The UNESCO Memory of the World Committee for Asia-Pacific (MOWCAP) is pleased to share the results of the 2021 round of the Asia Culture Centre (ACC)-MOWCAP Grants Program.
In 2021, twenty-six (26) applications were assessed against the application criteria (outlined in the Grant Guidelines), with twelve (12) organizations from nine (9) countries in the Asia-Pacific region awarded grants. These grantees are from Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Tuvalu and Vietnam and will undertake projects to preserve and make their documentary heritage collections accessible.
The ACC-MOWCAP Small Grants Programme is made possible through the generous financial support of the Asia Culture Center (ACC). Over $50,000 USD was awarded under the 2021 grants cycle.
Quote from the President of the ACC: Mr Choi Wonil
“Congratulations to all the 2021 grantees. Your work to capture the memory of our region expressed through its diverse documentary heritage ensures that future generations can appreciate and understand our regions varied and diverse history for many years to come. The projects include a number of initiatives to digitise documentary heritage, which is extremely important given the COVID-19 pandemic and the need and make documentary heritage accessible online. The Asia Culture Center is proud to work with MOWCAP to support important documentary heritage initiatives and help bring the region’s documentary heritage projects to life.”
Quote from the Chair of MOWCAP: Mr Kwibae Kim
“The projects supported under the 2021 MOWCAP-ACC, grants, and the large number of applications received from across the region, demonstrates the broad range of amazing work being done in our region to preserve and share our documentary heritage. I sincerely thank our partner, the Asia Culture Centre, whose support has made these grants possible, and also the Asia Culture Institute, who have supported the administration of the grants through the MOWCAP Office. MOWCAP congratulates the successful organisations and encourages applications for the next funding round which will open in early 2022.”
Projects Supported in 2021
The Australian Academy of Science received a grant for the Fenner Collection Digitisation and Digital Access Project.
The manuscript collection of Professor Frank Fenner in the archives of the Australian Academy of Science covers the life and work of a distinguished Australian scientist and was added to the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register in 2019.
The collection records Professor Fenner’s enormous contribution to scientific research and communication over more than eight decades. It is also an unexpectedly rich personal archive documenting Professor Fenner’s experience of his work, his broad-ranging intellectual interests, the history and development of the Australian National University, and his contribution to the broader community.
The grant will be used to deliver digitisation of and digital access to select material from the Australian Academy of Science Archives. The resulting digital resource will increase the reach and relevance of globally significant records from a local to an international research audience.
The Australian Academy of Science based in Canberra, Australia is a not-for-profit organisation of individuals elected for their outstanding contributions to science and research. It provides independent, authoritative and influential scientific advice, promotes international scientific engagement, builds public awareness and understanding of science, and champions, celebrates and supports excellence in Australian science.
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum received a grant for the Research and Publication of Twenty Life Stories of S-21 Victims. S-21 was the main interrogation, torture and extermination site of the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975-1979.
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum chronicles the Cambodian genocide. Located in Phnom Penh, the site is a former secondary school that was used as Security Prison 21 by the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 until its fall in 1979. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum archives were inscribed on the Memory of the World MOWCAP regional register in 2008 and the international register in 2009.
The grant will be used to research the lives of twenty victims prior to them being imprisoned by the Khmer Rouge. The twenty victims will be chosen to represent the diversity of the victims and will include women, children, survivors, different ethnic groups and well known and unknown victims. Information for the project will be obtained from living relatives and from the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum archives.
The project includes printing 100 copies of each life story in English and Khmer to be used by the Museum for educational purposes. The life stories will also be integrated into the chapter about the S-21 prison on the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Centre Khmer Rouge History Learning Application, which has been accessible on smart devices since 2017. The project will also contribute to making and maintaining contact with victims families and promoting the recently launched Museum website.
The Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussudiardja (PSBK) in Yogyakarta received a grant for the Memory Access Activation Project
The project will enhance the preservation of, maintenance and access to the archive collection and visual artwork created by Bagong Kussudiardja (1928-2004) who was an important Indonesian artist, contemporary dance choreographer and painter.
The archive and artwork collections are currently in inadequate storage and cannot be accessed by researchers, students and the general public. The PSBK will work with specialists from the Indonesian Visual Arts Archive (IVAA) to develop and implement archival management systems including online access. Together they will develop and document processes for training in archival systems including preservation, documentation, classification and categorization, and storage design. This will be an important enabler for PSBK to ensure long-term good archival practices.
