Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage

Posted in museums by Editor on December 31, 2017

Writing for Apollo Magazine (15 December 2017), Maggie Gray suggests “it’s time to talk seriously about digital reproductions.” A version of the declaration signed on 8 December 2017 at the V&A is available as a PDF file here. From the V&A Research Projects / ReACH

ReACH (Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage)

A global research programme exploring the digital reproduction of cultural heritage — #ReACHdialogue

Launched at UNESCO in May 2017, ReACH (Reproduction of Art and Cultural Heritage) is a global initiative spearheaded by the V&A in partnership with the Peri Charitable Foundation that explores how to re-think our approach to reproducing, storing and sharing works of art and cultural heritage.

Digital technologies are changing the cultural landscape, offering new ways to produce, store and share museum and heritage assets. However, there is no clear methodology for how museums and heritage organisations should engage with these technologies. To complicate matters, legal protocols and procedures have not adapted to these new realities, and often act as roadblocks to new practice. ReACH will bring clarity—by highlighting best practices, debating pressing issues, and drafting a convention—and offer our community a useful roadmap for dealing with reproductions in the future.

There are two fundamental goals of the ReACH programme. The first is to share best practices concerning the production, storage and dissemination of digital and physical reproductions. This will be achieved by inviting key speakers to the roundtables to share their professional experiences and to flag some of the broader challenges and opportunities. The second goal is to use the information gathered from the 5 roundtables to draft a new convention concerning the role of museums and other organisations in the reproduction of works of art and cultural heritage, which can be shared and adopted.

The ReACH project coincides with the 150th anniversary of Henry Cole’s 1867 Convention, which helped usher in a period where museums actively engaged in the creation of reproductions of objects from around the world. The document is inspiring in its clarity, practicality and openness to the creation and sharing of reproductions. Along with an updated version of the Convention we will produce a publication that compiles examples of the best practices selected from the roundtable discussions—as a roadmap for museums working with reproductions, as instruments for preservation and accessibility.

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