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‘The People’s Glossary’: Using dialogic art to create a common language for User-led Museum practice

Curd, E (2020) ‘The People’s Glossary’: Using dialogic art to create a common language for User-led Museum practice. Doctoral thesis, Liverpool John Moores University.

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It is understood that language is a powerful mediator of social hierarchy with great influence to emancipate, educate or exclude. Meanwhile, discourses centred on expertise, representation and authorship have re-emerged as priorities in collections of contemporary art due to pressures for them to be reinstated as dialogical resources. This is especially true for those where participatory practices are being challenged due to their failure to prioritise public discourse over dominant, institutional ones. Even after attempts to democratise collections via processes to co-write interpretation, they struggle to represent community co-authors ethically and transparently. This thesis argues that language use and misrepresentation prevent publics from using collections of contemporary art and feeling like they belong in them. Using discourse theory and participatory action research, this study interrogates the processes used by collections to co-author the interpretation of artworks to create ‘equitable plurality’ and offers up a toolkit of arts-based practices to engender usership. Drawn from dialogic practices and qualitative research, the investigation examines the politics of discourse and plurality of speech – spoken and written – to contribute a unique focus on language generated and used by publics to create a common language. Undertaken with multiple communities of practice associated with Tate Liverpool’s collection ‘Constellations’, this research concludes in the production of a crowd-sourced digital resource titled The People’s Glossary. By revisiting and reinterpreting keywords with publics as a dialogic practice, this body of work contributes processes and research to embed plurality in collections of contemporary art.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Museums; Interpretation; Socially Engaged Art; Collections; Contemporary Art; Action Research; Participatory Research; Inclusion; Artivism
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Screen School
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2020 09:04
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2022 12:22
DOI or ID number: 10.24377/LJMU.t.00012518
Supervisors: Byrne, J, Wilson, K and Fallows, C
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12518
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