LATIN AMERICAN ART & ARCHITECTURE
In May 2017 the GCI, in partnership with the Sursock Museum, the Arab Image Foundation, the University of Delaware, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, presented at the Sursock Museum in Beirut a three-day symposium, the Photographic Legacy of the Middle East and North Africa: Priorities for Sustainability. This was the culminating event of the multiyear Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative (MEPPI).
Attended by more than 140 participants (including alumni of MEPPI courses, directors of MEPPI institutions, members of funding organizations, and cultural heritage professionals), the symposium marked the first time that directors of MEPPI institutions and international supporters of the initiative gathered with alumni to reflect on the impact of MEPPI’s work. The first two days included presentations and panel discussions involving MEPPI institutions and supporters, including New York University, Abu Dhabi; Arcadia Fund, United Kingdom; Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, the Netherlands; Endangered Archives Programme, UK; and ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre, United Arab Emirates.
The final day of the symposium was dedicated to MEPPI alumni sharing their experiences, opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned, to help guide one another in the future and to build a sustainable network of colleagues. Alumni participants reflected on how to advance the practice of photograph preservation for the region, as well as how to sustain the benefits of the MEPPI network. A steering committee consisting of a group of alumni was formed to provide leadership as MEPPI transitions from a partner-supported project to a regionally directed network. Future activities of the committee will include establishing a framework for governance, public outreach and relations, and education and training.