided the infrastructure for current preservationists to continue expanding their skill sets. With the breadth of these possibilities in mind, this report aims to provide a focused perspective on four topics that might offer current and future archivists a frame of reference for what was impacting the field in 2020.”

In addition to individual research, Snapshot draws upon conversations with, and collective feedback from, moving image and media archivists and preservationists from around the globe.

The Creative Commons licensed report is freely downloadable.

To join the conversation about this research, you’re welcome to follow and comment on the report on Medium

Connect with Us

Please feel welcome to contact us should you have any questions or comments about the Audiovisual Research Alliance or want to connect about the commissioned research or becoming involved: