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Contemporary Art and Heritage: Interventions at the Brontë Parsonage Museum

Cass, Nicholas (2015) Contemporary Art and Heritage: Interventions at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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In this thesis I examine the Contemporary Arts Programme at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, with a particular focus on the commissioning and installation of artwork in the period interior of the museum. Reading the work of Paula Rego, Cornelia Parker, Su Blackwell, Charlotte Cory and Catherine Bertola through the literature of heritage and dialogical aesthetics, I seek to map the unexplored liminal territory between the Brontë Parsonage Museum as 'shrine' and the contemporary art installations as 'intervention'. The purpose, through following a trajectory which has its origin in what Malinowski described as 'foreshadowed problems', has been to produce a rich account of the ways in which art and heritage practices intersect. A reflexive ethnographic stance, in which the process has developed through and in, rather than prior to, the research process, acknowledges my own position as artist, museum educator and academic, engaged with a particular site where I have used visitor comment books and semi structured interviews with artists, staff and visitors to produce this account. This stance acknowledges that writing about art is itself a creative practice and should not be seen as existing as an independent, external addition; to be so, it would remain a 'shadow' of that which it describes. Instead, it is my purpose to map the complexity of these installations as points of reference in the broader topology of heritage practice and contemporary art to demonstrate that they are not reducible to the paradigmatic arguments which are used to describe their existence within the museum space. Often characterised as 'social outreach, public relations, economic development and art tourism', I argue it is more productive to consider these 'interventions' as dialogic heritage, both in order to understand their 'affective' role in the process of interpreting the legacy of the Brontës, and to understand ways in which they address visitor experience.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: contemporary art, heritage, Brontës, Brontë Parsonage Museum, intervention, visitor comment books,
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.684515
Depositing User: Mr N Cass
Date Deposited: 04 May 2016 12:16
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2016 14:42
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12608

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