Rwanda's Iriba Center organises a week of activities

Towards the Sources of History: IRIBA Center Organises Seminar on Audiovisual Archives in Rwanda

In celebration of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2012, the IRIBA Center for Multimedia Heritage, Rwanda, is organising a week-long series of workshops and events to raise awareness about audiovisual archives in Rwanda and highlight their importance in understanding the past and building a conflict-free future. From films and photographs to radio and sound texts, archival documents play a vital role in the reconstruction of the state and the reappropriation of history and cultural identity. With this seminar, the IRIBA Center aims to create a space of exchange and discovery around archives and to sensitise the Rwandan public on the various audiovisual materials that exist inside and outside the country.

From October 23-34, the IRIBA Center will hold a workshop entitled “Memory and Architecture” at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). In a country in the process of reconstruction, the urban landscape is changing quickly. What memories can we keep of places and buildings of yesterday and today? Is there an architectural memory in Rwanda?

In partnership with the Goethe Institute, a BrainSTORM debate, “The Future of the Past: The Survival of Rwanda’s Historic Documents”, will take place on October 25. Representatives from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Rwanda Bureau for Information and Broadcasting (ORINFOR), the Ministry of Sports and Culture (MINISPOC), the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), and KIST will discuss the irreplaceability of historical documents and the challenges facing their conservation and usage. How can the ICTR Archives and other archival materials about Rwanda be safeguarded, valued, and placed at the disposal of both Rwandan and international historians? How can archives within the country be located and protected? How can archives outside the country be repatriated?  

From October 26-7, IRIBA will host a workshop entitled “Towards the Sources of History”. Participants, including international and local experts and Rwandan students and film-makers, will work on mapping the potential archives in Rwanda and strategize ways to locate at-risk materials. Documentary films on archives will be screened and discussed. Debates and musical performances will also be incorporated into the programme.
All activities will take place under the patronage of the President of the Rwandan Senate, the Honourable Jean Damascène NTAWUKURIRYAYO. The Rwanda National Commission for UNESCO will be among the guests of honour.  
The IRIBA Center for Multimedia Heritage, whose names means “the source” in Kinyarwanda, gathers together films, photographs, and audio recordings dating from the start of colonial rule in East Africa, more than a century ago, to the present day. Since 1994, all Rwandans share genocide as their central legacy. As they search for a path to long-lasting recovery and peace, discovering—or re-discovering—their common history and cultural identity is essential to moving forward and to consolidating peaceful coexistence. IRIBA’s goal is to give free and open access to that history in picture and sound.

Audiovisual materials are an important part of any country’s historical and cultural legacy. But in Rwanda, where many do not read or write, less than a generation after the most efficient genocide of the twentieth century, these resources will play a critical role for future generations to learn about their past as they build towards a common future.