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Title: Souvenirs from the British Isles : archiving, curating, and collecting in contemporary art practice
Author: Atkinson, Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 7894
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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My interdisciplinary practice-­based research project utilises a theoretical framework of anthropology to explore concepts associated with economic and cultural appropriation in visual art. Through investigating the problematic history of artists appropriating ethnographic objects for use in their own work, the project considers how anthropology could be used to engage audiences in a more collaborative fashion. This thesis also outlines the processes for producing a body of work using the museum strategies of archiving, collecting and curating. This includes aspects of documentation, interpretation, and dissemination through online and offline channels such as blogging and participatory arts. The two main projects included in the thesis, The Imaginary Museum and Souvenirs from the British Isles, consider how audiences can be engaged through the artwork to produce their own interpretations. The Imaginary Museum achieved this through the physical interaction of audiences collecting postcards. Through ascribing a value to the work with the inclusion of a donation box and only having postcards available within the time frame of the exhibition, the audience began to consider the works as both limited edition artworks and souvenirs of the exhibition. Similarly, there was an element of ambiguity between the artwork and souvenir in the Souvenirs from the British Isles exhibition. Here the sculptures took the aesthetic of the souvenir but were presented in the style of museum artefacts which discouraged tactile engagement. This resulted in a more conceptual interaction, with audiences discussing potential interpretations of the work with each other. Both of these works demonstrate a method of engaging with the museum format, which suggests a model for other artists working in and with collections. Through considering the museum framework as a contact zone, I also aim to suggest the possibility of a collaborative form of anthropology, which can express multiple responses and interpretations of the work of art, whilst also addressing the more problematic aspects of cultural appropriation.
Supervisor: Taylor, Christopher ; Rea, William Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available