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Wednesday, October 2 • 9:30am - 10:00am
UNESCO on the air: The digital transformation of a global radio history

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In 2017, UNESCO Archives launched the two-year initiative ‘Digitizing Our Shared UNESCO History’. In this context, thousands of hours of sound recordings, including master tapes of UNESCO Radio programmes, are being digitized and will soon be available public. UNESCO Radio was different, unique even, according to some listeners. UNESCO began to produce radio programmes in the late 1940s with an aim to promote the ideals of the Organization, through discussion of issues in the fields of education, science, culture and communication. This paper will trace the 50-year history of UNESCO Radio, illustrating the Radio’s important and unconventional role in the development of radio, in the context of a far-reaching mass communications programme. The subjects chosen by UNESCO Radio are as relevant today us they were to those wishing to build the ‘defences of peace in the minds of men and women’ following the devastation of the two World Wars. Feature programmes were produced each year in English, French, Spanish or Russian. Their subjects covered a vast field ranging from aids to astronomy, biodiversity to bioethics, street children to indigenous peoples, women’s rights to racial politics. UNESCO Radio’s catalogue contains hundreds of recordings and scripts offered to national, public and community radios globally, as well as to international shortwave broadcasters. Virtually forgotten today, this paper will shed light on the Organization’s rich radio heritage, while discussing the efforts and challenges of transforming this remarkable piece of radio history to digital form and bringing it to light for a new generation of listeners.

avatar for Adam Cowling

Adam Cowling

Records Management Specialist / Digitization Project Manager, UNESCO
Adam Cowling is Records Management Specialist at UNESCO. He is the Project Manager for UNESCO’s ‘Digitizing Our Shared UNESCO History’ digitization project and ‘Putting a World of Pictures into Words’ transcription crowdsourcing initiative. He holds a dual Masters degree... Read More →
avatar for Eng Sengsavang

Eng Sengsavang

Reference Archivist, UNESCO
Eng Sengsavang is Reference Archivist at UNESCO. She holds a dual Masters degree in Archival and Library Studies from the University of British Columbia, Canada. As an archival specialist, she has previously worked for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the United Nations Archives... Read More →

Wednesday October 2, 2019 9:30am - 10:00am BST
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