What is archive and collection preservation?
Preserving your own archive and collection is challenging for many, not least because it is a mandatory component of the Belgian Arts Decree. But even those organisations that receive no subsidies – either professional or amateur – have questions such as: how do you preserve everything and what should be preserved? Where do you begin? And most of all: why should I preserve my archive and collection(s)?
TRACKS is designed like a suitcase that contains the tools artists and arts organisations need for the preservation of their own archive and/or collection(s).
What are your archives and collections?
Your archive and collection is made up of all the work that you as an artist or arts organisation have created. The exact content can vary enormously: from documents and works of an administrative or artistic nature, to all kind of objects and collections, both physical and digital.
Who belongs to the arts sector?
TRACKS is there to serve the whole arts sector: visual and media arts, performance arts, music, design, architecture and literature. The term arts sector includes amateur and professional artists and organisations, regardless of their size or organisational set-up.
Why should you preserve your archive and collection(s)?
No two archives or collections are the same in the arts sector. After all, they reflect the individuality and identity of the artist or organisation that has created them. They bring together their unique knowledge and experiences and form the physical expression of their history. As such, archives and collections are in turn also a source of information and inspiration for new creations, revivals or promotion.
How do I preserve my archive(s) and collection(s)?
Basic preservation techniques for archives and collections don't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Limited effort and minimal investment are all that is needed to meet a number of minimum requirements. When creating the guidelines and tools for TRACKS, the main goal was to make it feasible and affordable for everyone.
You can start preserving your archive and collections at various different times:
PROACTIVELY: Before you start on your creative endeavour, you can begin to think about the best preservation methods for the new project. The factors to consider can range from the setting up of an exhibition to the use of material.
ACTIVELY: During or immediately after a project or exhibition, or from the moment a creation is finished, you can store the related material. This helps prevent work and documents from piling up; you can instantly put them away in a logical place in your archive.
RETROACTIVELY: For long-standing organisations, archive and collection management will also involve retrospective preservation. An anniversary is, for example, an ideal moment to (re)use and valorise archives and collections.