Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid
New Approaches to the History of Radio Archives

On the Record?

What voices from the past are preserved in Europe’s radio archives, and whose stories are excluded? A panel of academics and archival practitioners will discuss new scholarly work on the critical study of radio archives, examining how such work can inform our understandings of Europe’s past and present.

This event will not be broadcasted.

From efforts to protect historical records in Ukraine from military attack through to recent seizures of White House records by the US National Archives and Records Association, the politics of archives remains a timely and urgent matter. So far, however, in the growing critical attention to the study of archives, there has been little attention paid to the records of broadcasting institutions.

As the dominant means of mass communication for decades, what can the study of radio archives tell us about the institutions and societies which created them? How were radio archives and their collections formed and how did major events such as the Second World War affect them? How has our understanding of recent European history been shaped by what has been kept (or omitted) from the radio archive?

This afternoon, we will celebrate the release of Historical Traces of European Radio Archives, 1930-1960 (TMG Journal for Media History). This special issue showcases perspectives from scholars and archival practitioners, and seeks to facilitate an interdisciplinary conversation at the intersection of media history, radio studies, and critical archival studies.

About the speakers

Carolyn Birdsall is Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, where she is affiliated with the Television and Cross-Media team. Her publications include the monograph Nazi Soundscapes (2012) and “Listening to the Archives” (2019, ed. with Viktoria Tkaczyk). She currently leads the project TRACE (Tracking Radio Archival Collections in Europe, 1930–1960) funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

Erica Harrison is a post-doctoral researcher on the TRACE project at the University of Amsterdam, focusing on radio archive history in Czechoslovakia and East Germany, 1930–1960. Her doctoral thesis examined the broadcasting conducted by the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile in London during the Second World War (University of Bristol / Czech Radio) and her research interests include Central/Eastern Europe in the twentieth century, the history of radio and its use in propaganda, and the development and use of sound archives.

Vincent Kuitenbrouwer works as a senior lecturer in the History of International Relations at the University of Amsterdam and in addition he coordinates a project on Dutch media during the Second World War for the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision in Hilversum (Mediaoorlog). His research mainly focuses on the history of international radio broadcasting. Recent publications include co-edited special issues of Media History and TMG: Journal for Media History.

Pekka Salosaari has been working for the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle Archives for more than twenty years and is currently Audio Collections Manager. Salosaari studied ethnomusicology, information science and mass communication at the University of Tampere. His thesis ‘MUSIR: A Retrieval Model for Music’ presented n-gram representations for music retrieval and was accepted by the Department of Information Studies. At international conferences he has delivered talks on audio digitisation, obsolete audio formats, archiving and Finnish radio history.

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