Working with Archives

  • Working With Archives Course, 23-24 March 2016

    Courtesy Whitechapel Gallery Archive


Past Event

This event was on Wed 23 and Thu 24 Mar 2016

This two day course offers an introduction into the Archive and explores key questions and areas surrounding it. Chaired by Curator: Archive Gallery Nayia Yiakoumaki with expert guest speakers [Charlotte Brunskill, Dr Renata Peters, Pamela Sepulveda and Naomi Korn], we will:

• discuss the practicalities of working with archives
• confront ethical questions of conservation
• detail the practicalities and approaches of record management
• discuss curatorial questions around the archive and artists working within them
• unpick questions over copyright and authorship
• discuss the digitalisation of archives

Wednesday 23 March

10am Welcome and Introduction by Curator: Archive Gallery Nayia Yiakoumaki.
What it means to programme the archive, background and historical development of Whitechapel Gallery Archive, and outline of upcoming sessions.

10.30am Conservation and Preservation with Dr Renata Peters
Conservation is central to defining how material can be accessed, interpreted and used. This session will discuss the subtleties involved in conservation decision-making processes. This will include interactions between tangible (material fabric, deterioration, stabilization) and intangible (values, biographies, interest groups), the inclusion of different interest groups in decision making, and possible socio-political impacts of these actions. Case studies will be drawn from Indigenous collections, contemporary art and participants’ archives.

12.30pm Open discussion and Q&A with Renata Peters

1pm Lunch

2pm Initial Practicalities and Approaches with Charlotte Brunskill
This session explore the practicalities of works with records in an arts & heritage organisation. Based on first-hand experience, Charlotte Brunskill (who was the first professional Archivist & Records Manager to be employed at both the National Portrait Gallery and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art) explores some of the realities, complexities and issues facing individuals charged with responsibility for records in an arts & heritage organisation, particularly where this role is relatively new.

The session aims to explore some of the issues involved in managing both the institution’s own records and collected archives; suggest key elements required for successful management of records & archive material; outline practical approaches to common situations.

4.30-5pm Q&A and open discussion over informal networking and drinks (optional) 

Thursday 24 March

10am Rights, risks and rewards: understanding copyright and archives, with Naomi Korn
Naomi will examine the role of rights management in archival use and digitisation. She will explore how rights management often means risk management and how risks can be mitigated to enable more access to archival works.

12-12.30pm Open discussion and questions

12.30pm Lunch

1.30pm Meet in Archive Gallery 4 for Curating the Archive with Nayia Yiakoumaki
Curator tour around newly opened exhibition Imprint 93, followed by in depth discussion around curating from archives including:

• the WG’s main archive curatorial strands early examples of artists and curators working with archive material.

• key curatorial questions when working with archives, including flexibility within the art market, ethics and issues of working with artists work posthumously, the politics of the archive including interpretation and curatorial intervention and creation of alternative histories.

• Curating a Magazine: copyright and other areas of interest from the exhibition Aspen Magazine 1965-1971, Whitechapel Gallery.

3.30pm Short break

3.45pm The Future of the Archive with Pamela Sepulveda
New artists’ practices, museums and collections changes and increasing interest in Archives have raised new key issues and questions on Archives. Drawing on some case studies, Archivist Pamela Sepulveda presents how Archives of contemporary art institutions are responding to these new challenges.

4.45-5pm Group discussion and closing thoughts with Pamela Sepulveda and Nayia Yiakoumaki over drinks  (optional)