Community Custodians of Popular Music's Past : A DIY Approach to Heritage book cover
1st Edition

Community Custodians of Popular Music's Past
A DIY Approach to Heritage

ISBN 9781138961203
Published October 3, 2017 by Routledge
210 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book examines do-it-yourself (DIY) approaches to the collection, preservation, and display of popular music heritage being undertaken by volunteers in community archives, museums and halls of fame globally. DIY institutions of popular music heritage are much more than ‘unofficial’ versions of ‘official’ institutions; rather, they invoke a complex network of affect and sociality, and are sites where interested people – often enthusiasts – are able to assemble around shared goals related to the preservation of and ownership over the material histories of popular music culture. Drawing on interviews and observations with founders, volunteers and heritage workers in 23 DIY institutions in Australasia, Europe and North America, the book highlights the potentialities of bottom-up, community-based interventions into the archiving and preservation of popular music’s material history. It reveals the kinds of collections being housed in these archives, how they are managed and maintained, and explores their relationship to mainstream heritage institutions. The study also considers the cultural labor of volunteers in the DIY institution, arguing that while these are places concerned with heritage management and the preservation of artefacts, they are also extensions of musical communities in the present in which activities around popular music preservation have personal, cultural, community and heritage benefits. By looking at volunteers’ everyday interventions in the archiving and curating of popular music’s material past, the book highlights how DIY institutions build upon national heritage strategies at the community level and have the capacity to contribute to the democratization of popular music heritage. This book will have a broad appeal to a range of scholars in the fields of popular music studies, musicology, ethnomusicology, archive studies and archival science, museum studies, critical heritage studies, cultural studies, cultural sociology and media studies.

Table of Contents

1. The Do-It-Yourself Approach to Heritage: An Introduction  2. The Global Extent of DIY Institutions: Popular Music Archives, Museums and Halls of Fame Around the World  3. Founding DIY Institutions: Saving Popular Music’s Material Past from the Rubbish Dump  4. Places for Living: The Volunteer Experience in DIY Institutions of Popular Music Heritage  5. Communities of Heritage Practice: Becoming a Professional Amateur in Popular Music Preservation 6. Relationships with Authorized Heritage Institutions: Drawing on Others’ Expertise  7. DIY Futures: The Challenge of Sustainability  Index

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Sarah Baker is an Associate Professor of Cultural Sociology at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.


This generous book draws on an extensive survey of DIY archival ventures, the practices, experience and insights of people dedicated to the heritage of popular music. Baker’s writing attests authoritatively, clearly and sensitively to the value of DIY archival activity in everyday life and for the importance of popular music as an integral part of our shared cultural histories. Baker offers a deft balance of extensive empirical detail and theorisation regarding a number of current issues concerning the creation and status of the DIY archive, its affective dimensions and its sustainability in the face of a range of challenges. While this book will be of interest to popular music scholars and DIY practitioners both, it has a lot to say a wider constituency concerned with public history and offers a starting point for further research, theorisation and indeed practice.

Paul Long, Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research