Managing Collections – Individual Assignment and Progress

Over the past few weeks we’ve had the Christmas break and since the last post I’ve been writing my individual assignment whilst the exhibition develops online and the portfolio is compiled. Some of the things I’ve been working on over the past month: I wrote a section on Intended Audience in collaboration with another student for the portfolio, we also wrote the interpretation panels that introduce the different sections: Resilience, Protest and Self-Care. Between us we had to decide on an order and loose narrative to follow, bearing in mind the dialogic style and grade or age of language. The resilience section comes last, as self care and protest can both be forms of resilience. The exhibition design team informed us of their plans for the placement/categorisation of objects within these three themes, which helped me when writing the interpretation too. I tried to think of interpretation that was relevant to all of the objects so it was helpful to refer to an object list to remind myself. I kept the intended audience in mind whilst writing the panels, I think the two things go hand in hand. I then helped to write the section of the portfolio on Justification of object selection in collaboration with 3 other students. In the introduction to this section, it was important to me to clarify our original intention to collaborate. This informed our choice of material – things that already contained the words and voices of our intended audience whether this is through podcasts, text excerpts, playlists, banners, zines or other. They ‘speak for themselves’ in a sense. The three themes that arose did so after we’d collected a small number of objects and conducted research.

I had originally planned to write the Individual Assignment on collaborative contemporary collecting. As discussed in the last post, I was interested in the idea that co-production is an over-used as a term and that the increase in collaborative projects had something more to do with increased audience engagement, rather than a commitment to structural reform which is what co-production involves. I wrote a first draft which was focused on the shift towards this way of working as evidenced through projects that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the advice of one of the course convenors however, I decided not to place the different forms of collaborative practice into a hierarchy with co-production at the top, but recognise the interchangeable and fluid nature of the different forms of participation. I then had a discussion with my course leader who encouraged me to refocus the essay, to look instead at how these circumstances have changed collaboration. I instead started the second draft with the research question: What can COVID-19 teach us about participation? I felt a lot more motivated after this talk and when writing my second draft. I wrote about three case-studies: The Museum of London, collecting experiences of Ramandan, The global collaborative journalism project Artists Against an #Infodemic and the History Colorado Center’s History in the Making. After reviewing the second draft with a student from last year I decided to focus on just one case study to allow for more thorough analysis. I chose to focus on History Colorado’s collaborative project History in the Making. My justification of choosing this case study is because of their prior-commitment to collaborative work, the size of their locality and diverse communities they work with, also they have published online a selection of material they have already collected. This allows me to make some conclusions despite the fact that the pandemic is ongoing and the project is unfinished. Having just finished the third draft I will be making final edits over the next few days. I have really enjoyed writing this essay although it has been stressful not being able to leave the house much to go for a walk to reflect or socialise. I am still learning how to distinguish work and study time from time to relax.

Ground view of the exhibition entrance

The exhibition has been built and is almost complete. The panels, title and logos have been designed specifically with a particular colour scheme which is catered towards our intended audience.

Screenshot taken by my course mate Catriona Cox – 29.01.2021

The oval shapes have been extended and joined together so they are a bit more spacious. When the points for the video tour were arranged I realised the ovals were a bit cramped, which inspired us to move the walls to make the wayfinding clearer for our online visitors.

The lake can be viewed when standing centrally, and the ‘thoroughfare’ leads directly to it. The reflective video we have created together will be placed nearby.

Resource Board

Another student created this resource board to collate the websites of charities and community organisations we’ve put together. I really like the appearance of it, as a community board like this wouldn’t be out of place in a park.


The student who was responsible for building the exhibition on Artsteps has done a fantastic job with the surrounding imagery and 3d green objects such as trees and flowers. This pulls the exhibition together and makes it feel relaxing. There are only a couple of small additions that need to be made, including the video and the thought tree. I am feeling a lot more happy with the exhibition in its current state.

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