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Formentera to host celebration of Balearic culture and folk traditions

ball-pag--s1The Formentera Council’s patrimony department reports that Monday October 29 will be the last day to sign up for the region’s third Jornades de Cultura Popular i Tradicional, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, November 2-3.

Jornades de Cultura turn three

As the entity responsible for protecting and spreading intangible cultural heritage, the Balearic Islands’ advisory council on popular and traditional culture launched the jornades (Catalan for “day-long events”) to promote research and reflection. The initiative is also supported by the regional ministry of culture, participation and sport and the Formentera Council.

Scheduled to unfold at the island’s dependent care centre, the “popular and traditional culture days” are envisioned as a yearly event that will rotate between Formentera, Eivissa, Menorca and Mallorca.

This year’s event will focus on the often intangible forms of cultural capital like museums, land and repositories of memory such as objects, images and sound.

As ever, speakers will be field specialists from the islands and beyond. This year’s list includes Josep Fornés Garcia, head of Museu Etnològic de Barcelona; Lina Sansano Costa, head of Eivissa’s Museu Etnològic and Arxiu del So i la Imatge; Francesc Cabañés Martínez, head of cultural dissemination, learning and communication; Carme Castells Valdivielso, head of Fundació Mallorca Literària, and Albert Costa Ramon of the holdings, collections and restoration unit of Museu Valencià d’Etnologia. Speakers and attendees are invited to a final discussion to close the event.

For more details and signups (deadline: October 29) visit the following links.

Programme : http://bit.ly/2yRmECc  
Signups: http://bit.ly/2J8OHBI

Balearic councils' image and sound archives clinch partnership agreement

foto arxius de so 1Secretaries of culture and patrimony for the four Balearic Islands —Francesc Miralles of Mallorca, Miquel Àngel Maria of Menorca, David Ribas of Eivissa and Formentera's own Susana Labrador— met at noon today to put their signatures on the framework agreement for collaboration and coordination between the respective islands' image and sound archives. The agreement is about coordinating strategies for managing and conserving the islands' endowments and pooling efforts to disseminate documentary heritage.

The agreement aims to create more channels of collaboration and coordination between the four islands' respective sound and image archives. The audiovisual archives were created between the late 1990s and the noughts to preserve and disseminate the historic, and, in this case, documentary heritage of the archipelago, immensely valuable not just for the information it contains, but the culture it reflects.

The framework agreement signed today by the four culture and patrimony secretaries highlights coordination between the archives as a key part of promoting shared strategies for managing and conserving documentary materials. Dissemination is important, too, like by taking exhibits and film series on the road, sharing photo, AV and audio documents, and promoting programming outside the region. The agreement also includes chances for archive personnel to build their technical expertise.

For Francesc Miralles, Mallorca's first deputy chair and the island's secretary of patrimony and sport, the accord is about “creating possibilities for collaboration and participation in an array of cultural endeavours”. Miralles said the archives will pool their technical efforts as well as pursue shared projects, and observed: “An archive is more than a place to keep documents like audio and images. It is also about preserving and spreading those things, which is exactly what we intend to do”.

David Ribas, who is Eivissa's secretary of education, patrimony, culture, sport and youth services, called the current effort “a crucial step towards establishing coordination and collaboration between the councils based on the image and sound archives”. Claiming it would “create the possibility of specific partnerships on exhibits and other activities” and “provide the archives' expert staff with opportunities for ongoing professional development”, Ribas put it thus: “The agreement leaves the door open to integration of the respective archives in the future. Here in the region, insularity —despite geographical, historical and cultural closeness— tends to limit us. Compacts like this one make it possible for image- and sound-based documentary heritage to be shared”.

The project began with the partnership agreement between the four “island councils” (consells insulars), but those involved say they hope it goes even further. They are banking on the participation of the diverse image and sound archives (plus other archives in the region that keep graphical material) to get closer to the common goal of making the islands' archives increasingly technically savvy, improving the ways in which the endowments are conserved, studied and disseminated.

