IAML 2023: our learnings in preparation for IAML 2024

University of Cambridge, Faculty of Music

The annual Congress of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML) was hosted by the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, from 30 July – 4 August 2023.

Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service will host IAML 2024 and in preparation for the congress four members of the local organising committee (LOC), Ellen Tise, Beulah Gericke-Geldenhuys, Santie de Jongh and Wilhelm Delport (University of Cape Town), attended IAML 2023 in Cambridge. The congress hosted approximately 350 delegates.

The main purpose of attending the congress was to gain knowledge of how an IAML congress is structured and organised, and to talk to organisers, sponsors, board members and delegates.

IAML programmes in general consist of a professional and social programme for delegates and accompanying persons. The Programme Officer takes responsibility for the programme and liaises with the LOC regarding local content. At IAML 2023, paper and poster topics included open access, teaching and learning, histories, technologies, and music collections.

The Opening ceremony at Trinity College

The social programme included the opening ceremony and reception, concerts, Wednesday excursions and the congress dinner.

King’s College

The opening ceremony, the concerts and the farewell dinner were in different locations in Cambridge. As no transport was provided we had to walk everywhere – which was not a problem as Cambridge is beautiful and finding our way to all the venues was no effort at all!  We in fact used every opportunity we had to explore this picturesque university town.

We were spoilt for choice when it came to Wednesday excursions and punting on the River Cam was a definite highlight!

Punting on the River Cam

Except for the more informal conversations with sponsors and organisers, the LOC members had lunch with IAML Board members and attended the Forum of Sections meeting where the organisers of IAML 2023 shared their experiences with us. Technical support was one of their biggest challenges as expectations of presenters differed from what the organisers were able to provide. Their feedback and our observations will be of great value when it comes to organising IAML 2024.

It was a very busy week, but definitely a very successful fact-finding mission!

Streets of Cambridge
A repurposed iconic red phone booth: a book drop

Beulah Gericke-Geldenhuys and Santie de Jongh

 Photographs: Beulah Gericke-Geldenhuys and Santie de Jongh