An article by Erica Charalambous, Centre for Dance Research Coventry University
School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.
What would we be without our archives and who would we be without insight into our history? Afterall “we are what we keep; we keep what we are”, as archivist Terry Cook so eloquently emphasizes when he highlights the important role that archivists and archives have in determining our social, political and cultural history (Cook 2011). In addition, Cook highlights the necessity to rethink that maybe “we are what we do not keep” because certain archival content equally worthy of appraisal and inclusion is not part of the hegemony of institutional archives. Dance content is amongst the lesser archived materials in comparison to the other Arts such as Theatre, Music and Visual Arts, and thus harder to find and make use of what is kept and preserved in an archive or archival collections. To make matters more complex access to such archives is often limited either due to the absence of catalogued material, the limited amount of content one can view in short time visits and the challenges of archival mediation; assisting with access to archival collections and mediating between users and material both on site and online (Duff 2010).
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