This article introduces the work of the volunteer-run, 'DIY institution': the Victorian Jazz Archive (VJA), located in Melbourne, Australia. This archive was set up in 1996 by a community of jazz enthusiasts who saw a need for an archival facility to house the growing volume of jazz ephemera otherwise in danger of being lost from the public record. The VJA survives on a small budget that relies on grants, donations and membership fees, and remains open and accessible only through the generosity of an army of volunteers dedicated to preserving this music's material history.
Drawing on fieldwork conducted at the archive in 2011 and 2012 as part of the 'Popular Music and Cultural Memory' project, including in-depth interviews with fourteen volunteers, the article explores some of the cultural and social functions of this informal institution. It describes the ways in which volunteers perceive the importance of vernacular knowledge to the task of archiving jazz, and what this might mean for the sustainability of the VJA.
Further details about this article will be posted closer to the publication date.