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Title: Excavating the archive : heritage-making practices in Cornwall's clay country
Author: Raxworthy, R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 9652
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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In 1999 English China Clays (the then principal china clay producer in Cornwall and west Devon) was acquired by the multinational industrial minerals company Imerys. Shortly after, a group of concerned clay workers and local historians came together in a salvage mission to recover historical documents which had been deemed expendable during the business takeover. Together they ransacked offices and emptied filing cabinets collecting historic documentation about the industry. In the eighteen years that have followed, the china clay industry and its associated landscape have undergone immense change and transformation. Meanwhile, that small band of individuals has grown into the China Clay History Society (CCHS). CCHS is now in the process of formalising their salvaged collection, with curatorial expertise from the Wheal Martyn Museum (of which the CCHS is a component part). In this thesis, the CCHS archive and its associated community relationships are examined in relation to experiences of past loss, present instability, and the hope of future renewal. Over an extended period of participant observation working alongside the caretakers of the archive, I explored the different practices of collecting, sorting, and valuing which are making and remaking china clay heritage in mid-Cornwall. Drawing on heritage studies and past studies of collecting, as well as professional museum and archival scholarship, this thesis emphasises the role that practice and material relationships play in the assembling of heritage (Macdonald 2009). Two distinct modes of ordering (Law 1994; 2004) - 'Passion' and 'Purpose' - are identified as central to this research, which aims to show how different practices of collecting and valuing have profound implications for the ways china clay heritage may be performed in the future.
Supervisor: DeSilvey, C. ; Tregidga, G. Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available