Archive Researchers

Featuring: Shimaa Elsawaby, Cairo

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You are the only ‘Archival Producer’ in Egypt. How did you come to work in that role?

When I was studying in the field of Communications, I looked for training in Non-governmental Media. A company called, “Video Cairo sat,” accepted me. It is the best and oldest private media in Egypt. VCS has a big archive library, and the owner of it, Mr. Mohamed Gohar knows the value of archives and taught me that very well. I was the Archive Librarian there. In 2005, I started a new job with the first private Arab news agency, “ANA” in Egypt. I setup the ANA archive library. Then in 2007, I began work as an archive researcher and set up many archive libraries for companies. I worked for the Al Jazeera offices in Egypt to establish their archive library from 2008 until 2013. 

Could you say a few words about the archival requests for documentary projects with Al Jazeera?

I worked for many Al Jazeera films as an archive researcher, programmer, and producer. Al Jazeera is interested with human stories, history, and political affairs. The most important conditions for archives are quality and licensing.

What is the relationship between Egypt and Archives?

Egypt is the oldest country in the Middle East, and it has a big history. Many agencies and companies are interested in using this history in films. Egyptian television and “” have official archives of presidents and governments. They sell archives, but it’s difficult to find a different kind of archive for the customer. In another way, there are many media agencies and television stations which are easier than Egyptian TV.

Do you often work with researchers from other countries? or on international projects?

I’ve learned many tools as an archive researcher through international agencies and research. I worked for many films about international affairs like the most famous speeches: Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara, Ghandi, United States’ President Nixon, and the French President Jacques Chirac.

In five years from now, what changes do you expect to see in how archival research is conducted and produced in Egypt?

I think Egypt may have more companies interested with archives and its roles.

Which subjects are you most passionate about?

History, culture, society, politics, and sports!

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