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Title: Real life stories in everyday objects: approaches and methodologies in the documentation of everyday life through material culture
Author: Purkis, Harriet
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2013
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Museum curators have the potential to make diverse representations of present day everyday life through everyday things. The aim of this research is to demonstrate that everyday objects have a significant role in the recording, representation and communication of everyday life. This thesis contributes to curatorial theory, by suggesting ways and means by which everyday life and things can be 'documented', that is collected, interpreted and displayed. Different theoretical approaches and methods from three bodies of literature are explored, that have a bearing on the primary research question: How can the interpretation, collection, and display of everyday life through present day everyday objects be enhanced in museums and galleries? By synthesizing ideas from different bodies of literature, Material Culture Studies, Everyday Life Studies and Museum Studies, the research brings a new theoretical contribution to the way everyday mass-produced things are curated in museums. A diverse range of approaches documenting present day everyday life with objects is explored through three studies: contemporary art, contemporary collecting in museums, and an exhibition. Methods used include interviews with artists and curators and mounting an exhibition. The first study analyses the meanings and materiality of artworks revealing deeper understandings of the subjective experience of everyday life. The second study evaluates the ethnographic approach to collecting the home by Swedish museums. The third study demonstrates how cultural diversity can be displayed through clothes and personal possessions of twelve individuals, in an exhibition as 'contact zone'. The conclusions are that: documentation of present day everyday life in museums can incorporate the subjective experience of everyday life; concepts of proximity and materiality can contribute to a better understanding of everyday things, and a social history curator of contemporary life can become a bricoleur - an active, creative collector and maker of meanings about everyday life using things.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available