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Title: Socialising the archive : art and archival encounters
Author: Scott-Cumming, Patricia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 1042
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2017
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Within fine art practice the archive is referred to and drawn on by artists in many different ways, including referencing processes of collection and accumulation to create new work and engaging with documents to create narratives that contest mainstream histories. This practice based research sheds light on the backstage of archival engagement and knowledge production processes. Following the trajectory of a single artist’s encounter with a particular institutional archive, The Baring Archive, and the onward encounters this precipitates, this thesis explores how knowledge is negotiated and archival authority sustained, at the intersection of multiple forces; by human actors coming into contact with documents under particular conditions, localities, habits, protocols, exchanges, loyalties, emotions, personalities and more. Rooted in embedded art practice, the research articulates a series of performative experiments undertaken in The Baring Archive to reveal the conventions underpinning knowledge production in this instance, focusing on the relationship between the artist (as archive user) and the archivist. The research evolves iteratively to test whether these normative roles and agencies can be reformulated to shift patterns of narrative control concerning The Baring Archive away from the archivist as a gatekeeper or privileged interpreter to other interpreters, with the aim of democratising processes of knowledge production. Through testing out different devices for keeping archival interpretation open, the research arrives at a formulation for distributed authorship, and an understanding of how positionality affects the knowledge production process. The research finally identifies how findings relating to archival dynamics can be applied to effect a redistribution of power in artistic practice more generally, in situations where artists are working with participants or audiences to create narratives at the intersection of events and documents.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archive studies ; Fine Art