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Title: Display, interpellation and interpretation : on the development of an artistic gossip practice, in the context of audience interactivity with Nottingham's lace heritage
Author: Donovan, N.
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis raises concerns about current heritage practice regarding notions of inclusivity, the agency of audiences and the authority of heritage institutions, such as museums. Experts including Tony Bennet (1998), Graham Black (2005), and Eileen Hooper-Greenhill (1994) claim that recent developments in heritage practice have directed museums towards offering experiences that invite active, participatory viewing, rather than that which is passive, or merely receptive. Similarly, in the field of contemporary art practice Grant Kester and Claire Bishop argue the importance of audiences’ participation, inclusivity and agency to current approaches. Evidently, certain standpoints within the literature concerned with each of these fields, state an attitude of sensitivity to imbalances of power between audiences and either artistic or heritage practices. However, this thesis recognizes and demonstrates that authoritative, or hierarchical approaches to audiences exist within each field, and guided by poststructurally informed theoretical perspectives, it confronts these approaches. Moreover, this thesis claims to establish a unique, interactive and practical autoethnographic approach to artistic research, which supported by its theoretical perspectives, generates non-authoritative and democratic methods. In particular, this thesis establishes that, dialogical engagement prompted by audiences’ responses to artistic situations and aesthetic objects, results in non-authoritative, or democratic encounters with heritage and contemporary art. Consequently, the contributions to knowledge that this thesis makes foreground a new dialogical art practice identified as ‘gossip practice’, whereby interactive co-authorship of new oral artifacts is generated through informal and empathic relating. Additionally, through the thesis’ theoretical framing of this study’s newly identified ‘gossip practice’ within the concepts of performativity and everyday social acting, it makes a new contribution to the established literature on ‘heritage performance’ (see Jackson & Kidd 2011) and ‘intangible heritage’ (see Smith 2006, 2008). This thesis also contributes a new model for approaches to Nottingham’s lace heritage, whereby audiences’ encounters with combined material objects and sensory experience facilitate open ended, participant directed interactivity. As well, the thesis contributes a new model for exhibition preview events that, through consultation with diverse communities, offers a democratic and inclusive approach to audiences. Finally, with regard to Nottingham lace in particular, this thesis contributes new models for the public display of heritage artifacts, and in doing so presents alternatives to conventional, authoritative approaches that, conceptually and physically separate audiences from artifacts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available