Performing Memory: Art Community, Archive & St Ives


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This is my PhD research workspace. I am using this blog as a repository for my research, to make it easier to catalogue physical and virtual information together to create my own archive. It’s a replacement for notebooks, as well as an addition to them. As such, it is made up of experiences, memories, scraps of information, unformed ideas and unfinished bits of writing. It is also a way of creating and extending my community through networks and connections, reflecting my research interest in exploring the networks and connections in creative communities in St. Ives, Cornwall and beyond.

My research aims to draw on and develop the existing history of the art colony in St. Ives. Instead of examining the art colony in isolation (or connected geographically to other art colonies), I am looking at notions of ‘art community’ or ‘creative community’, which better describes the links – and disjunctions – between creative practitioners and the communities, individuals and groups, places and spaces in which they operate. Artists themselves conceptualised Cornwall as place of creative isolation, obscuring networks and creative practice within local communities.

As research fellow at the St. Ives Archive, one of the aims of my work is to find new ways for people to engage with archive material. This project explores the potential of digital technology and creative, cultural and historical practice to disseminate and develop archives and collections, bringing them to wider audiences. I’m interested in how technology can help perform memory in particular spaces, moving beyond the textual to relocate memory in time and place, where it can be encountered, re-discovered, developed or re-imagined in ways that are social and subjective, physical and emotional.

This interdisciplinary research aims to rethink notions of what an art community is from within, using the space between experience and memory to creatively examine narratives of history, place and identity.  It draws on theories of individual and collective memory, cultural history, the phenomenology of memory, cultural geography and new media practices, and uses the Memory Bay oral history archive in St Ives (a collaboration between UCF, Tate St. Ives, St. Ives Archive, Leach Pottery and Porthmeor Studios) to explore how art and cultural practice, past and present, connects individuals and communities, and how memory and identity is intertwined with and performed through space and place.

Examining notions of connected communities past and present, local, national and international, it builds on the Heritage Lottery Funded Memory Bay project about ‘art community’ in St Ives, which has been developed as a collaboration between UCFTate St. Ives, the St. Ives Archives Trust, Leach Pottery and Porthmeor Studios.

Written by JS101092

October 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm

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