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Performance as Knowledge graphic spacer Wednesday 3 May 2006
The Portico Rooms
Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA




Transcripts – Edit 1

ResCen Seminar: Performance As Knowledge – #3
Rapporteurs Comments

Speakers:

Guy Baxter (GB)
Alda Terracciano (AT)
Michael Huxley (MH)
Susan Melrose (SM)
Andrew Stewart (AS)
Lois Keidan (LK)
Guy Baxter (GB)
Daisy Abbott (DA)

Speakers not identified by name on transcription tape referred to as Man or Woman

Transcriber: Christine McLachlan


MH: Our group was Learning Experience, Innovative Use of Archives. I’m going to address that in four ways. Firstly, we talked for quite some time about where the learning experience actually takes place, and also came up with some strikingly obvious things that happen in the archives. They happen also in the education sector; in that case, however, we looked at these quite broadly. Although we talked about postgraduate and undergraduate students at the age eighteen and Further Education. We also extended that discussion to include the suggestion that you can extend that range back, when it comes to a relationship with an archive, to the age of about ten: get them interested early. Of course, artists are involved in education and learning, but there is clearly a formal education sector, whatever that may be, and people working as artists beyond that sector. So, you have three places where the learning experience takes place and talked [in detail] about the relationships between those.

In some institutions, there’s a very happy co-incidence that there’s [???both???] an [???eight-year??? HE???] institution with an archive. Consequently, you can have particular learning experiences tailored to that archive; you can run a module based on that archive. Students in that case are already where the archive is; elsewhere, you have a much more difficult situation, where you have an [???eight-year???] institution which may or may not know about an archive at the other end of the country and an archive which doesn’t know about that institution. We talked about ways of bringing those institutions together in more satisfactory ways, which led to a discussion about the nature of the learning experience. From that, I’d like to isolate four things. Firstly, we looked at the need for a very flexible approach to exactly what the students are going to be engaged with, flexible both in terms of how students approach the material and what sort of material is actually given to them – in other words, giving students sufficient material in a structured way to allow them to come up with flexible interpretations themselves. Secondly, we talked about diversity, which relates to the first point. Thirdly, we talked about multi-faceted materials and the importance of giving students not just text but visual, oral and audio materials, and giving it to them in such a way that they can juxtapose them. And they can come up with relationships which they wouldn’t otherwise have thought of: that is, not just giving students a video tape to look at and telling them a bit about somebody, but rather enabling them to look at a moving visual image, a still image and a bit of text, to move those around and to see how they can be juxtaposed to extract new meanings from them. The fourth point concerned how digitisation can enhance [such juxtaposition], which can be done on a DVD, on a CD-ROM, on a web page.

So that was the second phase, looking at the actual nature of the learning experience. We all shared that interest, so naturally moved onto the whole question of innovation. In talking about [the variety of ] learning experiences and where they take place, people mentioned all sorts of experiences they have had. Out of those, we came up with a long phrase concerning “an expanded ecology of the relationships between learning institutions, artists and companies and archives based around specific works.” In other words, the idea is one of taking specific works – whether dance, drama, music theatre – and then finding learning institutions (I use that term deliberately, rather than HE), an archive or archives and a company who is involved in that work, and building up the relationship between them and then adding further archives or further institutions or further companies to that [grouping]. [???So you had …?… wanted to call it …?… or we called …?…, whereby each were swapping and sharing information …?… more em information about that particular work. Em we’d stressed that for that sort of thing we’d have …?… …?…? …… Okay, am I representing the group reasonably accurately, I am, okay that’s fine, I’m getting nods. Em so you, you use, you build up a network which is specific …?…?…?… sharing …?… relationships between archives and …?… then what you do is …?.. …?… and let’s say …?… …?… with another key word or another key something are there and they’ve got …?… network too. So when you add the two together you get …?… information which is based on some sort of common idea or some sort of common understanding???]

