The Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative (MEPPI) is a strategic initiative to promote the preservation and awareness of photograph collections in the broad Middle East, from North Africa and the Arab Peninsula through Western Asia.
Charles Kettaneh (sitting) and his brother.
Collection AIF/Aimée Kettaneh
Copyright © Arab Image Foundation
MEPPI Beirut 2011 - Course announcement
Workshop date: 10 – 18 November 2011
Workshop venue: American University of Beirut, Lebanon
Distance mentoring: December 2011 – July 2012
Follow-up meeting: Late 2012 (date and venue to be determined)
The Arab Image Foundation, the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty Conservation Institute and the Qatar Museums Authority are partners in the Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative (MEPPI), a strategic initiative to promote the preservation and awareness of photograph collections in the broad Middle East, from North Africa and the Arab Peninsula through Western Asia. Portions of this project are supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The initiative has three interconnected components.
- The MEPPI Survey: a collection survey to assess and identify significant photograph holdings across the Arab World. Collections from Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan may also be included. Three regional research associates are based respectively in the Levant, the Arab Peninsula, and North Africa.
- The MEPPI Courses: a series of three courses which will train personnel responsible for the care of photographic collections in the region
- The MEPPI Symposium: a symposium focusing on the photographic heritage of the broader Middle East for regional policy- and decision-makers
About the MEPPI Courses
Each MEPPI course will provide basic theoretical and practical training in the care of a broad range of photographic materials found in the collections of museums, libraries, archives and other repositories. MEPPI courses have been designed to provide learning and hands-on experience in both classroom and workplace settings over a period of several months. This combination of theoretical and practical training provides the foundation for building a deeper understanding of photographic materials and processes, the deterioration mechanisms associated with them, and appropriate strategies for their long-term preservation.
The three courses will take place between 2011 and 2014 at three separate venues – respectively in Beirut, Doha and Cairo. Each course will be attended by 14-16 participants from photographic collections throughout the region. The international representation among the participants will foster a broad exchange of ideas, philosophies, and techniques for preservation, and will strengthen ties between professionals for continued interaction.
Participants will take part in all three phases of the MEPPI course:
- An eight-day workshop that will include lectures, demonstrations, hands-on projects, collection visits, and case studies.
- An eight-month period of assigned practical work that participants carry out in their own institutions while remaining in contact with an instructor. These assignments will allow participants to apply the concepts and information presented during the workshop to their own collections. Completed assignments will be submitted periodically to the instructor through the MEPPI website. The instructor will mentor participants by providing advice, guidance and additional information either electronically or by telephone to assist them in their work with their collections. The MEPPI website will also allow participants to share information with one another and to take part in joint assignments and projects. Participants can expect to spend from five to ten hours each month on practical work and distance mentoring with an instructor.
- A final four-day meeting of the participants and several of the instructors will allow everyone to share the results of their experiences and to consider the potential next steps in advancing the preservation of their collections. The final meeting will be hosted in a location to be determined and that may vary from the initial workshop location.
About MEPPI Beirut 2011
Venue and date
Applications for the first course – MEPPI Beirut 2011 – are currently being accepted. The course will begin with a workshop that will take place from the 10 to the 18 of November 2011 at the American University of Beirut.
The practical work and mentoring will take place between December 2011 and July 2012. The final meeting of the participants will take place in late 2012.
There are no fees for attending the workshop, or for participating in the mentoring and follow-up meeting. Travel and per diem for meals and lodging for the workshop and final meeting will be covered or subsidized based on need.
Topics covered in the workshop
- History of photographic materials- Characterization and identification of albumen, silver gelatin, and chromogenic color print materials, glass plate and film base negatives
- Introduction to the characterization of other, more rare photographic materials
- Environmental assessment and practical control measures
- Mitigation from airborne contaminants and pollutants
- Storage and exhibition practices, including cold storage
- Handling guidelines
- Cleaning and stabilization procedures
- Emergency preparedness, response, and recovery
- Balancing collection preservation and access
- Best practices for digitization for access
- Prioritization for preservation
- Contemporary materials: future directions in exhibition and long-term preservation
Instructors will include
- Zeina Arida – Arab Image Foundation
- Franziska Frey – Rochester Institute of Technology
- Debra Hess-Norris – University of Delaware
- Nora Kennedy – The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Bertrand Lavédrine – Centre de Recherche sur la Conservation des Collections (CNRS)
- Akram Zaatari – Arab Image Foundation
- Other speakers to be determined
The course will include two public lectures, to be determined
Applying to MEPPI Beirut 2011
MEPPI participants will include staff whose duties involve the care of photographic collections in museums, libraries, archives or similar institutions. Such personnel may include curators, photographers, and collection managers and custodians. Applications are welcome from countries of the Levant, the Arab Peninsula and North Africa. Participants from Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan may also be included. Participants will need to qualify for a visa in Lebanon.
Please note that the application process requires a signed statement from the director of the applicant’s institution indicating their complete support for full participation in all phases of the MEPPI. The workshop will be held in English with simultaneous translation available in Arabic and French. Some written course materials may only be available in English and/or French.
Click here to MEPPI