October 27, 2022: Today we celebrate the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. Audiovisual heritage is an important tool that connects the past to the present and future. It offers invaluable information regarding the diverse histories of communities around the globe, and can provide a platform to uncover truth, inform our collective memory, and promote dialogue and mutual understanding.
Since its inception in 1982, collecting and preserving audiovisual heritage has been central to the Zoryan Institute’s work. The Institute has undertaken multiple post-conflict audiovisual oral history projects which have informed numerous publications, films, and research projects. These include the Institute’s Armenian Genocide Oral History Project, conducting interviews in the aftermath of the Sumgait Pogroms that were published in the book, The Sumgait Tragedy, the Syrian-Armenian Oral History Project, and the ongoing 44-Day Artsakh War Oral History Project.
The Institute’s latest project, partially funded by Library and Archives Canada, will see the audiovisual oral history testimonies of 43 Canadian Armenian Genocide survivors, from its renowned Armenian Genocide Oral History Collection, transcribed and translated into English. Our dedicated team of 5 Armenian-Canadian transcribers share a common passion for bringing these stories to wider audiences, and preserving these stories for future generations. They will be dedicating hours to diligently listening and reviewing each testimony, and working in line with our carefully developed transcription guide, to ensure that the stories are captured accurately in writing. Speaking to the importance of this project to not only Armenian-Canadians, but Canadians at large, one of our transcribers, Tamar, stated:
“The transcription of the Zoryan Institute’s Armenian Genocide Oral History Collection is a crucial vein to the Armenian reality: the program brings to light the stories of our ancestors who were uprooted from the Homeland and whose voices had been attempted to be buried… Engaging with the voices of our elders and the tragedies they endured is our direct link to our history, and their survival has planted the seeds for our existence.
This program further cultivates the landscape of stories of survivors, and access to these archives will ignite researchers, artists, and future generations to immortalize the Armenian story and preserve and protect the truth. It will preserve Armenian-Canadian identity and heritage, and impact Canadian society in drawing parallels between Armenian and Indigenous communities, bringing solidarity and further awareness to the Indigenous struggle.”
MEET THE TEAM