The website will provide access to online resources and memory activation campaigns as well as providing a virtual gallery to present curated exhibitions that will highlight digitised content from 1950-1975.
The project is important because immediate access to archival materials related to Indonesia’s performing arts and cultural expressions during the post-colonial/modern period does not exist. This project will be the first of its kind as arts archive repositories in Indonesia are rare and collections are generally restricted and do not offer access to the general public.
Padepokan Seni Bagong Kussudiardja was established by Bagong Kussudiardja in 1978 and is an art centre that contributes to the cultural enrichment of Indonesian society by shaping arts practice as an important learning resource for artists and communities. It presents works of emerging artists, facilitates artistic investigation and professional development, and devises programs that increase community engagement and networking with the arts.
The Museum Musik Indonesia received a grant for the Documentation of Recorded Albums of Indonesian Traditional Music from Sumatra to Papua.
The project will select and describe 100 collections of Indonesian traditional music from an estimated 15,000 collections of recorded music in the Indonesian Music Museum. The selection will cover the years 1956-2000 and will represent traditional music from the island of Sumatra to the island of Papua as well as a diversity of ethnicities and religions.
Descriptions and storytelling will be developed for each selected collection. The descriptions will include the album title, song titles, the year of release and the record label and the storytelling will contain the important values of each collection based on historical, cultural and educational aspects.
The target audience is students, teachers, musicians, journalists, researchers, artists, music scholars, culture and art Institutions and international Music Museums. Access to the work will be available through the Museum’s website in both Indonesian and English and printed books will be distributed to libraries and cultural institutions in Indonesia.
The Museum Musik Indonesia was established in 2009 and is based in Malang City, East Java. It is the first music museum in Indonesia. Its collection contains about 35,000 items, donated from local and international communities, including vinyl records, cassettes, CDs, musical instruments, stage costumes, magazines and books. Most of the collection relates to the work of Indonesian musicians.
The Oral Traditions Association received a grant for the Documentary Film Negarakertagama, Raising Awareness as Memory of the World UNESCO.
Nāgarakrĕtāgama or Description of the Country (1365 AD) was inscribed on the Memory of the World Asia Pacific register in 2008 and on the international UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2013. Nāgarakrĕtāgama is a Javanese text written on palm leaves that gives an account of government and society in the Majapahit kingdom that covered most of the geographical area covering present-day Indonesia. The memory of this kingdom inspired the founders of Indonesia in their struggle against colonial rule.
The document is held in the National Library of Indonesia and the Indonesian Audio Visual Agency will partner with the Oral Traditions Association to make the film. The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the documentary heritage by making a film of about 20 minutes duration. The film will cover the importance of the manuscript and will remind people of the Majapahit Kingdom which was the last of the major Hindu empires of the Malay archipelago.
It is also intended that the film will generate an interest and appreciation of Indonesia’s other documentary heritage among broad audiences including students, teachers, artists. After the advent of Islam in Java, old Javanese literature continued to thrive in Bali where a large number of manuscripts have been preserved. This film will also draw attention to the importance of funding the management of these documents.
The World Heritage Moving Image Centre has been awarded a grant for a National Celebration of ‘World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2021 (Virtual Event).
The National Heritage Act 2005 (Act 645) is the main government law relating to heritage in Malaysia. However, the law does not classify audiovisual as one of the mediums in the definition of heritage. This means that audiovisual material cannot be listed in the Malaysian National Heritage Register and has meant that 2019 was the first year that Malaysia celebrated ‘World Day for Audiovisual Heritage’. This was followed in 2020 by a seven-day online festival supported by a MOWCAP-Asia Culture Centre grant.
The 2021 grant will be used to support a day of audiovisual activities for policymakers, government officials, students, heritage archivists, the public and civil society. There will be face to face events in a studio which will be broadcast online and on various social media platforms. Government officials will be involved in various capacities including on webinar panels and officiating at some events.
The aim of the day will be to promote the importance of preserving audiovisual heritage to the general population and to decision-makers so that Malaysia’s audiovisual heritage makes progress towards being classified as national heritage.
