Digital curation in UK performing arts contemporary professional practice

Molloy, Laura (2016) Digital curation in UK performing arts contemporary professional practice. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Practitioners of the performing arts working outside the higher education institutional context regularly produce work on limited project funding, to tight deadlines and with too little time or resource to consider the curation of their digital assets. Without specialist expertise, digital objects created and used by performance practitioners are vulnerable to damage and disappearance, limiting the prospects of a coherent record of contemporary performance practice.

This study begins to ascertain the nature of digital curation practice in the professional performing arts by examining the digital curation awareness and practice of a sample of the UK performing arts community. This enquiry is set into the broader context of digital curation and preservation, which offers some useful models of sustainable management of digital objects against which practice can be compared. Twelve performing arts practitioners from across the UK are interviewed to establish understanding of whether, why and how they create and manage digital objects in the course of their creative work. The resulting detailed qualitative data establishes what they understand about sustainable management of digital objects, and which digital curation activities they execute in their working processes. It also identifies the presence of possible skills and knowledge gaps, and explores the types of digital resources that performing arts practitioners seek and use, in order to understand whether there is a comparable appetite for the creation and reuse of digital objects in this field. Additionally, the research examines the sources used by practitioners when attempting to access digital objects created by others as part of research for their own creative work. This provides a ‘performer’s-eye view’ of performance collections - that is to say, the resources used as collections for research, irrespective of the formal designation or intended purpose of such resources.

Responses indicated that practitioners highly value the digital objects they create themselves as well as those created by others and have expectations of sustained access to these objects. In contrast, however, reported awareness and practice of the principles of sustainable management of digital objects, as promulgated by digital curation, is very low. Although further research is required to test whether the results of the present study are indicative of practice in the larger performance arts sector, they indicate that many digital objects produced by performing arts practitioners are probably subject to damage or loss.

Concluding remarks indicate the implications of these findings for the representation of performing arts practice for current and future generations, and suggest useful future areas of enquiry.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: digital curation, performing arts, digital preservation, cultural production, live art, theatre, dance, archives, information studies, employment.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Information Studies
Supervisor's Name: Economou, Dr. Maria and Kilbride, Dr. William
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Ms Laura Molloy
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-8467
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2017 10:16
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2017 13:35
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