How do we preserve popular music’s material culture in a time when new technologies are deemed old almost as soon as they are released?

A Griffith University Australian Research Council study will explore this question by examining volunteer-run archives housing popular music-related material in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the US and UK.

Project leader Dr Sarah Baker from the Griffith Centre for Cultural Research says as well as federally-funded archives such as the National Film and Sound Archives there are a range of specialist ‘Do it Yourself’ archives which are equally important in preserving Australia’s music history.

“These community-based institutions rely on a ‘DIY’ philosophy and operate outside the frame of national projects of collecting,’’ she says.

“This study is the first to explore the nature of volunteering within institutionalised, DIY collecting of popular music’s material culture.

By examining a range of internationally-based DIY popular music archives which house collections from a range of genres, locations and artists, the research aims to develop a deeper understanding of the contributions these archives make to the public record.

Dr Baker says with more than half a century since the advent of Rock‘n’Roll there is a huge collection of music paraphernalia lying around.

“Particularly as baby boomers with large personal collections of material artefacts downsize their homes or pass away, increasingly families will be faced with the issue of what do to with large amounts of the ‘stuff’ of popular music culture.

“These include vinyl, CDs, cassettes, videos, DVDs, posters, programs, tickets, t-shirts, photos, badges, fan club merchandise, autographs, scrap books and so on.”

Many volunteer run archives are dedicated to specific genres, artists or locales and operate without any form of government support.”

The three-year study will identify and critique the preservation practices and processes of DIY institutions, as well as explore the gaps in national collecting DIY archivists identify and seek to fill when setting up their own archives.

MEDIA: Deborah Marshall 0408 727 734