The Monsound and Vision Foundation has been awarded a grant for Safeguarding the Humun Bichig Newspaper Through Digitisation project.
In 1941, under the influence of Russia, Mongolia adopted the Russian Cyrillic alphabet and stopped using the traditional Mongolian script. The people of Mongolia are now working towards wider adoption of the traditional writing system including legally establishing it as Mongolia’s script in the near future.
The aim of the project is to digitize 900 editions of the Humun Bichig newspaper which was started in 1993 and is the only newspaper printed in the traditional Mongolian script. The newspapers to be digitised cover the period from 1992 to 2013 and will be digitised from the printed copies as the original computer files were lost in a fire in 2013. The newspapers will be photographically digitized and digitally improved and will contribute to the wider project to establish a digital archive and library being undertaken by the newspaper office. The digitized newspapers will be available online.
The newspapers to be digitized contain information on the history of Mongolia including copies of works by prominent Mongolian poets, scholars, spiritual leaders and historians. They also include articles, historic records and lessons on Mongolian calligraphy and traditions.
The project will contribute to the preservation of Mongolian traditional script and to the survival of Mongolian Calligraphy which in 2013 was inscribed on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. Mongolian school children will also benefit from the project as it will assist them to learn, improve and perfect their skills using the traditional writing system.
The Monsound and Vision Foundation is a non-profit and a non-government institution that relies on income from local and international donations. The Foundation has been active since 2005 and contributes to the promotion and safeguarding of the documentary heritage of Mongolia by initiating public awareness campaigns, digitisation projects and media publicity. It has developed a number of projects to promote the traditional Mongolian script locally and internationally one of which is to assist the Humun Bichig newspaper with an online presence in order to reach out to more readers.
The Professional Association for the Support of Archival Studies has been awarded a grant for the development of a website to introduce “The Independence Referendum Document of The People’s Republic of Mongolia to the Public“. The project will be undertaken in partnership with the National Central Archives of Mongolia.
The “Referendum Document on the Independence of the People’s Republic of Mongolia” will be digitized and a website developed to promote and provide access to the relevant documents. When developed, this will be the first website in Mongolia to promote archival documents.
The website will provide access to Referendum documents including documents from the Conference of the People’s Republic of Mongolia, the action plan of the central and branch commissions for polling, reports of the Central Commission, the list of referendum voters, and digitised documentary films and newsreels.
The documents are some of the most important written in the Mongolian script. Researchers and other users will be able to access the digital documents which will protect the original documents from any further wear and tear. More people will become aware of these important documents through the promotion of the website and this is likely to result in increased use and knowledge of the documents.
The Professional Association for the Support of Archival Studies is a non-government organization dedicated to improving the preservation of archival documents, in partnership with the National Central Archives of Mongolia.
The International Institute for the Study of Nomadic Civilizations (IISNC) has been awarded a grant to produce a documentary film on “Mongolian Birchbark Books” on Ancient Nomadic Tradition of Mongolian Birchbark Culture.
The project will produce a 30-minute documentary film called “Mongolian Birchbark Books”. Ancient Mongolian birchbark culture has over 2000 years of history. The film will be based on the research of the birchbark books unearthed from the Tavgachiin Ulaan and Khar Bukh ruins in 1999 by the archeologist Prof. A. Ochir. These books consist of 150 intact and fragmented pages.
The film will include interviews with Prof. A. Ochir, information on traditional methods of birchbark processing and bookmaking, and interviews with traditional craftsmen. The content will be of value to researchers and scholars but will also be readily understood by the general public. It will be available on the IISNC website and broadcast on national TV channels and promoted within Mongolia and internationally.
The availability of the film will add to the available documentation on Mongolian birchbark culture and increase public awareness and access to information. As such it will contribute to the ongoing survival of knowledge on the making of birchbark books.
The International Institute for the Study of Nomadic Civilizations was established under the auspices of UNESCO under an agreement signed on September 18, 1998, between Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Turkey.
Save Myanmar Film has been awarded a grant to establish a mini audio-visual library for the public as part of the project to Access Old Classic Myanmar Films including Digitally Restored Films and Other Non-film Materials.
