Friday, 17 July 2015

Abstract accepted for the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia conference, December 2015

The 2015 conference of the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia will be held this December at the University of Melbourne. The conference theme is 'Minor Culture', so one of particular relevance to a project that is looking at archival practices occurring outside mainstream heritage institutions. The conference will be a great opportunity to share some key findings that have emerged from this research and to get feedback from the cultural studies scholarly community.

The following paper has been accepted for inclusion in the conference programme:

Do-it-yourself institutions of popular music heritage: the grassroots preservation of popular music’s material past in community archives, museums and halls of fame

Sarah Baker (Griffith University)

World-wide a burgeoning number of volunteer-run do-it-yourself (DIY) archives and museums are preserving the vernacular, local and global experiences of popular music's material past. Little is known about the characteristics of these archives and museums in a collective sense. This paper summarises the findings of several research projects that examined the ways in which cultural memory is captured within community archives. Specifically, this paper details the outcomes of a database that compiled information gathered on 41 community archives, museums and halls of fame. This paper discusses such things as geographical location, funding, staffing, mission statements, and the focus of collections. The analysis of this information reveals that many DIY institutions have similar characteristics, such as building types, and preservation aims, and face recurring challenges including funding issues and an ageing volunteer workforce. In summarising the properties of a large number of DIY institutions, the paper highlights the extent and significance of grassroots preservation activities that exist in parallel to the activities of mainstream heritage institutions.

Keywords: do-it-yourself institutions; community archives; community museums; popular music heritage; volunteers; halls of fame