Susana Labrador serves as first deputy chair and culture, education and patrimony secretary of the Formentera Council. She says the agreement “is proof of the mutual understanding we're operating with at the political and technical levels” and “a clear statement about how important images and sound are to each of the island's historical and cultural heritage”. “Sometimes getting the work of our archives to the people on the street is difficult”, said Labrador, “this partnership is going to make it easier”. Labrador continued: “We're all part of the same community, but really we're strangers. So the fact that in Formentera we'll be getting documents from Mallorca's archive or other archives, in the region for that matter, will only bring us together”.

Miquel Àngel Maria Ballester, the Menorca Council's secretary of culture and education, said he was happy to see the culmination of a project local administrations launched two years ago. “The communication between the archives will have immediate benefits”, assured Maria, “we'll see improvements at the administrative level and we'll share resources, but I think the real goal is to expand our reach beyond the islands, and get more people travelling within the region”. He continued: “One can't appreciate what one doesn't know, and all of us are guilty of a certain amount of navel-gazing. The current collaboration around images, which can easily be digitally rendered, will enable us to share resources online, in turn giving us a better understanding of each other.

Arxiu del So i de l'Imatge de Mallorca (ASIM)

ASIM, Mallorca's sound and image archive, opened May 11, 1999, born of the need for a place that brought under the same roof the hitherto disparate elements of Mallorca's audiovisual, photo and sound heritage, whether locally produced or simply related in some to the island, including material spanning history, subjects, format and media. ASIM is a division of the archival and documentary heritage office of the Mallorca Council's culture, patrimony and sport department.

In the twenty years since ASIM opened, the archives have placed a great deal of holdings (fons in Catalan) and collections under one roof, currently housing roughly one hundred photo and AV holdings. Two holdings are of particular note in terms of photos. The first, Fons Rul·lan, is composed of roughly 100,000 negatives and constitutes a fundamental part of Majorcans' visual memory between 1928 and 1981. The second, a particularly poignant ethnographical study, is Fons Weedon, which comprises some 800 photos and chronicles everything from the two decades between 1950 and 1970, landscapes and the inhabitants of the Tramuntana mountains. Other important holdings are the thirty-thousand-photo Fons Llabrés and the Fons Honold, which has twenty thousand.

One of the core goals of ASIM is to recover the history of Mallorca-made cinema. ASIM retains the island's primitive locally-crafted cinema with restored copies of such cardinal productions as El secreto de la Pedriza, Flor de espino and El hombre de Baleares. Other holdings—the mythical filmed-on-Mallorca productions and the accompanying scores whose impact spanned generations—include Jack el Negro, Bahía de Palma, El verdugo, El mago, La mujer de paja and Un invierno en Mallorca. Visitors will also find the work of recent filmmakers like Toni Bestard and Lluís Casasayas. ASIM hold up promoting family and amateur cinema as another important part of their mission.

Of note are the holdings dedicated to names like Bartomeu Morlà, Josep Cabrinetti, Nicolau Tous and Miquel Jordà, and the films of amateur filmmaker Gabriel Mayans. All told ASIM houses somewhere in the area of five hundred 35mm film reels and sixteen thousand tapes and DVDs.

The roughly 2,700 CDs contained in ASIM's sound archives cover the traditional, oral history (Fons Joan Miralles), radio programmes (programming included in the Fons Cope spans thirty years) and the music of today, with plenty of contemporary releases.

ASIM's work is about more than protecting heritage; it's also about taking it to wider audiences. ASIM's related services include on-site consultation; photocopies; a library with some five thousand books and pamphlets about cinema, television, photos and music; education and outreach like photo exhibits (subjects span Josep Truyol, Majorcan photography, Gaspar Rul·lan, Juli Virenque, Bartomeu Ordinas); film series on topics like the Spanish Civil War, exile, local indy cinema, Archduke Lluís Salvador, Juníper Serra; special catalogues and collections like the film- and music-themed Quaderns de l'Arxiu.