We then looked further, recognising that the previous idea is [primarily] based on networking, people talking to each other and people communicating with each other, and the [learning] process flows from that. Okay, these are small-scale networks or clusters. There’s also an obvious example of the learning network, which is what we’ve got today: namely, a group of people who put their thoughts together in this room, who have shared experiences and will continue to do so for the next half hour. But what are we going to do after that? Well, we’ve all got e-mail addresses, so is there a possibility of setting up an [e-mail network] for ResCen? I believe something of this nature already exists on the ResCen website, where there is a form that will allow us to take follow learning experiences through. Most people within our room are connected with another network of one sort or another, such as Backstage, [???palatine or aerial???] for those involved in drama and theatre, and [???…???] for those people involved in dance. If people already have connections with their own networks, we don’t have to do much to let people on those networks know that this event took place, that it was a good thing, and that they can read the report of today’s sessions on the ResCen website.

I think we want to emphasise three key things from our session are three key things: [???running through all those with the headings, were ideas of, but these are not necessarily …?… …?… …?… don’t worry. First we engaged the learning process …?… …?… …?… Secondly to understand the process, we talked an awful lot about that, understanding the process …?… …?… …?… performance on the one hand but also understand the process of …?… archiving …?… on the other hand. And finally and to point both up, it’s sort of all building up to …?… ???]

Woman: We talked about how we collect live performance, and there was quite an interesting mixture of people in the room. There was somebody from the RSC, somebody representing live art and performance, and so on. [???We decided in terms of use was what, was a major issue, but also the different art forms changed, changed eh exactly how this work is, is recorded. Em text based or improvised eh dance. Em intended use em and of course there are many varied ways, one is for the artists only, because we talked about this morning for research purposes. Em otherwise the education purposes for students as we’ve talked about; a straight record of the show, we were talking about a camera just looking straight at the piece without any editing, one single camera, we’re talking about full camera work. Are we talking about more of a promotional tool that the artists might want to keep or use for, for furthering their own work, which is edited???] We all know that you it is possible to have very good documentation of poor work and very poor documentation of excellent work, which we discussed at length. We also discussed unintended use, which is what happens when the work is made and where it then goes, and looked at the possible positive outcomes of unintended use: that is, a future use thanks to new technology that has not been invented. We looked at longevity of archived materials: even DVDs do not last forever. We have to address what happens now that the video is disappearing and what will take its place.

Man: We talked about built-in short-term life for different formats and also formats where we don’t know how long they’ll last. We also spoke about different technologies: for instance, the use of [???…???] formats and its inadvisability. It was pointed out in that if one particular format dies out you could find yourself with a large body of material that cannot be re-accessed or the machines for doing so might no longer be serviceable. Remastering might become a major issue, particularly if you’ve been [collecting in one format] for a long time and you have a large body of work in your depository. There are big things to consider here. Of course, you cannot make the decision to move to a new format too soon because quite often there are formats fighting for dominance: for example, Betamax and VHS.

Woman: We looked at intended or non-intended use [???of, of what this is for is the neutrality of, of the archives is eh the film-maker???]. Are they [simply] making a straight record as they see the work? How much does the artist get involved [in the film-making process]? And we discussed accuracy; if a performance is repeated over a period of a time, which one do you record? Somebody spoke about a company, I think it was The Globe, which recorded every performance however long. How do we ensure the accuracy of that [one-off performance] and make it a neutral piece? Making more of [the quality issue], should we look at best practice? [???This came up later when we’re putting our arts, our possible arts help for funding or other ways of doing this. But there should be, should there be a way a, a minimum and a maximum, and???] Somebody said that perhaps we should have a standardisation where the minimum was a straightforward one-camera view of that piece of live work and, [at the other end, where the product is] a CD-ROM including multiple interviews, background information, details of the creative process, and so on. That leads us on to the issue of cost and resources, not least because something like the CD-ROM would stand beyond the financial reach of many people and also demand a considerable investment of time. The limits can be very considerable indeed. We felt the process involved in this was very much something the dance companies seemed to have been using for their own purposes as opposed to other artists who maybe wouldn’t record in their own rehearsal spaces. Once a recording is made of dance work for the use originally intended, for choreographers and the dancers themselves, what happens to that work later? A lot of people felt that this was very interesting work [to preserve] but other artists, of course, wouldn’t want to record their process. They might, however, capture their creative process in other ways.

