The Tisch School of the Arts at New York University has announced that it is the recipient of a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the support and development of the School’s new graduate program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) in the Department of Cinema Studies. The program fills a growing need for specialists capable of preserving and managing collections of film, video and new media in archives, museums, libraries and other repositories.

The grant was one of 162 awarded by the NEH for a total of $5.5 million to support humanities preservation efforts nationwide. Moreover it was one of the largest awarded in this round as part of the Endowment’s initiative to take steps to preserve significant books, newspapers, films, audio recordings, papers, and other important records of cultural history, according to its chairman Bruce Cole. Federal matching funds in the amount of $50,000 over two years comprise a portion of the NEH grant to the Tisch School.

“We are extremely grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for its support of our Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts. “There is an urgent need for professionals with knowledge and training who can preserve our country’s rapidly deteriorating moving image material for future generations. The Endowment’s support at this early stage is crucial to the successful development and stabilization of our new Master Degree program.”

“This grant will help us to create a model curriculum,” commented Dr. Howard Besser, director of the pioneering new graduate program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation. “As more and more of our cultural heritage is visual in form, we will be able to train a new generation of professionals who will know how to preserve it.

“The NEH funding will also allow our students to gain hands-on experience working with professionals in libraries, museums, and archives. This is a win-win situation, where humanities collections will get help with their preservation efforts, and our students will gain valuable work experience under the mentorship of professionals,” continued Dr. Besser.

A year ago, the Tisch School announced the creation of its pioneering new Master of Arts Program in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation, and last fall the two-year course of study admitted its first eight students. The MIAP program was created to provide students with a comprehensive education in the theories, methods, and practices of moving image archiving and preservation.

The NEH grant monies will be used to hire consultants to help instructors to fully develop the 2nd year’s curriculum, for stipends for students to gain hands-on work experience in moving-image humanities collections, for a speaker’s series, and for laboratory supplies, among other things.

The goal of the MIAP program is to educate students in every aspect of moving image preservation, and to teach them how to handle film, video, and new media in all types of environments and contexts. The program combines humanities (the history and context of moving images) with sciences and engineering (the technical processes of how the media is created, deteriorates, and restored). Students explore the philosophy of collecting while involved in hands-on work within collecting institutions.

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