A labour of love: the affective archives of popular music culture

Paul Long, Sarah Baker, Lauren Istvandity, Jez Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This paper outlines the prodigious field of public history preservation practice prompted by popular music culture, exploring the relationship of affect, history and the archive. Framing this exploration with a concept of cultural justice, it considers the still uncertain place of popular music as a subject of heritage and preservation, assessing the parameters of what counts as an archive and issues of democratization. It offers a discussion of the archival and affective turns in the humanities as a means of framing the politics of practice focused on popular music culture. The paper offers empirical evidence of the relational qualities of the popular music archive considered in affective terms. Discussion draws first on evidence from the vernacular practices of communities in what Baker and Collins describe as ‘do-it-yourself’ archives and secondly from ‘authorized’ collections in established archival institutions (Baker and Collins, “Sustaining Popular Music’s Material Culture,” 3). The paper explores the motivations of popular music archivists and how they articulate the affective dimensions of their work, and how their work qualifies personal and collective commitments and expressions of value and indeed, relations with users. In conclusion, affect is identified as pertinent to wider issues in the relations of archive, archivist and user and the possibilities of historical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-79
Number of pages19
JournalArchives and Records
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Affect
  • authorized archives
  • cultural justice
  • DIY archives
  • popular music
  • public history

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