Audience involvement was another discussion point. Many of the live performance artists I work with might involve audience in the work itself, [???which is interactive work often but even if it isn’t a straight text phased piece in a theatre the, the importance of recording that with an audience in there, so that the au, there’s a, there’s when one watching that it’s not just a straight forward piece without the, any idea of the fact that it was a live audience doing that work???] The artist’s involvement, from the point of view of the work I’m involved with, was absolutely crucial. However, we did debate the case of a director in a rehearsal space not wanting somebody in there with a camera observing rehearsals but preferring to keep the doors shut on the creative process; of course, other people are very open to that. Any documentation made and subsequently given to an archive having the artist’s go ahead and approval to preserve there is, I think, part of a crucial dialogue. We talked about the relationship of that artist with the person making the work, and about the long-term documentation if that work became a more permanent thing. Such a relationship might develop over several years, so this [process of documentation] is something that might be more important in future than it is now; therefore, directors might feel less anxious about this is sort of ‘infringement’ on the creative process once they’ve established sound relationships with the maker. It was suggested that we ask the Arts Council to fund each of its clients with an additional percentage of funding as an encouragement (somebody used the word ‘enforcement’) to do this type of work. Actually, extra funds would encourage all companies, regardless of discipline, to make [archiving] part of the creative practice, although that is maybe a most unlikely thing to come from the Arts Council. If it did happen, however, there would be a case to have a model of best practice and how that should be [determined]. I think most companies and artists would find that a very positive thing, if funding was available to enable them to do it, but to rely on their own resources is very difficult, and I think we were all agreed about that.

[???We talked about interviews being, and memories and people’s, I mean actually taken at the time, is, if, if, that an archive need not be just a straightforward, I mean obviously recording their live work is part of it but actually in retrospect interviews of work about people’s memories of work they’ve seen or been part of or created themselves in the past???] These could be included in the current archive, so that archives wouldn’t just be of the work itself but would contain interviews with people who’ve made that work. This should be something that we should carry on now and in future: it’s not just historical. [???So there were a lot of ideas basically but I mean I think the, I think looking mainly towards a, a plan of best practice for all art forms which some, which I think was really the outcome of the, of the thing that we should work towards, funded hopefully. I think, I think that’s it.????]

SM: This is, I might say, an indication of a movement towards disintegration, because we had a very good discussion and yet nobody would agree to summarise. When we tried to summarise, we had different summaries. So we wondered if there was some connection between our disarray and the way in which the subject could be approached. I won’t talk too much, because I already spoke enough in the session but they talked me into it – there was quite some bribe here, but I never actually saw the cash! We looked at what is to be archived and the question of the basis for selection; in other words, who would be archiving and for what purposes. We came up with a number of different takes on this. When we were being very erratic, somebody had the good idea of suggesting that we should introduce where we are from. As a result, we discovered that one of our group’s problems was that its members of were [from diverse backgrounds, including] representatives of major institutions such as the Theatre Museum, the BBC and the Royal Opera House, with each of those institutions having an in-built archiving faculty or facility complete with mission statements and the like. We also had academics, about whom I’ll say nothing because we already say too much. And we had representatives from smaller companies or regional companies, sometimes driven by a particular set of motives or ethos. We also had individual artists. Therefore, it collectively seemed to us that we couldn’t reach any kind of agreement because each of these different groups of participants had a different ethos, a different institutional set up and probably different reasons for wanting to archive and choosing to archive. If I may just run through some of those, there was a question of a small company using the opportunity to archive in order to establish a coherent history of that company, and to record a history which was perhaps driven by politics at some stage and look at how that had developed over time. Some suggested that archives should be produced in order to explain how the work was carried out in the past, once again offering a historical record for those who would be interested. The archive needed to be made in some instances to consolidate a past or to consolidate a sense of an identity, partly in order to make it available to other people. But some of the larger institutions, for example, had the sense of a moral obligation to record pretty well everything; to use it both as a company tool to provide materials retained for others to make use of in a creative or educational context. Concerning this notion of a moral obligation, one records what one has made so that one can then feed it into other communities for other uses.