Arxiu d'Imatge i So de Menorca (AISM)

AISM is a service of the Menorca Council that is devoted to the recovery and care of documentary heritage embodied in images and sounds—whether made on Menorca or simply related to it. AISM was created out of a need on the island for a reference centre dedicated to heritage documents, offering guidance on research and recovery efforts (most of AISM's holdings in this regard come from either regular Minorcans or private entities) and on specific technical issues related to archival care of such materials.

Everything took form with the AISM's January 2006 opening (an event which dovetailed with patron saint celebrations for sant, or “saint”, Antoni). The AISM took up residence in Can Victori, the former seat of the Menorca Council, which it would share from then on with the Institut Menorquí d'Estudis and other offices.

In AISM's years serving the island, visits have been up and public response has been notably positive. AISM has swelled to accommodate prized photographic, sound and cinema holdings, thanks in part to the addition of material from Filmoteca de Menorca (a division of Fundació Rubió Tudurí-Andrómaco). AISM has also put on countless activities—exhibits, guided visits, instructional units, book launches—in a bid to spotlight the recovery of heritage materials like photos, sounds and AV recordings, potent symbols of memory, physical surroundings and community.

Photographs rank high among the holdings in AISM's care, from the professional to the amateur and stretching from the late 19th century to the early 20th. Featured content includes the work of Diego Monjo i Monjo (Col·lecció Cardona Goñalons), Salvador Almirall Codina and Antoni Roca Várez; photo studies and press like Fotos Ràdio d'Alaior and the Ciutadella weekly El Iris; and materials from collectors and private families, such as Maria Lluïsa Serra, Xavier Martín and Miquel Àngel Limón.

Recorded materials form the basis of AISM's fonoteca—of the Council's plenary assemblies, talks hosted by Ciutadella's Cercle Artístic, organ performances as well as other ceremonies and activities.

The filmoteca (“film library”) comprises home-made recordings from individuals or families, such as those donated by Fundació Rubio Tudurí-Andrómaco, mini documentaries from competitions at Don Bosco and Café Mirador, promo videos for tourism and other films of local sites and activities.

Archivo de Imagen y Sonido de Ibiza (AISI)

The Eivissa Council's image and sound archive was funded as part of the Pacte de Progrés electoral programme under Fanny Tur Riera, Eivissa and Formentera's secretary of culture and patrimony from 1999-2003.

The effort to compile material began with a swath of vintage photos acquired between 2000 and 2001 from Eivissa's oldest photographer, Narcís Puget Viñas. Some years earlier, in 1997, Diario de Ibiza's first staff photographer, Josep Buil Mayral donated his collection of negatives, photos, postcards and images to the Eivissa Council.

Immediately after the AISI opened to the public in 2002, work got under way to compile audio and graphic material, old and new, related to Eivissa and Formentera. When 2007 reforms of the region's Statute of Autonomy created a separate island council for Formentera, AISI limited its scope to Eivissa.

AISI's operating regulations were adopted in 2008, published February 12 in the Balearic Islands' official gazette. With an archive law in place that focused almost exclusively on written material, conversations at AISI have focused frequently on issues like copyright, intellectual property rights and image rights. The present inter-island pact is a crucial driver of collaboration and exchange; professional development and specialisation of archive personnel; partnerships on exhibits and specific cultural activities and, of course, archival holdings.

AISI houses still and multimedia images, sound recordings, old written material and maps associated with Eivissa. From the beginning AISI opted to insure the archive's focus covered topical images, particularly of nature, traditional scenes, parties, landscapes, people, events and historical heritage. The materials serve to document our contemporary era and are intended as a resource for publications and studies for everyone from researchers and university students to journalists and historians.

It is difficult to qualify any of AISI's acquisitions as more important than others, but special mention might be made of the Narcís Puget holdings, likely the archive's oldest and most emblematic. Other materials are important as well, for the particular interest they hold, or for their age. Of note here are the Cas Oorthuys holdings of 1962, high-quality black and white images. The Beni Trutmann holdings, both black and white and colour photos, are also from the early sixties. Josep Maria Bassols Terrés's collection of nature and ethnographic documentaries constitute some 900 hours of recorded material.

