Assignment Four (Option 1): Exercise 4.1: Sourcing Your Archive: First…what is an artefact? Where can I begin?

Exercise 4.1 Sourcing your archive

The question arises, where will I look in order to create my archive? In order to cover this area properly, I need to collate a list of possible sources to visit and investigate.  These will encompass Personal history, Museum visits and maybe country homes where I can discover collections and artefacts.  Online resources too will be looked into.

One thing to be clear on, is what is the definition of an artefact?

An object made by a human, typically one of cultural or historical interest. (Oxford Dictionary)

Having read through this assignment, I wondered if there were some themes I could look into and research within this setting.  I have thought about personal history especially, what defines me and my family?

I am interested in the concept of what is precious to me?  What is treasured by my family members?  Often it is not something valuable in a material sense, but an object we have a connection with.

I intend to work in sketchbooks as well as this Log Book, but both will connect or be referenced in some way.

At present I will collate a list of places to visit and family ideas to peruse:

Personal history

Straight away I think about family here.  I know I have a wide range of characters, such as individuals who liked to sew and others who liked to paint.  Then there were those whose art was writing.  No major exciting family history.

–          Photographs and looking at them with family members who know the stories and people, may spark something.

–          Letters and pieces of writing – I know my grandfather’s letters from the Navy were kept and his poetry.

–          There was also an artist back in the years in my family who was a cartoonist for a paper, depicting the common man, mainly mining historically as that’s what my area is known for.

–          Archive style pieces, I can look around my house to see if I find interesting objects to use as part of my archive.  Ask family?

–          I lost a scarf which was dear to me, given to me by my Aunt who lives in Paris.  It was her mothers and had a rich history involving the silk trade.  I sadly lost it in Rome two years ago.  I have studies it before, but as it is such a part of me, would this be incorporated?  I can ask her more about it and also find my images of it, which include me wearing it.

–          Think about things I like to do – any connections to be made?  Emotional connections?

–          What do family members view as precious? Me personally?

Use of museums or other collections

–          Wallington (National Trust house) It has rooms filled with museum like objects and I think dolls houses?

–          Cragside (National Trust house) similar to Wallington

–          Laing Art Gallery (Has a museum section)

–          Shipley Art Gallery

–          Bowes Museum

–          Exhibitions at The Customs House which turn to a museum like theme or are inspired by this theme.

–          Past exhibitions to draw on?  I saw a few in Paris and at Versailles which could connect here?

–          Discovery Museum – Newcastle with local history inside

–          Hancock Museum – Newcastle.  Filled with stuffed animals and artefacts.  Very “old museum” style, at least it used to be.  Wooden and glass framed containers and vitrines.

–          Past visit to Agatha Christie’s house in Devon, I mention this as she is my favourite writer and thus holds a massive connection with my own personal life.

I am sure to think of more as I go.

Online resources

With doing so much artist research, I don’t want to fill up this exercise with simply website based resources.  Thus I may decide to only use this when needed, rather than the main stay of my core research.

I have scanned in the page about this in the OCA module, as it contains my initial sprawl on the subject, with ideas of my own:


The page above is really a bit of a brain storm, writing down ideas before I begin and forget, as this is such a large project with so many possibilities.  My mind set at this time was surrounding the concept of what reminds me of my family members individually, I guess what would I reminisce about if I lost them?  What would set off memories again?

To decipher the above here are a few notes (I am unsure if my writing makes sense or is legible)

I have also begun a little note book, writing down thoughts and ideas.  I have scanned in some pages from it, each one relating to one of the sections below.  I can expand on these thoughts as I go, yet it is good at this stage to have things collated for my own vision.

This is all found in the next section, under the title:  Initial Personal Resource concepts.


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