Theatre Collection Performing the Archive: the future of the past

gwr logo Funded by Great Western Research, Performing the Archive: the future of the past is a three year research project based in the University of Bristol Theatre Collection Live Art Archives and the Arnolfini Live archives of Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol), partnered with Exeter University Department of Drama.

The project's primary focus is to develop the interrelationship and interactivity between the archives and the communities of practitioners and scholars: to extend how academics and artists use documents of performance to inflect and inspire their own particular concerns.

Research in performance and liveart practices faces the fundamental methodological problem of documentation. In many cases the live event can only be the subject of scholarly or creative investigation through some kind of document. When ‘liveness’ is the crucial characteristic under investigation, accessing the events through such documentation becomes problematic. By collaborating with practitioners and producers of innovative performance, the project will aim to identify best practice through compiling case studies in effective documentation.

Although archives of contemporary experimental work have been collected over the past twenty years, a second aim of the project will be to develop appropriate methodologies and taxonomies for engaging with these. This will necessarily involve new digitally based and user generated patterns of knowledge formation.

Finally, the project will investigate how the Bristol based archives can be made available as a resource for both creative industry and scholarly exploitation: how the rich knowledge exchange between practitioners and scholars in this field can be enhanced through greater engagement with the conceptual and material nature of the archive. Specifically, exploring the theme of “revival” or “reconstruction”, the project will work towards an international festival and conference based on new commissions which repurpose the archives.

Dr Paul Clarke is the Research Fellow on the Performing the Archive: the future of the past project.

Performing the Archive: the future of the past details
(link to Arnolfini's Wiki of the project).
Return to the top of the page
Return to the Live Art Archives Home page