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Shelf lives: Drawing out letters from World War I

MacDonald, Juliet (2014) Shelf lives: Drawing out letters from World War I. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 7 (3). pp. 359-374.

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Abstract

This article concerns the initial stages of an art residency with the Liddle Collection, an archive of First World War interviews, documents and related objects at Leeds University Library's Special Collections. The Collection, which has been awarded Designation for its national and international significance, was founded by historian Peter Liddle in the 1970s, and is centred on personal testimonies of wartime experiences. After outlining its history and current situation, the article focuses on my modes of entry into this large body of material. The enormity of an archive is likened by Farge to an ocean. To enable access, the Collection has a catalogue and cross-referencing subject index. With reference to Spieker, I consider how they shape the archive as I encounter it. Three writing/drawing methods (making notes, drawing diagrams and writing lists) have been used as a means to immerse myself in the Collection, map and process it as an artist. Finally, I consider Christov-Bakargiev’s idea of the ‘distracted archive’ as a model to take forward.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The article is part of a special edition, edited by Rowan Bailey and Jess Power, exploring the archival as a concept and as a practice for artists and designers. My article is one outcome of a Leverhulme funded artist's residency that took place in 2014/15.
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/jwcp.7.3.359_1
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
School/Department: School of Art, Design & Computer Science
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2513

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