Queering Heritage: How can Informal Collections be Safeguarded for Enriching Community Heritage?
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2020 Dillon Webster
Due to historic perceptions of LGBTQIA+ people, valuable information regarding their historiography and culture have been systematically excluded from institutional safeguarding, including their use of public and private built environments. With the advent of technologically mediated knowledge sharing, oral histories, memories, and other ephemera are now being collected by queer communities' as an informal form of auto-archivization. While queer archival initiatives are gaining representation, informally collected intangible heritage has the potential to consolidate with formal archival practices through networked metadata to recreate lost spaces for heritage purposes. This research develops a conceptual framework for contemporary queer community groups to use for the creation of a place-based digital archive. Decentralizing record management from traditional hierarchical boundaries allow for public contribution and collaboration, while recorded spatial experiences and visual ephemera are coded in participatory archival frameworks; these can be extracted and converted into metadata for a networked archival practice. This consolidation provides the information to apply techniques of architectural forensics and reconstruct a digital replica of non-extant spaces in which an archive is virtually situated. This paper argues that a combination of contemporary digital technologies and informal memory catalogues can be used to redefine archival and heritage practices, regulations, and legal frameworks. While virtual environments provide a technical framework for interacting with digital reproductions of space, issues of authenticity, representation, and information retrieval arise. Future research with active participants is required to determine results on the interpretation and experience of virtually situated archives. There is increasing pressure placed on acknowledging the heritage of marginalized groups and digital accessibility plays a vital role in the management of cultural information. Through a queer lens, the future of heritage and archival practices can transform to be more diverse, accessible, and publicly respected.
Keywordsarchitecture; queer; LGBT; archive; heritage
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