This is my final narrative report on my studies of the MA Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image, at the University of Amsterdam, which have been generously supported by the Lutfia Rabbani Foundation in 2017. My course of study ran from September 2016 to March 2018. In the second year of this program, I focused my research and training in a more specialised manner by undertaking an individually tailored, project-based internship, as well as a project proposal course.
I applied for an internship position offered by EYE Filmmuseum, one of the partner institutions of the UvA P&P program. Through this internship, I became acquainted with the latest professional developments in film archives and attained specialised skills in the preservation and presentation of very unique audiovisual collections. This full-time internship lasted for 17 weeks (40 hours per week) and culminated in the writing of a report in which I evaluated my performance during the internship, reflected on the results of my labour, and related insights and experience gained to the theoretical knowledge I had obtained in the first year of the program.
I carried out a project that involved both practical and research tasks, under the supervision of both an archivist and curator and my academic supervisor.
At EYE I was working primarily with the Mannus Franken collection in collaboration with EYE Filmuseum’s curator for Dutch Film, Rommy Albers, part of the Dutch colonial film collection, as well as researching archival footage from the Middle East for various documentary projects. As part of this project I have also been exploring creative ways of reintroducing this collection, hidden in vaults since 1979, to a contemporary international public. Another aspect of this project has comprised restoring and digitizing archival films and conducting research on the Dutch Avant-guard movement in the 1920s and the specific social context of its collaboration with colonization in Indonesia and South America.
For me, this internship has been extremely valuable in offering an array of professional challenges and tasks, touching upon many contemporary archival issues: cataloguing, preservation and presentation in the context of a re-explored collection. This intellectual work appealed to me because it provided a fresh encounter with the question of how to facilitate access and contextualise holding in a relatively small yet potentially very culturally significant collection.
Mannus Franken’s filmography affords a number of historiographic entry points for media scholars, which has shaped how the materials arrived into the collection and how they may be potentially exhibited. The type of the physical materials and different versions of the same film has in turn affected how the materials were catalogued, restored and presented. Owing to the very physically and culturally heterogeneous nature of the collection and the multifaceted ambitions of the project at EYE, the internship provided an excellent testing ground for developing preservation planning. Moreover, the small scale of the collection gave me the opportunity to deal with complex preservation issues in an ongoing an interative capacity.