The BBC, you’ll be pleased to know, has in part a commercial focus to its archiving processes. The licence fee issue was raised, but we won’t say too much about that. We also discussed the BBC7 digital facility. Again, the BBC wants to use an archive actively to reinforce its identity or certain aspects of its identity, I would think when its identity is called into question, as for example with the licence fee issue. Smaller, individual practitioners interestingly saw the archive as an ongoing process which would contribute to their own creative development. In that sense the archive isn’t for other people so much as for the creative process in the individual or small companies concerned. One member of the group asked whether there was a dance bias today, whether it is increasingly easy to archive dance process and product, and whether theatre was less easy or less ready to address the archive process.

The cost of archiving product in a really crap version would cost £2,000; if you engaged an independent director to oversee the production, we never decided how much that would cost. Does anybody here want to put in a higher bid? This is why institutional identity was interesting, because obviously the smaller practitioners wouldn’t necessarily have that amount of money to invest. One of the things that came out of the group was the question “Can we keep a hundred percent?” I think that was one thing that concerned everyone, knowing that you can’t keep a hundred percent. So there is an issue of selection and disposal. But that issue is very much informed by the nature of the organisation, its purpose and the ethos that drives it, which is why we spent so much time talking about. In short, each organisation needs to have its own policy on what it archives and why.

Woman: I want to say just a little bit about the individual people in our group, if they don’t mind, because I thought there were terribly interesting distinctions in terms of each of the archives they represent, of there being no real consensus about what an archive, because it depends on what you’re using it for. For example, [???Wayne McGregor???]created a wonderful archive of social history as source material for his work. Wayne talked about the distinction he saw between a hard archive, which is effectively the hardware of the archive, and the soft archive: he has neuroscientists going through his notebooks actually exploring his creative process, and using the archival material as a way of creating more material and [developing] his thought. Chris Baugh emphasised the distinction between the easy requirements of an archive, the artefacts, and the hard requirements, which might include benefits to the artists, where it can become really complicated. Francesca Franchi from the Royal Opera House talked about providing a specific service increasingly to the [company’s] educational centre, which is where your moral imperative surfaced. And Bonnie Hewson talked about finding a way to use an archive to help small companies tell their own story and create an identity. We felt the BBC’s biggest problem was that of getting rid of stuff, simply because they have the ability to archive so very much material.

LK: We all thought Andrew Stewart was the rapporteur for our group, but then realised he was the official reporter for the whole event. So we are completely unprepared for this.

GB: We looked at access and dissemination and have had quite an interesting discussion about the difference between the two. I think we agreed that access was more passive: i.e., we’ve got this – come and look at it. Dissemination is much more about encouraging people to make different uses of archive material. access to tools that are used to em, various tools that are used in terms of access, we’re talking that sort of thing. We had a long discussion about the tools used in terms of access, about databases, Internet gateways and so on, and I think we probably agreed that we need to have a better kind of gateway directory of performing arts holdings than Backstage. Backstage is a great achievement but we need something that goes beyond that. There are many ongoing initiatives, I think, that that are probably moving towards this, but maybe they need more co-ordination.

