2008 annual lecture: Alchemist magpies? Collecting archivists & their critics

Are archivists complicit in helping the victors write history, privileging some voices and silencing others? Are they alchemists transforming 'turds and sticks' into the gold of societal heritage? Or are they just born collectors lucky enough to be paid to indulge their personal antiquarian passions? In this lecture, Michael Piggott reviews some recent criticisms of collecting archives and archivists, drawing on the theoretical literature, personal and professional experiences and knowledge of Australia's two largest university collecting archives: the Noel Butlin Archives Centre at The Australian National University and the University of Melbourne Archives.

About the speaker

Michael Piggott is Manager, Cultural Collections Group and University Archivist at the University of Melbourne, where he has worked since 1998. Previously he worked in the National Library, the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives of Australia. He has postgraduate qualifications in librarianship, archives and history and has been involved with the Australian Society of Archivists since its formation in 1975. Hisco-edited publications include Archives: Recordkeeping in Society and The Records Continuum: Ian MacLean and Australian Archives First Fifty Years. He is an Honorary Fellow at the School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne and a Member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Organisational Social Informatics at Monash.

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