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Rooms 2084

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In September 2017 Room 2084 was installed at London College of Communication (LCC) to display a selection of objects from the personal archives and collections of staff and students in the Design School during the London Design Festival.

The aim of this display was to examine the role such objects play in the research and practice of the school and how these relate to the collection policies of the institution’s archives and special collections. To this end ‘trials’ were held throughout the duration of the show where members of staff would ‘defend’ their objects to a ‘jury’ who would determine if the items were worthy of inclusion the institution’s own archive to become the focus of study in the future.

Our paper offers a reflective evaluation of the value of performing to an audience, within an exhibition setting, an archive selection procedure based on criteria set by Schellenberg and Jenkinson. Our analysis was influenced by a number of interviews, post-event, with archivists and exhibitors that took part in Room 2084. We suggest that this activity moves the theoretical debate, concerning archives, towards an arena of performance and public perception of institutional archives whilst revealing some of the difficulties and friction in archival selection processes currently in use.



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