SARBICA International Seminar

The Southeast Asia Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (SARBICA) held the 2021 International SARBICA seminar with the theme “Safeguarding the Archives: Memory, Pandemic, and Technology” on November 23-25, 2021 via videoconferencing. Representatives from different archival organizations and communities in the Southeast Asian region attended this seminar to discuss efforts and approaches in safeguarding archives. 

Presenters and keynote speakers of the event highlighted the approaches they used and adapted by using three different perspectives: the role of archives in memory keeping, archives as a response to the pandemic, and the utilization of technology in digital transformation on archives. 

“Now more than ever people are depending on trustworthy records. People want to be sure that the government is recording properly and that is why our work is important,” said David Fricker, President of the International Council on Archives (ICA) and the Director-General of National Archives of Australia during the opening ceremonies of the seminar. 

In Fricker’s message, he urged the representatives of ASEAN Member-States (AMS) to also focus on transparency and inclusivity when documenting the pandemic. He said that to preserve and provide a reliable source of information for the future—the social upheaval of people or the marginalized communities that were severely affected by the pandemic should also be documented. 

Victorino M. Manalo, Executive Director of the National Archives of the Philippines and Chairperson of SARBICA also echoed the call of Fricker where he stressed that documenting the pandemic should also tell the stories and experiences of the marginalized people. He also encouraged the participants and representatives from different archival institutions to turn this adversity into victory. 

“By retaining our role as memory keepers despite the world health crisis, we are turning adversity into victory,” he added further. Manalo also reiterated that by documenting the pandemic, people can learn from the experiences of one another and can contribute to the global efforts to address this crisis.