Another thing discussed was the issue of rights, particularly when it comes to video. We held another long discussion about video. I don’t think we concluded anything, other than it’s going to be really very difficult to crack that whole issue of rights. It’s quite interesting, I think, that one of the reasons we perhaps didn’t all agree is because we we’re coming from many different perspectives and there was a difference actually even within the group. Yes, there are people who are practitioners but there is a big difference [between their work] and archives tied to an institution: i.e., the latter collect the archives of their own institution. And there are the sort of people, like myself, who are out there trying to collect from a wide range of sources. I think one of the key differences, and the BBC people might disagree completely with me on this, is that we have [???on the collective side???] less control as to what we can collect and therefore we’re kind always dependent on the whims of other organisations. That has a really big impact on all our standpoints and I think it perhaps changed the whole [discussion’s kind of …?… by that, that idea that what do we???], how do we make things accessible when we don’t necessarily even own the material? Or how do we go about getting it in the first place?

[???Woman: (Inaudible).

Man: Google yeah.

Woman: No actually somebody was mention, mentioning, you no, was it???.]

AS: We talked about the various access points, be it search engines, online catalogues or card indexes, and Steve Cleary mentioned the idea of having a dedicated performing arts archive search engine. Knowing that there are big issues politically in terms of approaching a large over-riding concern, I nevertheless pointed out that Google does exist and is increasingly involved in digitising all sorts of content. It seems to me that there’s a chance to approach Google; rather than create another organisation, it already exists. It may be something to think about, given that there are so many disparate associations; so many disparate catalogues; so many people wanting their stuff to be online and available digitally, to approach Google as a united body, if you like, at least with some proposal to take that forward and circumvent the idea of having what Lois called Coogle. That would be a Performing Arts … no that doesn’t work either – Poogle, Paogle or whatever.

AT: I think there was a very pressing issue about what people look.

[DA or LK – AS to check session tape]: I made a point about an understanding of users and how they approach material. In my experience users tend to approach performing arts material on an item-level basis; they have an item-level search task in mind. Therefore, collection-level descriptions, such as those provided by the rather excellent Backstage, are not actually fulfilling user needs in the way that they should be.

GB: On that subject, I would make the point about an initiative to set up a national standard for describing productions, an ambitious project that the Theatre Information Group (TIG) is presently developing with the V&A [???with funding from the Museum archives???]. It will give us a different way in [to material catalogued online], one that is, we hope, more suited to the performing arts than the sort of tools that we’ve had up to now.

[???Man: If the process has got to be ..?… in itself, where you relive the experience of …?… here in front of us, very cunning. I’m going to put this down and hand it to you …?… …?… there???]

CB: Now for your overarching comments or responses to what we’ve heard from each of the groups! I told you earlier today that I thought the Ecology Model would be a good guide for us, so that we are all connected. What has happened, to some extent, is that you have come up with distinctions – sometimes about the scale of the organisation, sometimes about the purpose of the archive. I have a strange, contradictory kind of feeling that a clarification of these distinctions will ultimately help us see the ways in which we are connected. Because things are ‘blurry’ now, we cannot achieve the kind of clarity for each of our missions and each of our positions [required] to make connections between them. Although this may seem a very contrary point of view, I think that [such clarification] will [effectively] reinforce the notions that we all are connected and of the importance [of there being] a network between us. Issues of scale may very and, in the first instance, throw up all sorts of distinctions that appear to be barriers; but there’s a great [potential] benefit in communication across those distinctions. That’s an immediate thought concerning this single point. You cannot all be stunned into silence: there must be somebody with an overarching point or even a point that has not yet been addressed. Or is this [silence] the result of us not having tea or coffee in the afternoon? Any other ideas about things you would like to see come out of today?

LK: If you locked the doors of this room, then you would already have the kind of archiving [group] for the UK [that has been suggested].

CB: Excellent idea, Lois. The doors will be locked now! There are, however, people who are not here [who perhaps should be part of such a group], although there’s a pretty good selection [in the room].

[???Woman: But to have the, you know I think there was a whole bunch of different ways of sort of gathering information, one would be to get a kind of …?… …?… …?… grant …?… …?… Or to very simply get everybody in this room who is in some way involved in archives to do a list of their ten to twenty absolute key essential archives in the UK. So at least there is some beginning of information. I mean I heard about things the other day which I have to, to confess my complete ignorance and I didn’t know, I had no idea …?… access, absolutely no idea whatsoever. But also everybody who’s used …?… …?… …?… or information …?… mentioned Backstage interesting timing. But …?… that there were …?… that I work with and we talked about there was no way of finding out about this. The one thing that I found extraordinary ….?… …?… at least beginning with a directory of …?… …?… and then everybody kind of pool their knowledge all those that …?… …?… …?… giving them something. One of the things we also talked about in the group is that, is that the way that we as an organisation …?… …?… …?…(inaudible)???]

