Flemish government launches VIAA

21 Dec 2012

On Friday 21 December 2012, the Flemish Government accepted a proposal from the Flemish ministers Ingrid Lieten (Media and Innovation) and Joke Schauvliege (Culture) to provide funding to start a Flemish Institute for the Archiving of and Access to Audiovisual Heritage (VIAA). The funding amounts to 11.8 million euro, of which 7.8 million will go to the operational functioning of the project and 4 million to the required infrastructure.

The founding of a Flemish Institute for the Archiving of and Access to Audiovisual Heritage (VIAA) is a commitment of the Coalition Agreement 2009-2014. Flanders aims, through targeted digitisation and the creation of digital platforms and services, to archive and provide access to its heritage, knowledge and history in an sustainable way and to provide current and future generations with access to these. At the same time all this material will be made available for the most diverse applications and for our knowledge economy. Many social sectors and authorities, media sources, scientific researchers, cultural heritage organisations and others are confronted with the need to access and store digital information in a sustainable way.

This is such a pressing issue that initially the most threatened analogue heritage material must be given priority. Flanders' founding of VIAA is a necessary and concrete step in the direction of a Digital (Archive of) Flanders.

Due to the urgency and the scope of the task, a special collaborative partnership has been established between vzw Waalse Krook and iMinds, the former Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology (IBBT). iMinds will receive a one-time subsidy of 7.8 million euro for the start-up phase of 2013-2014. This amount is to cover operations (employees, development of a service offering, access to the material) and the digitisation projects. The ministers for Media and Culture will take on the infrastructure costs: 2 million each.

Vzw Waalse Krook will also guide the project and oversee its strategic choices. By 15 March 2014, all the necessary steps for the possible privatisation of the Archiving Institute (VIAA) have to have been assessed.

Ingrid Lieten, Flemish Minister of Media and Innovation: 

In Flanders we have such a wealth of audiovisual material. It is high time that we archive it in a systematic and sustainable way so that we can hold on to it, for this and future generations. It is important that we strive to make the archive as publically accessible as possible to the media sector, education, libraries, etc. Audiovisual material only ever comes to life if you can use it, experience it, distribute it.”

Joke Schauvliege, Flemish Minister of Culture:

VIAA is a future-focused step towards the modern and sustainable use of our heritage. Expressions of our culture, archive material, moving images and audio recordings will all be archived thanks to a standardised digitisation process, as well as being made more accessible to a broad public, both young and old. This will give our heritage a new lease of life, both today and in the future.”

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