After undertaking some initial research during the application stage of this residency, there were a few concepts that occurred to me.
What interests me about the Vaughan collection, are the layers of history imbued in the postcards regarding their production and ownership. Evidently these images had an initial photographer, who were he/she? Then they were printed as postcards. Already their purpose has changed, as they become souvenirs and collectable items. They are then collected by Roy Vaughan, who in turn personalised them in his approach to cataloguing and organising them into groups, as part of his personal collection. The postcards are then bequeathed to the Bristol Record Office, where they are digitised and again take on further meaning and purpose as they exist as digital data and become part of the public realm. Currently, the volunteers are taking on ownership and responsibility for these postcards as part of their research. What I find fascinating is that the postcards continue to be examined and cared for; they reveal new things to us about the past and present.
I am interested in what the volunteers experiences are of delving into this archive. What are the volunteers bringing, in terms of their own personal approach and perceptions. What interest me regarding the notion of archiving and collecting is the very processes and forms it takes: cataloguing, montaging, sorting, excavating, making connections, and revealing details. Paying attention to those that are working within the archive would reveal something of these methods. What appeals to me about the Know Your Bristol on the Move project is its remit to widen the participation of those that are selecting, mapping and history writing. The enriched re-mappings that the project brief speaks of in revealing what we deem important relates to my interest in the ‘personal’ archive. Its emphasis is not on utilitarian or capital value but rather that the ‘personal’ archive’s unofficial and subjective nature, functions as a way to recall diverse histories and ideas. I would like to question what happens when we take a new and idiosyncratic look at the archives that are a part of our local institutions. And what impact this has on the status of the archival object in our quest to digitise and re-activate these items.