Thinking about the archive
What do you consider to be your archive?
The actual work. The film I used in the past has been easier to archive in relation to having the negatives and corresponding contact sheets. I have been shooting digitally since 2013 and this seems more challenging in not having the physicality of negatives.
What is the state of your archive? How is it organised?
In 2015 I acquired some conservation boxes to house the negatives and contact sheets and started to file things - but certain life demands took over and it is only now that I am beginning to re-order things again. I have triple back-ups of all the digital files but within these the images themselves need to be catalogued correctly. I would like to get all the framed work I have documented as well but with the past demands of working and teaching there hasn’t been time to date. This has now changed and I have since begun this process - it can feel somewhat overwhelming so I find it is best to undertake small chunks and understand that it will take time ahead to be resolved.
What do you want to happen to your work and archive? Who might be interested in it?
I would like my work to be archived somewhere; it feels important to have work in public collections so as to give it some validation and the opportunity for an audience to gain access to this even after I am no longer alive.
A large section of my work has been predominantly about young people covering contemporary social and cultural work. I have considered a publication incorporating these or a restrospective exhibition of some of this work at some point. I have also been in discussion with the Museum of Youth Culture to house a large percentage of my youth projects within their digital archive.
I have some prints in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas and the work made in the Channel Islands, Insula, is housed in the Societe Jersiase in Jersey and the Guernsey Museum.
One of my most successful archive projects was “The Water’s Edge: Women on the Waterfront.” Some of the exhibition prints are housed in the Open Eye Gallery Archive and these have resurfaced three times to date in various contexts. (The project was a series of portraits of women who work, or worked, on the Liverpool waterfront. Commissioned and exhibited by Open Eye Gallery in 2007, the project was produced in collaboration with writer and oral historian Joanne Lacey, who recorded the women’s stories and co-authored the book of the same name)
The work commissioned for Multistory is held within their digital archive.