Negotiating Fragments: History, Archive, Fiction(ing)

FINNEY, Louise Helen (2024). Negotiating Fragments: History, Archive, Fiction(ing). Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This project is about the past. Not a specific era or event of the past, but the way it is communicated, focussing on archives and museums as structures in which the past is retold. More broadly—it is about time. Through practice-led research I address topics of archive, memory, storytelling, and heritage, and explore the use of diagram as a non-linear, non-hierarchical structure onto which a multi-temporal and polyphonic experience of past, present, and possible futures may be mapped. I have investigated my topic through the production of artists books, site specific installations, collaborative work, creative writing, and undergone voluntary archive and museum based work. The processes that inform this project are hybrid and multiple: autoethnography, site writing, fiction, theory, historical source material, and philosophy sit together to create an account of what it is to look to the past from the present. This multiplicity is carried over into the thesis—itself a creative work—exemplifying how research and practice are inseparable. The work is underpinned by an ongoing consideration of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of the ‘minor’, as expanded upon by Simon O’Sullivan and Erin Manning. Readings from Keith Jenkins’s postmodern history theory and Francois Hartog’s concept of ‘presentism’ are used to both inform and support the claims of this research. Literary genres such as historiographic metafiction and autotheory are considered alongside museum-based art interventions and parafictional works, producing a method that takes the tropes of literature out of the linear book format to create contemporary art, via the diagram. The main body of text in the thesis is split into three key chapters—‘History’, ‘Archive’, and ‘Fiction(ing)’. These three areas are thought of as rings in a Borromean Knot; a mathematical structure in which three rings are linked together in such a way that if any one were removed the other two would also become unlinked. It is in this linking—this consideration of these three areas simultaneously, via art practice—that a contribution to knowledge is proposed. At a time when questions of post-colonialism, class, education, gender, and representation surround museological practices, it is timely to consider how a multiple and anti-didactic approach is beneficial when negotiating fragments of the past.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Mccarthy, Penny [0000-0002-0524-9169] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Thesis advisor - Kivland, Sharon [0000-0003-4583-4677] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Thesis advisor - Jones, Peter (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Thesis advisor - Shaw, Becky [0000-0001-6835-6044] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Additional Information: Director of studies: Penny McCarthy / Supervisors: Dr. Sharon Kivland, Dr. Peter E Jones, Dr. Becky Shaw.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 21 May 2024 14:23
Last Modified: 22 May 2024 02:00

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