The Artist Archivist

The Artist Archivist

About The Artist Archivist

Freelance Archivist, Artist and Creative Business Consultant

A bit about me…

 Hello, I am Peter, a professionally qualified archivist with over seven years' experience within the archives profession. My experience includes managing and completing large-scale cataloguing projects; appraising live & defunct business archive collections; supervising the public search room and enquiry service delivery; supervising student interns & volunteer projects; supporting heritage engagement activity.  

 Since becoming a professional archivist, I made a decision to combine both my Artist & Archivist practices’ and start exploring the behaviours between the two. After exhibiting widely through out the UK, I came to this decision as I felt extremely bored of creating empty artworks. I wanted my practice to perform a beneficial function for people rather than hanging things on the wall.  

A bit about audience engagement…

 Creative communities are consistently undervalued and misunderstood. The archives profession offers an incredibly supportive environment for academics’ using the written word. But it becomes more complicated when dealing with individuals creating images. My vision for Artist Archivist to showcase the potential and benefits for creative heritage engagement. Build the confidence of archive, museum & wider information management professionals in engaging and expanding upon outreach programs with national / local creative communities.  

 A bit about the Artist Archivist project…

Both professions have a duty to document for their audiences, however the purpose of their documentation is strikingly different. At the heart of good archival practice is documented accountability, archivists are entrusted to ensure current & historic records longevity and not act in unethical fashion in altering the information held. These basic principals ensure archive collections retain their informational & evidential value, while records original function is preserved. An artist behavior tends to be completed opposite. The creative act is expected to embrace manipulation, and not be concerned about evidencing creative happenings of the moment. 

Key questions consistently emerge in my practice linked to archival practice. Is it possible to represent archival information reliably though creative practice? Does the visual artwork retain key informational or evidential value? Is there space within ISAD(g) standards to engage creative audiences. While describing numerous records held in an archive, I use words that are designed not to sway or to excite. Yet my arts practice centres on creating art records such as collage. Collage deconstructs information and at the compositions heart, is formed from total manipulation.

There is a tension between the purposes of the two practices. There is an exciting space here to explore more throughly.