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Research on dance archives creates new relationships

News: Apr 25, 2019

Astrid von Rosen, researcher and coordinator within the Center for Critical Heritage Studies' (CCHS) Archives cluster, has together with eight other researchers participated in the VR-funded (Swedish Research Council) research project "Turning Points and Continuity: the changing roles of performance in society 1880-1925". Highlighting the interplay between renewal and a living tradition and knowledge transfer in performing arts history the project shows that popular and high culture have not been as separated as previous historiography claimed but mixed in different ways. Theater actors could, for example, continue to develop their star quality by working on completely different scenes, recording movies, and use the mass media in their career building. Dancers, trained in classical ballet, could successfully perform at variety theatres. Singers switched during their careers between opera and operetta. With this starting point, the archive material from time needs to be examined in new ways and previously unused source material has been used. The results of the project can now be read in the recently published ”I avantgardets skugga. Brytpunkter och kontinuitet i svensk teater kring 1900” (LIR skrifter 2019, open access: https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/59808). In her chapter, Astrid von Rosen uses archives in different countries to investigate a migration history where a Russian dancer, due to the Russian revolution, came to work in Finland, Norway, Sweden, the United States and in different countries in Europe.

− It is great that the CCHS archive cluster was involved and could contribute to the previously excluded or downplayed scenic expressions and to artists being highlighted. Digital material and digital methods had a crucial importance for the result being so critically interesting when it comes to migration and dance history, says Astrid von Rosen. For me it was especially important to highlight, acknowledge and problematize the various relationships that the work with the dance archives generated. This, in turn, has contributed to continuing research on relationships - which includes the creation of new relationships - in dance archives. Right now, Astrid and two co-researchers are in the middle of a concrete collaboration between Russian and Swedish stakeholders. The archive research is activist in that it specifically wants to open Gothenburg's locally oriented dance archive for transnational connections.

The work within the project also laid a good foundation for what became ”Expansion and Diversity: Digitally mapping and exploring independent performance in Gothenburg 1965-2000”
a research project which in the autumn of 2018 was granted SEK 13 million from the Swedish Research Council. In the Expansion and Diversity project, humanistic research is combined with digital epistemology, and digital methods, to solve questions about how a very varied and mobile cultural heritage, which has involved a great many different people and groupings, can be acknowledged, studied and become more accessible.

Expansion and Diversity

Turning Points and Continuity
Special issue from the research project Turning Points and Continuity

CCHS Archives Cluster


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