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Collecting Change/Changing Collections: diversity and friction in contemporary archive and museum collecting in London

Lee-Crossett, Kyle Alexander; (2020) Collecting Change/Changing Collections: diversity and friction in contemporary archive and museum collecting in London. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The research in this thesis asks: What is being done with ‘diversity’ in collections practice? Diversity and representation have been on the agenda of public archives and museums for the past twenty years or more. Despite this, there is a sense that these issues have remained on the margins, with little progress having been achieved in key areas. This PhD investigates the lack of impact of diversity in what is often referred to as the ‘heart’ or ‘core’ of archives and museums: their collections. Although institutions claim to value diversity and representation, they are not frequently associated with or examined in reference to the work of this central, enduring area. This research follows contemporary collecting work in social and natural history that is invested in increasing the representation of underrepresented groups, comparing biodiversity and cultural diversity. Does bringing in material from previously underrepresented groups impact how the collection is conceptualised and managed? Building on the work of Sara Ahmed (2012), the thesis views diversity as not only about the variety or representativeness of a collection, but also about the ability of institutions to change their management and governance. Because diversity is a mobile concept, intended to be applicable across all types of public institutions, the thesis examines a range of different types of archives and museums in London through interviews, participant observation, and workshops with practitioners. The thesis proposes critical descriptive models that establish how diversity and representation have been both incorporated and contained (or neutralised) through collections practice. As part of the Heritage Futures research project (Harrison et al. 2016; Harrison et al. forthcoming) it also considers the implications of how the selection and preservation and particular kinds of diversity shape futures for conservation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Collecting Change/Changing Collections: diversity and friction in contemporary archive and museum collecting in London
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request. - Some third party copyright material has been removed from this e-thesis.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097629
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