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Doctoral Project


Formal, university-accredited training in audiovisual archiving is relatively new: emerging only in the mid-1990s, it is at last complementing on-the-job training and helping to provide audiovisual archivists with a distinctive professional identity. Supported by a growing literature, and with a distinctive ethical and philosophical base, these new courses are offering a comprehensive practical and theoretical grounding, and a frame of reference. Comparable post-graduate training has been available to their colleagues in libraries, museums and document archives for decades.

As the global need for professional education and training of AV archivists grows, Ray Edmondson is asked both to design courses for specific clients and to play a role in existing courses in various parts of the world. Commitments in recent years have included:

  • Annual visiting tutor at the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, George Eastman House, Rochester NY (USA) and the M.A. in Film Archiving program at University of East Anglia, Norwich (UK)
  • Visiting lecturer in postgraduate archivists’ courses at the University of Texas, Austin (USA)
  • Author and tutor of the foundationalsubject in the Graduate Certificate in Audiovisual Archiving course offered by Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Unique in its field, this course is taught by distance learning.
  • Tutor in the materials conservation course, Grabungstechnik an der FHTW, Berlin (Germany)
  • Visiting lecturer in the Masters’ program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation at New York University, NY (USA)
  • Visiting tutor in the Masters’ program Preservation and presentation of the moving image at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (Netherlands)

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Archive Associates accepts commissions to review, analyse and advise and (typically) deliver a report at the end of the exercise. The range of projects has included:

  • A general review of the Audiovisual Archive section of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Canberra, Australia. (2004)
  • The National Film and Sound Archive’s reconstruction of the classic film “The Sentimental Bloke” (1919), on which Ray worked and advised intermittently for several years (in his capacity as Curator Emeritus), was premiered in June 2004 at the Sydney Film Festival. Voted the best film at the festival, it has since been presented in special screenings around Australia.
  • A review of the curriculum of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Masters’ program at New York University was undertaken in stages over 2004/2005.
  • The Osterreichisches Filmmuseum, Vienna, Austria, commissioned a study on storage and work flow issues (2004). One of Austria’s two major film archives, its well known and distinctive “black box” cinema is located at the centre of Vienna in the Albertina building.
  • A review of the video archiving and arrangement of collections of the Media Centre at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji (2004)
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, Australia Advice on disposition of oral history archive (2006)
  • UNESCO status report on the Memory of the World program in the Asia-Pacific region (2005)
  • UNESCO Charter on the preservation of digital heritage – Ray Edmondson was involved in the final drafting of this instrument, and co-chaired the initial workshop which began the global process of consultation (2003) here.

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Audiovisual Archiving: Philosophy and Principles (2004)
In 2002 Ray Edmondson was commissioned to prepare a new and much enlarged revised edition of his 1998 monograph A Philosophy of Audiovisual Archiving. Written with the collaboration of an international reference panel of experts as well as the oversight of the CCAAA, the new edition was published by UNESCO on 1 May 2004. The amended title is more accurately descriptive of the expanded work. The publication date marks the 25th anniversary of UNESCO’s then ground-breaking Recommendation on the safeguarding and preservation of moving images, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO and enshrining the fundamentals of moving image archiving.

The hard copy version of Audiovisual Archiving: Philosophy and Principles is available in three languages – English, French and Spanish. It can be requested from UNESCO headquarters in Paris by email to Mrs Joie Springer ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) – please state language preference! It is also downloadable as a pdf file from here.

UNESCO Memory of the World Program: General Guidelines to safeguard documentary heritage (2002)
This program is to the world of archives and libraries what the UNESCO World Heritage Convention is to the built and national heritage. Its long term aim is to improve the worldwide protection and accessibility of the documentary heritage of mankind. Its “shop window” is the series of national, regional and international registers listing the great documents of history.

With the collaboration of an international working group, Ray Edmondson prepared the current document – the central “rule book” of the program. The document can be accessed here.

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  • A Memory of the World workshop and various support activities were conducted by Ray at the National Historical Institute, Jesuit University, Managua, Nicaragua (2003)
    Ray Edmondson conducted a one-week staff workshop on a range of topics conducted at the Hong Kong Film Archive (2003). Participants included staff from other government agencies and the Hong Kong library service.
  • Ray served as a resource person at the UNESCO Memory of the World regional workshop on digital archiving held in at the SEAMEO Centre in Manila, Philippines, in January 2004. Subsequently, through the Probe Foundation, he participated in a further workshop on digital archiving in Manila in December 2004. Participants came from countries across the Asia Pacific region.
  • “Ya Pele” – “the first of its kind” – was a one-week FIAT/IASA archiving workshop held at the South African Broadcasting Corporation in Johannesburg, attracting approximately 160 participants from across southern and eastern Africa. Ray gave several presentations at this event. (2005)
  • Ray Edmondson gave a one-week seminar and workshop on archiving issues at the National Library of Venezuela, Caracas, to an audience of some 150 participants from many organisations. The program included a range of institutional visits. (2002)
  • In conjunction with the Primer Seminario Internacional/ Los Archivos Sonoros y Visuales en America Latina conference in Mexico City, Ray co-presented a three day workshop on the socio-cultural value of audiovisual archives. Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive was examined as a case study (2002)
  • Ray served as a resource person at a meeting of the heads of national archives in Southern and Eastern Africa, held in Harare, Zimbabwe, to review the situation of audiovisual archiving in the region. The event was organized by the Nederlands Filmmuseum. (2002)
  • For an intensive bi-lingual week, Ray Edmondson conducted a seminar on the philosophy of audiovisual archiving at the Cinemateca Brasiliera, São Paolo, Brazil. It was attended by senior staff of the Cinemateca and participants from other cultural institutions. (2005)

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On a cyclical basis, Ray Edmondson attends the conferences of most CCAAA members ( at least once every three of four years, as well as the international gathering connected to the Memory of the World program and other conferences and events. As he currently holds offices in SEAPAVAA and AMIA these conferences are regular annual commitments.

He is a regular speaker at conferences and a list of papers and presentations can be found at . A small selection of papers can be accessed at .


Ray is currently enrolled as a part-time doctoral student at Charles Sturt University, researching towards a PhD. The provisional title of his thesis is The ScreenSound Syndrome: repositioning a cultural icon and takes as its basis a case study: the context and consequences of the re-branding of Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive as ScreenSound Australia in 1999, and the larger issues which arise from that experience. Literature research and collation of source documents are currently in progress, and field research will follow.

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