This project studies radio archival collections in Europe during and after World War II, and studies the processes by which these collections were created, archived, circulated and used. It proposes a tripartite model for studying sound archival collections in terms of their 1) transformation, 2) relocation and 3) valorisation. The project combines insights from archival and information studies, heritage studies and media studies, and contextualises these collections that were created under conditions of war, occupation and reconstruction. 

Sound collections in European radio were largely formed in national institutions. We posit that the first decades of radio collections – invested with political, cultural and economic value – offers a rich case. A comparative analysis of radio collections between 1930-1960 – focussing on radio collections in Western and Central/Eastern Europe – will test this thesis and reveal dominant patterns in the storage, circulation and valorisation of early radio recordings across Europe. 

The insights from this project will contribute directly to the understanding of radio archival collections today by providing a historical perspective on cultural collections during and after war, and offering a novel approach for how to map transnational dynamics of collections in a comparative European framework. 

This research project is funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), and is hosted by the Department of Media Studies and Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture.