On 21-22 September 2006, the Icograda Education Network (IEN) hosted the inaugural Colloquium on Virtual Design Archives in collaboration with the University of Pretoria. It was a participatory, working meeting that was primarily about the sharing of best practices and developing an international framework going forward.

Icograda has long identified the importance of and need for accessible online documentation of communication design history and acknowledges the associated logistical, managerial, technical and financial difficulties in establishing ventures, which are both reputable and sustainable.

In 2003, Icograda decided to lead by example when it announce an agreement with Brighton University UK to be the official archivists of the then forty year old organisation. It was envisaged at the time that this physical archive of Icograda records would eventually have an online dimension. A virtual archive can never replicate the tactile benefits of a physical archive but the accessibility of an online environment to reach to millions of people can not be underestimated.

The colloquium attracted speakers from across the globe including presenters from the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand, Netherlands and Australia:

Content and Context: Creating Meaning in Virtual Environments
Catherine Moriarty, University of Brighton (United Kingdom)

Dutch Archive of Graphic Designers (NAGO)
Karin van der Heiden, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Mirage, Oasis or River?
Problems and Possibilities of Virtual Design Archives

Frances Joseph, School of Art & Design, AUT (New Zealand)

Australian National Design Archive
Russell Kennedy, Icograda Vice President

AIGA Design Archive
Ric Grefe, CEO AIGA (United States)

Virtual Design Archives: Bridges or Barriers?
Dr. Mike Pringle, Surry Institute of Art and Design (United Kingdom)

Virtual Archives in Developing and Third World Economies
Prof. Ian Sutherland, Durban Institute of Technology (South Africa)

The second day was devoted to working sessions exploring issues relating to establishment and operation of a Virtual Design Archive. Topics for discussion included: models for governance of archive councils and membership criteria, curatorial policies and archive categories, intellectual property/copyright, content acquisition, delivery specifications, physical archives and partnership agreements.

Icograda feels a responsibility to help stimulate activity and promote development of educational resourses that will provide a legacy to future generations.

Download the Colloquium programme.

The Colloquium on Virtual Design Archives was presented with the support of the University of Pretoria, Adobe and Bluprint Design.
[Image: Iridescent: Icograda Journal of Design Research - Volume 1]