KISMIF Conference

KEYLECTURE | ‘Encounters with the past: collections, curation and the provocation of Punk London’, by Marion Leonard

Abstract
This year a number of London organizations and institutions have worked in partnership to create a calendar of events to celebrate ‘40 years of punk heritage and influence in London’. Badged under the umbrella title of ‘Punk London’ this programme provides a case study through which to explore ideas about how our popular cultural past is represented, revisited and reimagined, as well as allowing reflection on how the outcome is affected by different agents who have a stake in this process. The involvement of institutions and ‘officialdom’ with Punk London was seen by some critics as antithetical to the original punk impetus. Drawing on interviews with curators from the British Library and the Museum of London, partner institutions in the initiative, the paper will examine and argue for the contribution which their recent exhibitions offer to an understanding of punk. Through an exploration of the idea of the participatory museum it will make the case for the distinct contribution that institutional collections and exhibitions can make to our understanding of social history. Furthermore, using the anniversary of punk as a pivot, it will consider popular music culture in relation to notions of time. It will argue that museums in particular offer a unique way of encountering our cultural pasts and provide space for us to bring them into productive conversation with the present.

Keywords: punk, social history, museums, time, curation.

 

Biographical note of Marion Leonard >>>

 

 

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