Research Grant

IASA Research Grant Guidelines

IASA regularly offers financial awards to encourage and support research and publication within the field of audiovisual archiving and preservation. In order to be considered for a research grant, the following guidelines apply:

  1. Research can, but need not, form part of an academic programme.
  2. The level of financial support will be determined by the IASA Executive Board individually on a case by case basis, but individual awards will not normally exceed Euro 2,000. All costs are eligible if the applicant can show clear justification for them within the scope, aims, and purposes of the project.
  3. IASA will only consider applications from IASA members whose membership is in good standing at the time of application.
  4. IASA promotes diversity in the audiovisual archiving field and encourages applications from developing countries.
  5. IASA will support a research project only if there is evidence that the results are within the scope of IASA's purposes. This includes, but is not limited to the care of, access to, and long term preservation of sound and audiovisual heritage including the development of best professional standards and practice for sound and audiovisual heritage. See paragraph 2 of the IASA constitution ( for an articulation of IASA’s purposes.
  6. Depending on the scope and the overall duration of a research project, the applicant should arrange appropriately defined project phases. Interim reports should be sent to IASA at the end of each phase. A final report must be submitted no later than two (2) months following the end of the project.
  7. IASA will issue a research grant on the basis of a written agreement signed by the Secretary-General for the Association.
  8. The recipient will acknowledge IASA in all papers, presentations, and other publications that reference research supported by IASA.
  9. IASA will not pay Research Grants in advance of a project

To apply for a IASA Research Grant, click here (IASA members only)

March 2018, 6th revision

Research Grant recipients

Title: Recirculation of J. H. Hutton’s Recordings in Nagaland

Grantee: Christian Poske, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK

Timeframe: 2022

The research project concerns cylinder recordings made by anthropologist John Henry Hutton (1885-1968) in Nagaland in India between 1914-16. The recordings, made in different locations in Assam province, include ritual songs, work songs, and other pieces performed by five ethnic groups on Nagaland. This includes the Chang, Sangtam, Sumi (Sema), Angami, and Lhota peoples. The recordings were eventually migrated to digital format by the British Library Sound Archive. Today, the cylinders and digital copies of the recordings are held by the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England.

The research project aims to gather information and context for the cylinder recordings, based on related archival materials. Also, Christian will conduct fieldwork at identified locations to evaluate relevance of the recordings to the contemporary Naga communities. The information gathered will lead to metadata enhancements that would be beneficial to the collection, and a reconnection of these recordings to their place of origin, Nagaland.    

Title: Transatlantic Battlefront: Czech Comedians Fight Hitler in the Shortwave Trenches

Grantee: Martin Mejzr and Filip Šír, Prague, Czech Republic

Timeframe: 2021

The recent history of the Czech Republic is marred by conflicts; such events have influenced culture and politics, and the consequences of war brought about stronger relations with the United States of America. The conflicts which arose in the first half of the 20th century saw the first audio-visual documentation of war. To further examine how this intercontinental fight against Nazism and Fascism was orchestrated, we are examining how radio broadcasting and comedy were employed as a means of western propaganda in the Czechoslovakian fight against Nazi oppression.

This project is working to compile and make accessible the American story of George Voskovec and Jan Werich, theatre performers and star comedians who fled to the United States in early 1939, not returning to their homeland until the end of WWII. Soon afterwards, the accession of the Communists in 1948 definitely caused a rift in the duo’s careers. Through radio broadcasts recorded between 1941 and 1945, along with new and forgotten research into the lives of Voskovec and Werich during the wartime period, we will portray the cooperation of the United States in support of ousted Czechoslovakians, through the lens of the nation’s equivalent of Laurel and Hardy.

The goal of this research project is to piece together an intimate cultural portrait of the Czechoslovakian insurgency through audio of the time, from an international perspective. Ultimately, this will be supported by significant voices such as those of President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who died in 1937 and his successor, Edvard Beneš, and early Czech proponents of the sound industry, whom we are currently researching under another project.

The results will be presented through three avenues:

  • As an online portal where specific documents, scripts and recordings are curated in their socio-political context, alongside other documents and historical narrative;
  • Long-term preservation and access for some of the earliest and most culturally significant sound carriers, highlighting the joint struggle against Nazism and Fascism in both Europe and America.
  • Exhibitions in both the United States and the Czech Republic.


Title: Pilot Project in Re-Study and Repatriation of the International Library of African Music (ILAM) Hugh Tracey Field Recordings

Grantee: Diane Thram, ILAM, Grahamstown, South Africa

In February 2016, Diane Thram carried out re-study and repatriation of ILAM’s field recordings made by Hugh Tracey in Mombasa and Malindi on 15-17 October 1950 and 23-25 May 1952. Digital copies of the recordings on CD and/or memory stick were returned to descendants of members of the Jauarah Taarab Orchestra, including the son of the composer/leader of the Jauarah Orchestra and the present leader of the only remaining taarab orchestra in Mombasa. The recordings included historic songs that this current orchestra has since added to their repertoire and performed at an annual heritage festival in Mombasa. The recordings were also given to the widow and children of the famous guitarist/singer Paul Mwachupa recorded by Tracey; and to dancers of Kimungwe active in performing this traditional dance. In Malindi the recordings were returned to a son and two daughters of male vocalist Chadi Obuyi and to descendants of female vocalist, Mwana Bibi who were recorded by Tracey.

