“We've no problem inheriting that knowledge on to other people”: Exploring the characteristics of motivation for attending a participatory archives event

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Title: “We've no problem inheriting that knowledge on to other people”: Exploring the characteristics of motivation for attending a participatory archives event
Authors: Cushing, Amber
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/10056
Date: Apr-2018
Online since: 2019-04-23T07:34:38Z
Abstract: While cultural heritage institutions increasingly use participatory events to draw in new audiences, little is known about what motivates participants to attend these events. Twenty semi-structured interviews with 29 individuals who attended one of three Inspiring Ireland 1916 public collection days were conducted in order to explore participants' motivations for attending the event and perceived benefits. A participatory archives event, the collection days invited members of the public to bring relevant possessions to be digitally captured and have their story of the item recorded. The stories and items were then made available on the Inspiring Ireland website commemorating the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, Ireland. While participatory initiatives have enjoyed increasing attention in the archives literature of late, much of this work attempts to define terms or model behaviours from the perspective of the archivists. Little existing work attempts to explore the motivations of individuals to participate in these events using empirical methods. Findings suggest motivations for attending a collection day can be characterised across four characteristics that can be categorised as aligning with individual or communal perception of benefits: A) to share their story and provide evidence in order to influence the contemporary narrative of the Rising (individual benefit), B) to relieve the burdens of preservation and remembering (individual benefit), C) to find out more about the object or context of the object (individual benefit), and D) to share their object via the open access features of the Inspiring Ireland website as a way to fulfil a civic duty and support a public good (communal benefit). These findings contradict existing literature about the purpose for engaging in participatory initiatives (to pluralise collections) and assumptions about why individuals are motivated to engage (altruistic, intrinsic motivation). Further exploration of the concept of communal versus individual perceived benefit could influence the ways in which cultural heritage institutions justify their role in society. The concept of an archival user is evolving. Understanding how participation can be considered use will help institutions develop a more holistic understanding of use in contemporary settings.
Funding Details: University College Dublin
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal: Library and Information Science Research
Volume: 40
Issue: 2
Start page: 135
End page: 143
Copyright (published version): 2018 Elsevier
Keywords: Cultural heritage institutions1916 Easter RisingIrelandMotivationArchival user
DOI: 10.1016/j.lisr.2018.06.005
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Information and Communication Studies Research Collection

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