Noteworthy donations, besides the inaugural gift by Josep Buil Mayral mentioned above, include holds of roughly 85,000 negatives from the seventies and eighties, mostly related to Diario de Ibiza reporting of the day. Taller Estudi Hábitat Pitiús donated their entire collection to AISI two years ago. Other donated material came from yet another local institution whose history on the island spans nearly a century, Foment de Turisme. Plus, two years ago AISI clinched a deal with Centre Excursionista de Catalunya's photo archive to recover photos that had been taken on the island at the turn of the 20th century. Photos from the nineteen-forties can also be found, thanks to a collaborative agreement between AISI and the photographic archives of Pere Català i Roca. The fifties and sixties are documented in holdings from José Torres Andino and Josep Maria Subirà. Also among Subirà's donated material was an award-winning short documentary of a 1959 procession in the town of Sant Miquel. In addition, AISI absorbed the holdings of Eivissa's Arxiu de Cultura Popular when it shuttered.

Some of AISI's standout audio documentation includes interviews recorded on Eivissa and Formentera by Parera Fons and Crivillé in the early seventies, and old 33-, 45- and 75-rpm vinyl records containing mostly traditional music.

AISI also serves a centralised archive of graphic documentation of the Eivissa Council, with recordings of cultural, sporting and community events as well as videotaped plenary sessions.

And, lastly, several recent acquisitions, like Antonito (Eivissa, 1960), a black-and-white production from director Peter Finch, and a home-made documentary, eight minutes in length, shot on the island by Catalan ophthalmologist Francesc Bordás i Salellas in 1927.

The bulk of AISI's mission is, first, to field the many inquiries received concerning loans and licenses for graphic material. Secondly, the leviathan pursuits of inventory, labelling and cataloguing of the graphic material housed in the AISI, not to mention handling, conserving, preserving and, when necessary, restoring; endless hours of scanning and converting recordings from soon to be obsolete media; programming and planning educational outreach opportunities; publishing small monographs and film series; short-term monographic exhibits.

In summary, AISI is home to roughly eighty collections and more than a hundred thousand images in addition to multimedia, audio and documentary archives.

Arxiu d'Imatge i So de Formentera (AISF)

Research, and supporting research efforts, is at the core of the Formentera image and sound archive's mission. AISF's guiding objectives—locating; preserving; studying and spreading the images and sounds of Formentera's historical heritage—buttress a commitment to protecting, furthering and disseminating cultural heritage.

AISF's holdings are divided into six sections: Photographs and postcards; General cinema; Posters and adverts; Audio recordings; AISF productions and publications; Specialist library. Launched a few short years ago in 2010 AISF works with associations and private citizens to collect audio, video, and images of the island.

In 2015, thanks to tireless cataloguing by specially-trained staff, the Formentera Council opened the image and sound archives—l'Arxiu d'Imatge i So—to the public as a loan and donation service.

Most recently, in September 2017 the Formentera Council expanded the reference and consulting service of the island's image and sound archive to include reference information about similar archives with Formentera-related material. Our consultancy services, open to all, cover photo, sound and video.

In that moment drafting began of AISF's directives, with working strategies to find, preserve, research, study and spread the images and sounds of Formentera's documentary legacy. They were adopted in July 2018.

AISF's star holdings:
Fons Melba Levick: 300 slides on two-year loan (open to permanent option). Roughly 80 digital copies, available for consultation, were featured in a July exhibit.

Rafael Bataller holdings: 750 digital images available for consultation, 12-minute super-8 films and two catalogues.

Pere Català i Roca holdings: currently in the works, roughly 80 digital images available for consultation. A related exhibit, and book release, were seen in 2015.

Posters of the Patronat de Cultura (internal transfer). One segment of the series is scanned with images available for consultation.

Beni Trutmann contest holdings (internal transfer).

Helga Sittler holdings: pending signature of partnership, digital copies of images available.

Donated documentary Camping no among material available for consultation.

New exhibit sets out to 'unearth the silence'

foto-desenterrant-el-silenci-1The Formentera Council's culture office announces that at 8.00pm on Friday, Centre Antoni Tur “Gabrielet” will hold the opening of an exhibit on historical memory titled “Desenterrant el silenci”.

