ARCHIVAL PLATFORM WINS WESTERN CAPE CUTURAL AFFAIRS AWARD FOR ARCHIVAL ADVOCACY

ARCHIVAL PLATFORM WINS WESTERN CAPE CUTURAL AFFAIRS AWARD FOR ARCHIVAL ADVOCACY

ARCHIVAL PLATFORM WINS WESTERN CAPE CULTURAL AFFAIRS AWARD FOR ARCHIVES ADVOCACY

The Archival Platform, an initiative established under the auspices of the University of Cape Town NRF Chair in Archive and Public Culture, Professor Carolyn Hamilton, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation, has won the 2015/2016 Western Cape Cultural Affairs Award for Archival Advocacy.

These awards, presented annually by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), are bestowed on organisations and individuals who have, in the words of the DCAS “made a profound impact in the arts, culture, language, heritage, museums, archives, geographic names and libraries sectors in the Western Cape.”

The Archival Platform plays an advocacy and intervention role in respect of memory, archives and records as dynamic public resources in South Africa in the 21st century and within the context of a young democracy.

The Archival Platform’s report, State of the Archives: an analysis of South Africa’s national archival system 2014, published in March 2015, was the culmination of a massive two-year research project funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies. It provides an in-depth analysis of the entire national Archival System. This report is proving to be a useful document that identifies key weaknesses as well as pockets of strength in the system and that thereby puts the responsible authorities on notice. Equally importantly, the process through which it was researched, drafted and presented was an invaluable activist and advocacy intervention. Intense engagement with archivists, visits to public archives and interaction with a diversity of other institutions and organisations in the broader archival sector provided an opportunity for the AP team to get to grips with the challenges and the aspirations of the institutions, governmental bodies and the individuals who work in and with them and who use them.

The launch of the report was followed by an intensive series of national and provincial Dialogue Forums which brought representatives from archives and records management services, civil society archives, academic institutions, museums and other related initiatives together. Dialogue Forums focussed on discussing issues of common concern and building a shared vision for a broad and inclusive archive that supports a more nuanced understanding of the past, and promotes accountable government in the present.  The State of the Archives analysis provides a crucial tool for archivists and related practitioners to apply pressure on relevant decision makers to pay attention to their problems in specified ways: the Dialogue Forums strengthened the capacity and the resolve of participants to advocate more vocally for archives within their own environments.

Western Cape Provicial Archivist Nikiwe Momoti (left) and Western Cape Archives Advisory Committee members Petro Coreejes-Brink and Andrew Kok (far right) with the award winners! Photo courtesy of Andrew Kok. Western Cape Provicial Archivist Nikiwe Momoti (left) and Western Cape Archives Advisory Committee members Petro Coreejes-Brink and Andrew Kok (far right) with the award winners! Photo courtesy of Andrew Kok.

The Archival Platform extends its congratulations to the archivists and records managers who won awards in other related categories: Most Influential person in Records Management - Juliana Vercueil and the Registration team, Western Cape Liquor authority; and Best Contribution to Archival Heritage – Elrika le Roux and the Client Information Services team, Western Cape Archives and Records Service, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport.

For further details see the DCAS website: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/news/cultural-affairs-awards-2015-16-minister-celebrates-our-colourful-culture