DA: I am writing a report at the moment, and one of its sections is devoted to performing arts digital materials that are thereon the web already. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a [single] directory, so I [had to] compile a list from various sources, such [???palatine, gist, HDS] and others. Please e-mail me with details about other online directories and resources. When this report appears within the next few months, I hope that it will at least be semi-comprehensive. It’s going to be called something like the AHDS [???performing arts scope and study on the use and creation of digital resources???].

CB: That’s a snappy title!

DA: Well, you know, I didn’t design the title and am not pretending that my current list is in any way comprehensive. Perhaps I could send out a list to everybody on the mailing list here or on the [???ResCen Forum???] and people could then add [websites] that inevitably I have missed.

CB: That would be good. I’m sure people will be able to do that.

GB: We’re currently developing the website for the Theatre Information Group and therefore have an opportunity to make it much more of an information gateway for this area. It will cover most of the major archive holding institutions for performing arts in the UK. But we could do other things with it as well: we can point at other resources, and we are happy to do that. But is this [apparent difficulty of access] the barrier? That’s a question for everybody here. Is the problem simply that we don’t have a website? I believe that sounds false, that the whole problem is that we don’t have a website. I wonder if, as somebody said earlier, we’ve got too many things, too many gateways, too many things going on. Perhaps what we need is for the various networks to talk to each other at all sorts of different levels. [???AT sector, …?… got the archives in their institutions, so organisations that are funding like Arts Council are funding the, the, their performers and some representatives of the performing arts as well???] I think [the issue] needs some kind of network [organisation], which can pull together different bodies, and not just a new website.

CB: It could be a matter of what the website is doing. The point has been made about the items that users are actually looking for – individual items, rather than generic collections. It would have been interesting (and I almost thought about doing this today), to bring in an internetted computer and to let people here try to find something. I actually did some experiments online to find individual items, individual works by individual artists. It could be that the websites we have available aren’t quite right [for that type of search] or that there’s a plethora. As you point out, Guy, it is [to do with] dealing across sectors, and there are now more players in this area, which is clearly a challenge. But it’s a good question.

Man: I think we ought to look at best practice [of the type] that everybody can do in [terms of] the idea of archiving.

Man: Responses to that! Yes, a microphone coming to you. I have a feeling I know what you’re going to say, but let’s see.

Woman: To follow on from that thought, I’m thinking about all of those training courses and so available to somebody working, for example, for a theatre company. [???And there’s, there’s no you know, who, who can teach me. I mean I’ve had various conversations with Guy Baxter and he’s been saying through the whole of …?… …?… archives in theatre music. But isn’t it just another aspect of performing arts what you do as well, …?… anyway in terms of what, what you can do with that material then. Surely there are some key things that you could, you know that, whether it’s ITV or someone who is running the, em sorry …?… City Council who are running a particular course that has teaching about archiving and how you do it. And who those bodies are, and who you can get in touch with, and these are the kind of institutions.???]

CB: We have a response from the back of the room almost straight away, which might deliver an answer to that question.

