Rhythm Divisions: An exploration of methods for collecting and curating British Youth Culture Heritage: music, archive, memories (1950 - 2020)
Kingston University, London
Year of enrolment: 2020
Britain has a rich history of youth culture, evident in the diverse youth cultures and subcultures that have emerged in the 20th and 21st centuries, from mods and punks to grime. These have had significant socio-cultural, political and economic value for diverse communities across the UK and fuel the country’s creative industries, the fastest growing sector in the UK economy. The rich heritage of British youth culture past and present is at risk, it is not a designated heritage, a vital classification for ensuring that a cultural realm is protected. Attempts to collect, preserve and communicate the value of British youth culture heritage are currently critically insufficient, particularly as they do not take into account two key areas: the voice of young people, and the music of the youth and subcultures they were part of. Rhythm Divisions aims to address this absence, and threat.
In this practice-based research project I will explore the history of UK youth culture, and the use of museum-based strategies to protect its past, present and future. I will analysis UK museum collections through the lens of youth culture to identify if objects of youth culture have been hidden within other archive classifications . Building on my 30 year experience as an exhibition curator, I will identify ways for collecting heritage at risk with a focus on Hippies, Teds and Grime and explore ways for curating and co curating with young people multi sensory youth culture exhibitions, with soundscapes, so that this rich heritage is authentically represented. My research will increase recognition of youth culture as a new and significant curatorial field of study in museums and provide a model for preserving heritage at risk. This research will feed into Museum of Youth Culture (MoYC) archives and their plans to build a permanent home.