Staging the Archive

Staging the Archive

In the first term of the PGT program I have aligned the content of two units Working with Difference (experience design, and interaction and participatory research in Innovation) and Past, Present, and Futures (contextual, material and futures based theory). This alignment enables me to design a single engaged research and design based project that is split into practice and theory across the two units.

Working with Difference (20 Credits)

These two units I direct at the Centre for innovation, focus on creative research and practice; designing for and with young people; field/ site scenography and curation; and evaluation methods. We will have guest lectures from experts on communities in Bristol and the local area around Dame Emily Park, pervasive gaming, and scenography for immersive theatre.

The assessment for the unit since 2018 has been produced in collaboration with the University of Bristol’s Theatre Collection and community partners from South Bristol. The assessment brief asks students to create ‘an exhibition based on artifacts from the collection, for an audience who would not typically access the collection’. Students were given a curated selection of artifacts from the collection to base their research and exhibition on. The students worked in teams and as a cohort to create a public exhibition of work from the archives that was ‘accessible’ inside and outside the Theatre Collections gallery.

Past, Present and Futures (10 Credits)

As a group, students produce a portfolio of work that considers the past, present, and futures of their chosen artifact. We introduce theoretical lens’s from a range of disciplines to enable students to explore their artifacts as a socio-technological system. This work will then inform the production of the interactive experience and poster in the ‘Working with Difference unit’. Guest speakers from a range of academic and industry specialists will provide our students with different theoretical lenses and practical methods for interrogating their artifacts.

This project allowed our students to engage with both practical and theoretical themes around participation, archiving, collections, live art, theatre, and curation. Our student’s research led them to meet with experts in diversity at the Bristol Old Vic, community carnival experts from St Paul’s and fellows of the Frank B archive. Alongside the development work with the theatre collection.