BISA Conference 2019

The 2019 BISA Conference will be held in Dublin from 15-16 November 2019 and preceded by a Training Day on Thursday 14th November. It will be co-hosted by RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) and UCD (University College Dublin) National Folklore Collection.

The very first BISA meeting was held at RTÉ in 2006; and 2019 will be BISA's third conference in the Republic.



Thursday 14th November: Training Day -

An optional Training Day in UCD and RTÉ, focussing on cultural podcasting and making documentaries. Maximum capacity: 15 persons per session (limit of one attendee per institution). The Training Day is now fully booked, sorry.

10.15 - 1200 at University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4

Jonny Dillon, Archivist, National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin: Creating a Cultural Podcast

The National Folklore Collection UCD introduced its Blúiríní Béaloidis ('Folklore Fragments') podcast in April 2017, and it has since logged over 85,000 plays. Its creator Jonny Dillon will provide an introductory overview of the practical steps required for the creation of the podcast, guiding attendees through the process from initial research, planning, recording and editing, to final distribution, promotion and evaluation. The presentation will draw on archival sound recordings held at the National Folklore Collection.


1430 - 1700 at RTÉ Radio Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Speakers TBC: Sound Archives and the art of documentaries

RTÉ Radio's prize-winning documentary team talk about the craft behind radio documentaries; how to use the techniques of storytelling and dramaturgy to make the most compelling listening, e.g. where to begin and where to end a story,  what stories succeed, etc. Examples of documentaries that pivot around material obtained from sound archives are examined and critiqued. The training concludes with a Q&A session around the theme of how sound archives can be informed by the art of radio documentary making in the promotion of their services.


Note: we aim to congregate after 6pm in The Cobblestone, at the top of Smithfield Square (map on this page), for evening drinks with traditional music. It's a 15-minute walk from the city centre. A Thursday night in Dublin is always busy, so we recommend that you arrive early!


Radio Centre in RTÉ
Radio Centre in RTÉ


RTÉ Radio Centre
Radio Centre in RTÉ


Friday 15th November: BISA conference, Day 1

The programme of talks and presentations will run from 0900-1700 hours. The venue is the 100-seat Lecture Theatre at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle. The address is: The Chester Beatty Library, The Clock Tower Building, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, D02 AD92.

Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle
Chester Beatty Library

Lunch and refreshments will be provided in the Chester Beatty Library's restaurant, the Silk Road Café:

A provisional programme is below.

09.00 Registration, tea + coffee

09.30 Welcome

10.00 Fionnuala Parfrey (Irish Traditional Music Archive) & Michel Merten (Memnon): Developing a New Strategy for Preservation and Access – A Case Study from the Irish Traditional Music Archive

10.40 Andy Linehan (The British Library): Let’s get digital – acquiring commercial releases for the British Library’s Popular Music collection

11.20 Dr. Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh (University College Dublin): Acetate Disc Recordings in the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin

12.00 Lunch break

13.30 Dr. Tomás Mac Conmara: Oral Tradition and the Irish War of Independence

14.10 Malachy Moran (RTÉ): The Connemara Community Radio Digital Archive project

14.50 Tea + coffee

15.10 Naomi Harvey (National Library of Scotland): Exploring the impact of access to sound archives on traditional song practice in Scotland

15.50 Donal McAnallen (National Museums NI), Katie Scaife (Bristol Culture), David Baldwin (London Metropolitan Archives): Engaging audiences with sound recordings - case studies from Unlocking Our Sound Heritage

16.30 BISA AGM

17.00 Close

After hours: for Friday evening, we have a reserved some places for 5.30pm in a nice French restaurant close to the Chester Beatty called Chez Max Palace Place (see map of BISA 2019 venues). Other options will be announced during the meeting.


Saturday 16th November: BISA conference, Day 2

Visits to the Irish Traditional Music Archive and the Contemporary Music Centre.

1000 - 1100 The Contemporary Music Centre, Fishamble Street, Dublin 1.

The Contemporary Music Centre (CMC) is Ireland's archive and resource centre for new music, supporting the work of composers throughout the Republic and Northern Ireland. (maximum 50 places)

1130 - 1230 Irish Traditional Music Archive, 73 Merrion Square, Dublin 2

ITMA’s aims are to collect all the materials of Irish traditional music and to make a representative collection of the traditional music of other countries; to preserve these materials indefinitely for present use and for future generations; to organise the information and materials held by the Archive; and to make the materials and information held as widely available as possible to the general public, consistent with the preservation of material and within the limitations of copyright law and Archive resources. (maximum 24 places)