The aim of the project is to provide the public with a mini Film Library with access to old, rare, classic Myanmar films including digitally restored films. The Film Library will be a place where students, researchers and others can watch the screening of a film and have access to other relevant materials such as film posters, catalogues, reviews and reports on the physical condition of the film. This will be beneficial to those people in Myanmar who can’t access the internet and so can’t search the catalogue on the Save Myanmar Film website.
Myanmar started making films in 1920 and since that time thousands and thousands of films have been lost. Setting up a mini-library will be a first step towards collecting films including in digital format and other associated material. It is intended that this start will lead to a Film Library where film students, researchers and lovers of film can get access to many films and to information about films.
Save Myanmar Film will hire a professional to set up a database for the film catalogue and digitally scanned non-film
materials. Production houses will be asked to donate films and relationships established with them so that they have confidence they will retain rights as the copyright holder and that the donated film will be kept in a secure place. Equipment will be purchased and a booking system put in place.
Save Myanmar Film is a collaboration with the Ministry of Information, Myanmar. The organisation is working to progress audio-visual training and restoration programmes and activities. The Save Myanmar Film team works on saving old films in government and public hands. The team is also focussed on saving 12 black and white films and newsreels and other surviving Myanmar Heritage Films from 1930s-1990s that are stored in poor conditions.
The Tuvalu Memory of the World National Committee has been awarded a grant for a Tuvalu Memory of The World Training and Capacity Building Workshop: Making an Effective MoW Nomination into Three Different Registers – National, Regional and International.
In 2018 Tuvalu received an ACC -MOWCAP grant to hold a workshop to develop a national register of documentary heritage as well as a work plan for the newly established Committee. The 2021 grant follows on from this work and will be used to conduct a three-day training workshop on how to make an effective MOW nomination for three different registers – National, Regional and International.
The training workshop will increase awareness of the Memory of the World program and its registers. It will also increase awareness of the existence and significance of Tuvalu’s documentary heritage. The workshop will identify approximately five documentary heritage collections from the eight islands of Tuvalu that meet the criteria for inscription to the Tuvalu MOW National register and will assist participants to identify documentary heritage with regional and global significance. Participants will be given assistance to develop nominations for inscription to a MoW register.
The main target audience for this project is the people of Tuvalu, communities, island leaders, youth and government officials. The project will be coordinated and organized by the Tuvalu Memory of the World National Committee in collaboration with the Tuvalu National Library and Archives and the UNESCO Tuvalu National
The Tuvalu Memory of the World Committee manages, assesses and nominates inscriptions for the National Register as well as Tuvalu’s nominations to the international and regional registers. Tuvalu formed their Memory of the World Committee in May 2018 and their first nomination was successfully inscribed on the MOWCAP Asia-Pacific Register at the 8th MOWCAP General Meeting in 2018.
The Tuvalu National Library and Archives was established in 1978 as part of Tuvalu’s preparation towards its political independence. They are the custodians of the public records of Tuvalu and help build literacy levels. The public records were previously held in the Western Pacific Archives in Fiji.
The Nguyen Huy Family has been awarded a grant for Publishing volume 1: Ba kinh toản yếu đại toàn of Phuc Giang School Woodblocks.
The Phuc Giang School Woodblocks were created by the Nguyen Huy family between the 18th–20th centuries and were used for teaching and learning at Phuc Giang School in Truong Luu village, Vietnam. They include 383 woodblocks for printing twelve books for teaching and learning. The Nguyen Huy family has been undertaking a major project to digitise, transcribe, transliterate, translate and publish these twelve books.
Vietnamese books printed in ancient Han or SinoNom script are not easily accessible because there are a limited number of experts and researchers who can read the language. The Nguyen Huy family used MOWCAP-ACC grants from 2018 and 2019 to translate two of these books and make them accessible to a wider audience.
This grant will support the printing of approximately 300 copies of “Ba kinh toản yếu đại toàn” which consists of 47 two-sided woodblocks. Included in the project is the license for publication, editing, proofreading and the design of the book cover. The introduction to the book will be in Vietnamese, English and Chinese.
This publication is part of a larger project that will take many years but will facilitate access to the valuable content of the books, raise awareness of their existence and return them to the people of Vietnam and the world.
The Phuc Giang School Woodblocks (18th-20th Centuries) was inscribed on the MOWCAP Memory of the World register in 2016 and one of the books The Envoy Ship Journeys to China was inscribed on the MOWCAP register in 2018.