Applying the “baby nursing model” in under-resourced audiovisual archives in Africa: The J. H. Kwabena Nketia Archive at the University of Ghana

It is a well-known fact that there has been extensive documentation of African traditional arts in post-colonial Africa, which has contributed to the growing accumulation of field recordings in Africa that could form the nucleus for archives in individual African countries. These include private collections as well as recordings at broadcasting and television stations; government ministries such as Tourism, Culture and Information; museums and academic institutions. Sadly, these precious traditions – which have been expensively captured – are often not properly managed
in their host institutions. The caretakers of this heritage mostly sit by as collections deteriorate and sometimes are disposed of due to lack of institutional support. Such practices prevail in most African archives. This paper proposes a new mode of consciousness of the value of audiovisual heritage materials by comparing them with human babies. This new archival management principle, ‘the baby nursing model’, has been adopted and practiced at the University of Ghana and has achieved positive results.


This article is part of the book ‘SOIMA: Unlocking Sound and Image Heritage