Drawing on photos by Sergi Bernal, the exhibit is about uncovering memories of the mass graves left in the wake of the Spanish Civil War. But it is also more than that. It is an attempt to make good on the promise of schoolteacher (mestre) Benaiges to his pupils that once his notebook “El mar” was published he would take them to sea.

The show stems from a teaching philosophy in which the student is at the centre of the learning process. This is also true of the notebooks which the pupils themselves prepared at their school in Bañuelos de Bureba, a small town in Burgos where Antoni Benaiges used the Freinet method (so named for Célestin Freinet).

Since first opening in September 2011 at the civic centre in Les Esmandíes de Mataró, the exhibit has been visited by people in nearly thirty cities and towns across the country.

Day of learning about children, wellness and sport on Formentera

foto nens salut i esportThe culture office of the Formentera Council has selected the department's Sala d'Actes to hold a discussion led by Xavier Cañellas. The gathering will kick off at 9.30am on Saturday October 20, and will focus on the island's so-called “values plan” concerning children, wellness and sport.

Cañellas is a psychoneuroimmunologist, lecturer and professor involved in an array of master's programmes and courses, plus coauthor of “Nens sans, adults sans”.

Often in today's world we're not conscious that our routines and surroundings reflect a fairly stark departure from the natural state of things. Junk food, long days at the office and lack of physical exercise or “sedentariness” are just some of the ways our artificial environment takes a serious toll on our health, often manifesting themselves in the form of allergies, intolerances and mental disorders.

For this Saturday's course, Cañellas will share how to uncover the causes of our ailments instead of merely tackling the symptoms, part of what he calls an “active approach” to healing. Cañellas emphasises the role of dietary and lifestyle changes in restoring wellness and resolving emotional conflicts if real quality of life improvements are desired.

Topics covered during the course will include “Fact and fiction about the food we eat”, “Gut microbiota”, “Sport: a need, not an obligation” and “Children, wellness and sport”.

Ambulantes Teatro y Danza present 'Por unos pasitos de ná' to Formentera audiences

foto-por-unos-pasitos-de-na 1The Formentera Council's department of culture welcomes Por unos pasitos de ná, a dance production for children three and up scoring big-time plaudits from critics and audiences in towns and cities across the country.

A blend of flamenco and contemporary dance, Por unos pasitos de ná plays out as an encounter of three dancers/geometric figures. Two are circular, one is square, all three have got a different shape and dance.

Heeding a celebratory call, the dancers make their way towards a door that the circular ones slip through without a hitch. The problem comes when the square dancer attempts to follow suit; the round door leaves her at a loss. Her fellow dancers encourage her to change her identity, her shape, her dance; but, true to her proud flamenco roots, she is adamant about maintaining her identity and shape. The solution, of course, comes with fun-loving and clown-like dance.

Ambulantes Teatro y Danza weave a fun-filled spectacle in the key of clown, and highlight the importance of identity while promoting respect for people who are different.

The production comes to Formentera as part of PLATEA. Launched in 2014, PLATEA is an initiative of Spain's national institute of performing arts and music, an offshoot of the Spanish ministry of education, culture and sport, and aims to bring top-notch nationwide productions to Formentera theatre-lovers.

The troupe
Ambulantes Teatro y Danza's experience in children's productions spans many years. Their start came adapting youth-friendly texts for the stage, in pieces seasoned with the language of dance. The troupe was trained at Albacete's municipal theatre school and Madrid's Sala Cuarta Pared. Past productions include a child-friendly version of Don Quijote, Pulgarcito (or “Tom Thumb” to English-speaking audiences) and Déjate llevar.

In addition to Saturday's production, Ambulantes Teatro y Danza will offer three workshops to students of Formentera's school of music and dance on Friday evening.

Por unos pasitos de ná makes its début before Formentera audiences this Saturday, October 6 at 6.00pm at the cinema (Sala de Cultura). Tickets for the 50-minute production can be purchased at the box office the day of the function for €3.

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