by Jody Butterworth
The Endangered Archives Programme at the British Library is now accepting grant applications for the next round of funding. Detailed information on the timetable, criteria, eligibility and application procedures is available on the Programme’s website. The deadline for receipt of preliminary grant applications is 4 November 2016.
Since it was established twelve years ago, the Programme has so far funded over 300 projects in 80 countries worldwide, with grants totalling over £7 million. The Programme is funded by Arcadia, in pursuit of one of its charitable aims to preserve endangered cultural heritage. The aim of the Programme is to contribute to the preservation of archival material worldwide that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration. The endangered archival material will normally be located in countries where resources and opportunities to preserve such material are lacking or limited.
The Programme’s objectives are achieved principally by awarding grants to applicants to locate relevant endangered archival collections, where possible to arrange their transfer to a suitable local archival home, and to deposit digital copies with local institutions and the British Library. The digital collections received by the British Library are made available on the Programme’s website for all to access, with currently over 5 million images and more than 25,000 sound recordings available online. Pilot projects are particularly welcomed, to investigate the survival of archival collections on a particular subject, in a discrete region, or in a specific format, and the feasibility of their recovery.
To be considered for funding under the Programme, the archival material should relate to a ‘pre-modern’ period of a society’s history. There is no prescriptive definition of this, but it may typically mean, for instance, any period before industrialisation. The relevant time period will therefore vary according to the society.
For the purposes of the Programme, the term ‘archival material’ is interpreted widely to include rare printed books, newspapers and periodicals, audio and audio-visual materials, photographs and manuscripts.
The Programme is keen to enhance local capabilities to manage and preserve archival collections in the future and it is essential that all projects include local archival partners in the country where the project is based. Professional training for local staff is one of the criteria for grant application assessment, whether it is in the area of archival collection management or technical training in digitisation. At the end of the project, equipment funded through the Programme remains with the local archival partner for future use.
The Programme is administered by the British Library and applications are considered in an annual competition by an international panel of historians and archivists.
This year as well as having a downloadable application on the EAP website, we are also offering an online application form at https://endangeredarchives.wufoo.com/forms/z1nxqhoy0ksrf2j/
For further details of application procedures and documentation as well as EAP projects and collections, please visit the Programme’s website: http://eap.bl.uk/