The Photographic Preservation and Collections Management masters program will start at Ryerson this fall. PHOTO COURTESY CREATIVE COMMONS

Ryerson launches one-of-a-kind program

In Arts & Life /

By Alisha Sawhney

Ryerson’s School of Image Arts announced the launch of a one-of-a-kind masters program for the upcoming school year.

The Photographic Preservation and Collections Management (PPCM) MA degree is the only of its kind in the world, and its specialization in film preservation is a first in Canada.

“There is a tremendous legacy of films from every era that are in danger of being lost if museums and archives don’t learn how to transfer them to digital media,” says Don Snyder, a Ryerson photography professor and one of the co-creators.

According to him, the program comes at a time when the film industry is changing so preparing Ryerson students to adapt will put them at the forefront.

Like photographic preservation, it is now becoming increasingly important that film is handled with the same care and responsibility since the industry is moving away from film as a base medium to electronic, video-based media.

“Analogue imagery needs preservation because these photographs existed before you could even take a picture,” says PPCM director Marta Braun.

The two-year graduate program consists of 12 one-term courses, with an internship and a professional practice thesis project. The internship will give students the practical experience of working with either a private or public film collector, digital media centre, or archival institution that is committed to film restoration and maintenance.

Braun says students can go on to become curators and archivists who work with photography collectors such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Library and Archives Canada. She underlined the need of such occupations as they help to keep our culture and heritage alive.

“What is going to happen to all the films made in Canada? Where will they be stored?”

Snyder echoed the sentiments.

“Ryerson is leading the way in keeping our past from disappearing,” he says. “Documents of the way we lived since 1896 tell us about ourselves, our environment and Canada’s rich history.”

Down the road, Ryerson’s PPCM program hopes to lead in the next step of media archiving by introducing a media preservation program.

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