Ketebul Music (Nairobi recording studio) staff members Steve Kivutia, sound engineer and Patrick Odneik, videographer assisted with the fieldwork by locating recipients in advance utilizing names given in Tracey’s metadata and by recording the encounters involved in each presentation of the recordings. In each case the recordings were played for those receiving them and interviews were conducted to verify existing metadata and add to it. In each instance, recipients were thrilled to receive the recordings of their family members. Chadi Obuyi’s son remembered the day Tracey made the recordings, even though he was only a young boy at the time. The taarab musicians in photos of the Jauarah Orchestra taken by Tracey were identified by their descendants. Through the interviews ILAM’s existing metadata was enhanced and the process of digital return of the recordings was documented. IASA’s support made this work possible and allowed ILAM’s Director, Diane Thram, to advace the ethic of reciprocity she advocates for music archives with colonial collections by returning Hugh Tracey’s recordings to their communities of origin.

The results of this study were also presented at the IASA 2016 conference:


Title: Historic Pricing Analysis for Digitization of AV

Grantee: Chris Lacinak, AV Preserve, New York

A report on this study was published in the IASA journal, no 46. by Rebecca Chandler: "A Study on the Changing Prices of Audiovisual Digitization, 2006–2015"

Title: Memoria, Derechos Humanos y construcción de ciudadanía en localidades socialmente periféricas de la región centro este de la Provincia de Santa Cruz” [“Memory, Human Rights and construction of citizenship in socially peripheral towns in the east central region of the Province of Santa Cruz”]

Grantee: Gustavo Urbano Navarro, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Austral, Argentina

Timeframe: 2013

The South Patagonian region has a particular social structure. Since the first decades of 20th Century, where there was immigration from many parts of the world - firstly, Welsh, English, Spanish and Italian, and later, from the poorest European countries- Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Yugoslavia, Ukrainian and Arabic countries. These immigrants arrived gradually and got integrated to the community. Since the end of 20TH century until now it is receiving an increasing Bolivian and Paraguayan immigration, working in petroleum and mines.
South Patagonia has a history full of conflicts, crossed by processes of domination and resistance, genocides and union struggles. These were silenced by national and foreign media, and in recent decades, are beginning to be recovered by those who undertook the generation of Just Memory policy.
During recent  years, links between history and memory has occupied a prevailing place, with regard to the central axes where the recovery of subjectivity was articulated, that is, the assessment of the subject’s viewpoint and the consideration of popular sectors as agents of historical processes, and the concept of history as speech or narrative.

On one hand, local municipal libraries count on documentary material, most of which is going through a deterioration process on account of lack of financing for the maintenance and sustainability of preservation projects. On the other hand, many of the existing documentary sources, such as the local press, suit only the “official history” being insufficient without the testimony from its protagonists (oral recording) and the material from private recordings. It is through the written support that history and culture of victors and domineering people prevail, ignoring the voice of the defeated and silenced. The oral tradition acts as the only element for the generation to generation transmission keeping a huge historical and cultural heritage, made up by individual and group ideas, testimonies and experiences. Due to its value, oral tradition is increasingly regarded as an intangible cultural heritage which includes diversity, minorities and threatened voices.

The objective of this project was to engineer, by to use the different actors of local communities, the collective construction of an open access web portal for the recovery and preservation of their social memory and the diffusion using open software technologies.
Results at:

Title: Survey of audiovisual collections in memory and cultural heritage repositories in a frontier town : a case study of Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso, Brazil

Grantee: Bertram Lyons

Timeframe: March to December 2011

The researcher will conduct a survey of memory institutions in Lucas do Rio Verde, a frontier town in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso founded in 1982 and built up primarily by Brazilian families of German and Italian heritage. The survey will develop baseline data on the types and extent of memory resources that exist in the town, especially those of an audiovisual nature. This survey will capture information about the history and ongoing management of each institution, including funding, management, facilities, practices, audience, mission, and long-term planning. It will also document the nature of the institutions’ audiovisual holdings and the ways in which these holdings are used and accessed by local and external communities. Interviews with key individuals in institutions, as private collectors and as community members will be recorded and/or transcribed.

These combined results from the survey of Lucas’ network of memory institutions will provide a snapshot of Lucas’ audiovisual cultural heritage and memory resources in 2011 and will reveal new insights into the development of memory institutions in developing communities in an increasingly digital era.

Title: Archiving the music world

Grantee: World and Traditional Music, British Library (Janet Topp Fargion)

Timeframe: January to December 1999

Archiving the music world was a joint project between the World and Traditional Music section of the British Library and Music for Change, a charitable organisation working to support community music projects throughout the world. The project aimed to compile a database of collections of recorded music throughout the world, to highlight their existence, condition, status, accessibility and plans for preservation. It focussed primarily on countries where formal structures for the preservation of sound recordings were relatively new or non-existent, where resources and expertise were scarce and existing collections were in danger of being lost. The printed report documents 117 institutions and private collections from 66 countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, Australia & Oceania, and Eastern Europe.