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207.2 Digital Preservation in Contemporary Visual Art Workflows.


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Category: Communication

Description: Effective seeking, management, preservation and distribution of digital data objects are critical to successful and sustainable performance in a range of contemporary professions and research domains. The contemporary visual artist operates in a professional domain that is explicitly comprised of research, experimentation, documentation and communication activities, but which takes place beyond the infrastructures of an institution, and beyond the reach of digital curation, digital preservation and research data management (RDM) policies, principles and advocacy. Additionally, the precarious economic position of the visual artist provides the opportunity to explore the strategies of digital object retrieval, management, preservation and re-use as they are developed and deployed by individuals with no particular digital curation or preservation training and with strictly limited resources. For both of these reasons, examination of the digital preservation practices of professional visual artists offers excellent potential for a particularly powerful case study with implications for the digital preservation community and the visual art sector alike. This paper describes ongoing qualitative research with a substantial sample of UK contemporary visual artists to understand their workflows, the value of digital tools and objects within these workflows, and artists’ current strategies for creating, retrieving, managing and preserving their digital objects. This study establishes that artists highly value their digital objects and rely on them for the critical tasks of creating and communicating their artwork. However despite the crucial role of digital object management, preservation and reuse, artists do not receive any instruction or guidance on these skills during their training. Findings suggest that filling this skills gap will provide artists with valuable skills that may significantly support the sustainability of their individual practices. Note: This paper is embargoed until the associated PhD research is completed and defended.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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  • 207. Digital Art Preservation

    The four papers in Session 207 explore the issues and topics pertaining to the theme of Digital art preservation, including the opportunities and chal...

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