Woman: [???It, it, it’s problems like that the …?… …?… Arts Council what …?… …?… encouragement along the road to …?… So I think that’s come up before as a, as a kind of, as an issue whether it should be European or Arts Council grants, it’s just sort of money that …?… documentation.???] But that means there will be a lot of little bits of money spread around. I think all artists should be encouraged to think about how their work is represented and disseminated beyond the actual work itself. It might, however, be better if the Arts Council [???sort of putting on a kind of bit of planning onto every project rather than to do archiving, some documentation archiving in the various different companies then being self trained to do it themselves????]. It might also be better to think about actually setting up an organisation nationally to do that, one that has the experience of doing that [type of work] on behalf of the artists, so that the Arts Council money goes to the company to pay an organisation with the expertise to do it rather than for the company to do it for themselves. I think one of the things that has been clear today that the cultural sector is expanding, evolving and becoming even more exciting, more complex. Many very exciting performance-based works these days do not involve performing; rather, they involve artists generating events for [???…???]. Of course, it’s impossible to create a document of this of ‘camera pointing at the stage’ type. There are so many different aspects that haven’t been documented yet that it would almost be impossible to design a training programme to cover everything. It might be better to have a service organisation that did have that range of skills and could go out and document work, even in collaboration with a company, to place it in the archives.

CB: It could be that a whole number of artists are now being trained and educated who now have familiarity with digital technology; that might happen within [training] programmes or it might happen simply through their engagement with life as it is today. Not all artists could engage with a digital technology project, in the sense of leading it, but they would all know about the vocabulary of it. And so it may be that within training provision there needs to be much greater awareness [of ????]. Mike Huxley touched on this, in a sense, [suggesting] that [if] people learn about documentation and archiving then, at least, they would be familiar with the concepts and vocabulary necessary to deal and engage with specialists or service organisations.

[Woman: (Inaudible)

Man: A good analogy, yes. Okay. Final comments, please. We’re coming close to that cup of tea and I can see that you’re looking forward to that.

AT: At some point, I recall we discussed how it was important not to forget what eventually these archives are. Obviously, there are a number of records of the activities of a person, organisation, company or individual: archives have identities. I think it is also important to reflect in the general discussion today that these are cultural identities as well as artistic identities, and that this relates to how the archive sector is represented. Having travelled around the country and seen what organisations and companies do, and the material in existence, there is an immense amount of resources. Probably the most important thing at the moment for big institutions is for them to be connected, without necessarily acquiring new material or having to incorporate. This is a matter of how we can create these connections. The Internet is one way, of course; a directory is another. But for the performing arts, the artists are probably the best connectors.

A performing artist, aware of the possibilities of using a performance as a way to promote resources that they have within their own company, can make an audience aware that there are archives. How do we make these archives really interesting? And how do people access these archives? Only a very small number of people in the country access archives: we’re talking about academics and some but by no means all artists. But it is the general public that goes to performances, and teachers go to performances. They might be thinking, “I could use this for my pupils”. Again, the performing arts is so much about the performer, so let’s think of how we can use that fact [to raise awareness of archives].

CB: Alda, you have just reminded me of the phenomenon of the filmmaker’s version of a DVD, containing additional materials, [interviews and so on]. These have become very popular now and may offer a model, albeit a commercial one. My friends, I don’t know whether you’ve worked hard enough today to earn your tea, but I think you probably have. I want to say thank you all very very much for coming and that I hope we feel we’ve had a productive day. Please use the forum on the ResCen website. We will publish edited proceedings of this event within the next few weeks and a report will appear in the autumn; meanwhile, please share e-mail addresses and ideas. Keep the dialogue and discussion moving forward. Perhaps there will be strands that we can draw together in the autumn report in order to promote and move forward even further.

I think there are various things that have arisen today that, with a bit of reflection, we’ll be able to build into a solid fabric so to speak. Just remember the ecology and the ways in which we’re connected. Following on from Alda’s point about the performing arts, I said earlier today that Susan Melrose not only dealt with the surfaces of things, but also dealt with the living, breathing heart of the performing arts. Susan questioned that, since it sounded a little bit an academic, essentialist point of view. She said she dealt with Rosemary Butcher in quotation marks, both Rosemary Butcher the artist and Rosemary Butcher as a performance of herself, in a sense. But Susan Melrose also deals with Rosemary Butcher without the quotation marks, and makes sure that her practice engages in a positive way with artistic practices. This is a roundabout way of repeating what Chris Smith said, that “culture is what we grow people in”.




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