The Life Stories of Brazilians are Immortalised in the World Arctic Archive

The following information has been released by The Museu da Pessoa, and we spread it with permission of the professionals involved. This is exciting reading for all who are interested in archives and/or personal narratives.

São Paulo, February 13th 2019. The Museu da Pessoa, one of the first online museums in the world and boasting a digital archive made up of more than eighteen thousand life stories and sixty thousand images that call back to the Brazilian oral memory of the last two centuries, was invited to deposit 100 hours of its archive in the World Arctic Archive, a repository for the memory of the world based in the remote Svalbard island, in Norway. The ceremony for the delivery of the content will take place on the 21st of February.

The superintendent director of the Museu da Pessoa, Karen Worcman, will take an extract of the “Memória de Brasileiros e Brasileiras” (Memory of Brazilian Men and Women) collection, which is made up of more than 2000 digitised photographs and 300 life stories, recorded between 2006 and 2016. These stories were recorded during many expeditions that travelled through 42 cities and 14 states throughout the national territory. Additionally, 11 interviews made with indigenous leaderships of various ethnicities in Brazil will be included, as the importance of the traditional knowledge of the native peoples in the development of Brazilian culture and the current threat to the native peoples is recognised. The content was chosen as homage to the International Year of Moderation and Indigenous Languages, chosen by the United Nations (UN) for the year of 2019.

“The World Arctic Archive preserves that which is the most precious for humanity. To include the memory of our country through the stories of regular people is a Brazilian innovation and it means understanding the value of each person in the construction of a society. In 500 years, the way of life, thoughts and feelings of Brazilian people of all backgrounds, classes, regions and sorts will be known through this democratisation of memory,” Worcman explains.

Amongst the testimonies that will go to the Arctic are those of Ailton Krenak, an indigenous leader, environmentalist and writer; Geraldo Prado, creator of the largest rural library in the world; Valdete Cordeiro, laundress and creator of the “Meninas de Sinhá” (“Madam’s girls”), a group that brings together elderly women from the peripheries of Belo Horizonte to sing together traditional Brazilian folk songs; Alphonse Wanyembo, a refugee from the Congo and a teacher, taking part in the “Abraço Cultural” (“Cultural Hug”) project, which employs refugees as teachers of their native languages; Elenice Fernandes, a victim of modern slavery; Laerte, one of the most important and well-known cartoon artists in Brazil; Amyr Klink, Brazilian seafarer, lecturer, writer and the first to traverse the South Atlantic ocean in 1984; and Joselita Cardoso, the national leader of refuse paper collector.

The stories in the Museu da Pessoa vary from the construction of the Brazilian capital Brasília to the traditions of the riverside population of the Amazon; memories of slave labourers to the migratory process of the country; the details of the creative process of the doll makers from the Jequitinhonha Valley and the shared knowledge of professional holy women, who pray and provide blessings and midwives.

The World Arctic Archive is a disaster-proof safe, located in an arctic mountain, one of the most geologically stable places in the world. It was created to guarantee the survival of the world’s digital memories so that they are available for future generations. The project is a collaboration between Piql, a company that specialises in long-term digital preservation, and the Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani, a state-owned mining Norwegian company based in Svalbard.

The deposit is a safe place in which the data will be available when all other systems fail, as technology currently stores digital data (in bits and bytes) in photosensitive 35mm film that will, in the future, be extracted manually with a camera, a source of light and a computer that can last for more than 1000 years, making its access a guarantee.

Various nations and organisations have already stored their most valuable data in the Archive, including precious manuscripts from the Vatican’s Library, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Albert Einstein’s lectures, contemporary art pieces, the Brazilian Lei Áurea (the law that abolished slavery in Brazil) and many other memories.

“We think of the World Arctic Archive as a way to guarantee we will never lose items that hold historical and cultural value. The items contribute to a rich image of what was our era for future generations,” Piql’s administrative director Rune Bjerketrand explains.

The  BNDES – the National Economic and Social Development Bank  recognised the value of the Museu da Pessoa, as the innovation it represents in the field of preservation of Brazilian heritage and, because of it, decided to support the digitisation of its archive, including the part of the collection that will be stored in the Arctic. ” This is about building up our identity and our history through stories of common people that were narrated by them.  We name this the Social Technology of Memory. For this reason we believe that these important collections are our asset,  says Luciane Gorgulho, chefe do departamento de educação do BNDES.

About the Museu da Pessoa

The Museu da Pessoa is an online and collaborative museum that houses life stories. Founded in 1991, it is one of the first online museums in the world. It’s goal is to contribute to a culture of peace by cherishing each person’s story as a heritage of humanity, making them sources of knowledge, understanding and connection between people and societies.

The museum was conceived and created in Brazil and, today, it has a digital archive consisting of around eighteen thousand life stories and around sixty thousand photographs and documentations of Brazilians that narrate the daily life in Brazil in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The thought of making it that every and any person is at the same time a visitor, a curator and archive possible in the museum has been carried out by using collaborative tools in their online platform and by disseminating their methodology. The museum’s educational program is based on a social technology of systematised in order to allow autonomous projects on memory in schools, communities, organisations and groups throughout the country. Based on this social technology, the Museu da Pessoa was present in 1292 schools, training 2105 teachers and 49102 students in 33 municipalities.

Throughout its journey, the Museu da Pessoa has carried out around 264 projects on memory in the areas of entrepreneurial memory, communal development and culture. It has inspired the creation of three centres outside Brazil (Portugal, Canada and The United States of America) and has led national and international campaigns for the appreciation and valorisation of life stories.

About the World Arctic Archive

The World Arctic Archive, based on the remote Svalbard island in Norway, is a storage for the world’s memory. It is situated inside an arctic mountain inside a disaster-proof safe in the most stable geopolitical place of the world, and the data stored there will last centuries.

The Archive is a collaborative effort between Piql and the Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani, a state-owned mining Norwegian company based in Svalbard, with a vast experience and resources to build and maintain the vaults in the mountain.

It was developed so that it is guaranteed that our digital memory will be available for future generations, in a world where few places are protected from natural and manmade disasters.

The Global Seed Vault is to factories what the Archive is to the digital heritage of the world and other valuable data – a safe place where the data will be available after all other systems have failed.

Norway, Brazil and Mexico were the first nations to deposit some of its most important data in 2017, and since then there have been more and more nations and organisations choosing to store their most precious data in the Archive.

This includes precious manuscripts from the Vatican’s Library, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Albert Einstein’s lectures, contemporary art pieces, photographs that capture historical moments and many other memories.


About Piql

Piql is specialised in the digital long-term preservation and is the organisation behind the World Arctic Archive.

It has the support of the EU Horizon 2020 program, and it offers personalised services to a variety of sectors, including the historical and memory sector, audiovisual sectors, private companies and governments. It is a global innovating company, headquartered in Norway, with disruptive technology and proven solutions for archives and long-term data management.

The Brazilian Museum of the Person deposited an extract from the “Memória de Brasileiros e Brasileiras” collection, composed of more than 2000 digitised photos and 300 life stories recorded between 2006 and 2016. The stories were recorded in expeditions that passed through 42 cities in 14 states of the Brazilian territory. In addition to that, by understanding the value of traditional knowledge for the development of Brazilian culture and the current threat to indigenous peoples, 11 interviews with indigenous leaders from different ethnic groups in Brazil will also be included. The content was chosen in honor of the International Year of Moderation and Indigenous Languages chosen by the United Nations for 2019.

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2019-03-01T12:57:24+00:0014. 01. 2019|Aktuelt/forside ENGLISH|