Archive, narrative and the construct of place

Bousfield, Neil (2017) Archive, narrative and the construct of place. In: Woodpeckings: Victorian prints, book illustration and word-image narratives, British Museum, 16-17 June 2017, British Museum. (Unpublished)


Historical event, narrative and collective memories are documented, held and imparted within objects, artefacts, archives and things. The narratives we hold and discover inform the memories and experiences that construct a sense of place. Where we live and who we are is inextricably bound to and encompassed within the notion of home and place and the concepts of place identity and place attachment. This paper examines current practice-based research to explore the relationship between contemporary engraving practice, historical artefacts and archives within the emotional construct of place. A discussion is advanced through an understanding of memory, narrative, emotion and place and an argument is presented for archives as “sites of knowledge production.” Archives and historic artefacts are reinterpreted, not as sites for information retrieved, but as repositories of memory and narrative to be re-remembered within practice-based research in order to map unseen landscapes. The image is seen and read through the experiences and identity of an engraver residing by the sea. Hence the significance of the engraved artefact and its ability to be repurposed, represented and reimagined within the context of a contemporary engraving practice in order to integrate the notion of place and identity, and this idea shapes the discussion and the focus of the paper.

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