Major National Lottery funding boost enables The National Library of Wales to partner with the British Library and a new national network on a ground-breaking audio preservation project
The British Library is today launching Unlocking Our Sound Heritage, a major £18.8 million preservation and access project, which has received a £9.5 million National Lottery grant. The funding will enable the formation of the first ever national network of ten sound preservation centres, including The National Library of Wales. This network will now come together with the British Library to save almost half a million rare and unique recordings that are threatened by physical degradation or stored on formats that can no longer be played.
These recordings tell a rich story of the UK’s diverse history through traditional, pop and world music, drama and literature readings, oral history, regional radio, and wildlife sounds from around the country. The Welsh material will include interviews with Welsh migrants to North America and Patagonia, dialect recordings, interviews with various industry workers, their families and the community, archives of Welsh traditional music and political speeches by national politicians.
National Lottery funding will enable The National Library of Wales to work with the British Library to preserve Wales’ own unique and rare national sounds and develop a range of engagement activities to connect the wider public with their sound heritage.
A vital element of Unlocking Our Sound Heritage will be an interactive website hosted by the British Library, allowing listeners to explore a wide selection of recordings. This website is scheduled to go live in 2019.
Linda Tomos, Chief Executive and Librarian of The National Library of Wales said:
“This is great news for sound collections in Wales. The National Library is delighted to be part of this important project and is grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support in making this project possible. This project will significantly contribute towards developing skills, providing training and preserving our sound heritage.”
Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library said:
“We are extremely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and all our supporters for recognising the urgent need to save these rare, unique recordings from around the UK. The British Library is the home of the nation’s sound archive, and we are delighted that this funding will help us preserve our audio heritage for people to explore and enjoy.”
Ilse Assmann, president of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA) said:
“IASA recognises that a significant part of the world’s cultural heritage is captured in the form of sound recordings. These are threatened by decay and media obsolescence and unless something is done urgently, many recordings will be lost and unavailable for access by future generations. The Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project is a fine example being set to secure and make accessible the sound heritage held in UK archives.”
For more information: www.llgc.org.uk