Past, present and future: transformational approaches to utilizing archives for research, learning and teaching
Britt, Helena; Stephen-Cran, Jimmy; Shaw, Alan
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This article focuses on transformational approaches to utilizing archives in the creation of textile and textile-related products. The existing context in terms of historical resource and archive use by the textile industry and for textile-based creative practice, research, learning and teaching, is discussed. Literature, projects and examples reviewed indicate reproductive, adaptive and transformative approaches to working from historical and archival resources. In the context of this article reproduction involves copying, adaptation refers to alterations and transformation involves complete change in form, nature or appearance. A deficit in existing studies surrounding articulation of approaches to archive utilization is identified. Three projects undertaken at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) are presented as case studies, which seek to fill the identified gap and contribute to existing research. For each case study, the aims and contributions to research are described and an overview of the project context and methodology is provided. Findings in terms of approaches to archive utilization are discussed, as are the outputs and outreach activities resulting from the projects, which ensures that to some extent, examination of the past informs creative activity in the present and impacts upon the future creation of textiles. The paper concludes by discussing how the case studies have evidenced varying approaches to archive utilization and proposes recommendations to formulate forthcoming strategies and activities.