Thursday, 31 January 2013

Jez Collins on 'activist archivism'

During discussion at the “DIY Preservation” round table held yesterday as part of the ‘Re/soundings: Documenting music and memory’ event in Rotterdam, Professor George McKay (University of Salford) questioned the use of the term DIY to describe the kinds of heritage institutions that I am exploring in this project. His argument was that “DIY is about grassroots, alternative culture and politics” and so using ‘DIY’ in the context of these archives and museums “depoliticizes” the concept.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

"Do-it-together" - a round table on DIY heritage practices

This afternoon I participated in a round table on “DIY Preservation” that was held as part of the ‘Re/soundings: Documenting music and memory’ event in Rotterdam. The round table was billed as a “knowledge exchange” and this turned out to be a very accurate description of what ensued.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The DIY enterprise and issues of sustainability

The fragility of DIY institutions was highlighted for me today following some correspondence with a DIY archivist in the UK. I was saddened to learn that the British Archive of Country Music (BACM) could possibly close its doors if someone isn’t willing to take on this collection of over 500,000 recordings and associated country music artefacts. If this doesn’t happen, the archivist foresees that the collection may very well end up in a tip.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Presentations on DIY archives - Rotterdam, 30 January-1 February 2013

Later his month I will be presenting a plenary paper at the "Popular Music Heritage, Cultural Memory and Cultural Identity" (POPID) conference being held in Rotterdam on 31 January-1 February. The paper, co-written with Alison Huber, comes out of the work we did for the Popular Music and Cultural Memory project and draws on our interviews and fieldwork at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth, New South Wales. Prior to the conference, on 30 January, I will be participating in a round table discussion on "DIY Preservationism" at the Re/soundings Knowledge Exchange Event.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Another publication in the pipeline - the cultural and social functions of the VJA

Another article I co-authored with Alison Huber has been accepted for publication. The article, titled '"Masters of our own destiny": cultures of preservation at the Victorian Jazz Archive in Melbourne, Australia', is scheduled for publication in the journal Popular Music History

Friday, 11 January 2013

Forthcoming publication - a typology of the DIY archive and museum

An article on DIY institutions that I co-authored with Alison Huber has been accepted for publication in the European Journal of Cultural Studies. The article, titled 'Notes Towards a Typology of the DIY Institution: identifying do-it-yourself places of popular music preservation', identifies a series of commonalities that emerge across the DIY institutions we visited for the 'Popular Music and Cultural Memory' project.

Friday, 4 January 2013

What is a DIY institution?

As part of the research undertaken for the project 'Popular Music and Cultural Memory' (DP1092910, 2010-12), I visited a number or popular music archives and museums which encapsulated the spirit of DIY (do-it-yourself). Working with my colleague, Dr Alison Huber, we came to call these places 'DIY institutions' which we define as follows:

DIY institutions are places of popular music preservation, archiving and display that exist outside the bounds of ‘official’ or ‘national’ projects of collection and heritage management. These projects emerge instead from within communities of music consumption, where groups of interested people have, to some degree, undertaken to ‘do-it-themselves’, creating places (physical and/or online) to store -- and, in some cases, display publicly -- the material history of music culture. In these places, people (largely volunteers) who are not expert in tasks associated with archiving, records management, preservation, or other elements involved in cultural heritage management, learn skills along the way as they work to collect, preserve and make public artefacts related to popular music culture. These places are, we argue, suggestive of broader desires from within communities of popular music consumption to preserve popular music heritage. (Baker & Huber, forthcoming)