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Title: Curating music curation
Author: Sepko, Delaina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 2247
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2015
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National cultural heritage institutions are charged with representative preservation of their countries’ cultural materials and the ways their staff undertake preservation activities impact to whom and how these materials are representative. Music is hailed as an integral part of a nation’s cultural heritage, but while aspects of its preservation are individually understood, their combined treatment in cultural institutions — music curation — and its ability to alter concepts of national identity are not. Consequently, we must ask how does music curation influence notions of national identity? By answering this question, this thesis seeks to contribute to our understanding of the ways that national cultural heritage institutions shape and promote a sense of national community. Since its beginning in 1800, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. has adopted several roles: a congressional resource; a copyright repository; a research centre; a hub for and leader in the library community; and cultural heritage institution. These combine to make the Library of Congress the de facto national library of the United States. However, these roles are not inherently congruent and in some instances undermine each other. Additionally, music has not always been easily integrated into its mission and its collections. Functioning as a national library, the Library of Congress potentially performs significant roles in the preservation and presentation of music, activities that make it an appropriate case study for investigating how music curation affects notions of national identity. Therefore, this work is structured in the following way: first, it offers an historical overview of the Library of Congress’ three music related departments — the Music Division, the American Folklife Center and the Recorded Sound component of the Motion Picture, Broadcast and Recorded Sound Division — to illuminate political, cultural and aesthetic forces that shaped their developments and their approaches to music curation. Second, it presents Howard Becker’s art world as the analytical framework by which this thesis critically engages narrative and identity theories. Third, employing the Library of Congress as a case study, it then investigates eight music curation narratives and juxtaposes them against its image as a cultural heritage institution. Narratives, gathered during semi-structured interviews and presented as interpretive stories, provide a focused insight into the tensions between staff and institution as well as institution and projected notions of national identity. In the context of music curation, this thesis’ conclusions illustrate a gap between the Library of Congress’ iconic image and its actual image, one that is perpetuated by its focus on research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: F001 United States local history ; M Music ; Z665 Library Science. Information Science