VRAF News & Events

VRA Foundation Awards the Second 2011 Project Grant

Monday, December 12, 2011

December 12, 2011

The Board of Directors of the Visual Resources Association Foundation (VRAF) is pleased to announce the award of its second VRAF Project Grant to the North Carolina Folklife Institute (NCFI), in support of its project "Documenting Usage Rights to the North Carolina Folklife Institute Image Archive." The amount of the award is $1,500.

Since The North Carolina Folklife Institute was founded in 1974 to preserve and promote the traditional cultures of North Carolina, it has gathered an extraordinary archive of more than 30,000 photographs documenting the State's folklife, from traditional craft and music to the occupational heritage and culinary traditions of its many diverse communities. With a mandate to make these resources available to the public, the Institute has been carefully cataloging the collection and planning for its digitization for its website (www.ncfolk.org). As with many collections, however, the rights and terms of use of the collection's images are, as Interim Executive Director, Joy Salyers, puts it, "at best, ambiguous, and often unknown."

Currently, when the Institute receives image requests from the public, it has to undertake a multi-stage process of obtaining permission from both photographers and subjects. As Ms. Salyers says: "The unwieldiness of this process has, until now, prevented us from accepting opportunities to take part in major statewide digitization projects."

The VRAF Project Grant will be used to engage folklorist Sally Council, who has cataloged the collection and produced several finding aids for it, to research the rights status of all photographs, create a new release agreement, and establish one consistent, collection-wide permission status. "The VRAF Grant perfectly met our needs for this small but strategically vital component of our project," said Salyers. “Having clarity on our photo rights will not only make it easier for us to have our photos digitized and made publicly available online, it will immediately increase our ability to confidently use our archive in public programming and help others to do so as well."

NCFI is preparing a Spring 2012 exhibition of the folklife photographs of Cedric Chatterley, one of NCFI's notable photographers, designed to raise public awareness of the archive and of the breadth and quality of its materials.
On behalf of the Visual Resources Association Foundation, Board of Directors Chair Elisa Lanzi commented that members of the review committee were impressed by the clarity of NCFI's project submission, and by its understanding of the key role of clarifying intellectual property rights and permission status of work that will be made available online.

The VRAF Project Grant is awarded twice a year. Its purpose is to provide support for projects in the field of visual resources and image management that are consonant with the VRA Foundation mission. Up to $1,500 will be awarded per grant. The funds may be used for small, stand-alone projects, pilots or start-up financing for larger projects, or for a component of a larger project. Collaborative projects and those proposed by groups, whether or not affiliated with an organization or institution, are favored.

Project proposals may be submitted at any time during the year. The Foundation reviews and selects projects for funding twice a year, in April and November.

Elisa Lanzi, Chair
VRA Foundation

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