Representatives of the German, Austrian and Swiss dance archives came together for the first time on the 21st and 22nd of October 2016 in order to collectively discuss the challenges which archives face in today’s digitalized world.
The host of the two-day symposium entitled “Enable Access!” was the German Dance Archive Cologne, who provided their room space in the Cologne Mediapark for the event. The archives which form the Association of German Dance Archives (VdT) (Academy of Arts, Berlin / German Dance Archives Cologne / Mime Centrum Berlin / Dance Archive Leipzig / German Dance Film Institute Bremen) and Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (German Dance Association, DTD) stated unanimously, how important it is for the preservation of this nationally-important, cultural heritage not to be a matter exclusively for private funding bodies, foundations and sponsors. The national and states were called upon to increase their involved more than ever in order preserve and make accessible the three million documents and materials relating to the history and present of dance which are not currently kept in the VdT.
In the “Cologne Declaration”, which was concluded by the participants, the demand was made for the archives to receive professional equipment as well as support in the conservational measures and digitalisation of artefacts. This is the only way that the existence of the archive and a contemporary access on the cultural heritage of dance can ensured in the long term.
Teachers from universities and dance academies in Cologne, Essen, Frankfurt/Main, Munich and Berlin urgently underline the immense benefit of allowing students and researchers to have free access to the archives. Research in the area of dance is only possible if the archives ensure proficient and subject-specific access to materials and research results. This includes database systems as well as online access to documents, which, this way, can be benefitted from worldwide.
The participants of the symposium agreed that the event, “Enable Access! How research and art can profit from the cultural heritage of dance” was a great step towards better cooperation between archives, teachers, researchers and that this would certainly not be the last time they would meet to exchange ideas and hold discussions.