Past Is Prologue

Creating Art From A Living Archive

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Past Is Prologue: A Living Archive Conference

LIFT, engage and ICCE Goldsmiths, University of London are proud to announce Past Is Prologue, a public seminar exploring the ways in which artists re-animate archive material such as photographs, film, artifacts and oral histories and use these collections as stimulus for new work.

Over a day of dialogues and presentations, key artists across a diverse range of art forms will share how they have used letters, faxes, objects from past shows and events to inspire them to create new artistic works - ranging from live art, dance, film and music.

Past Is Prologue will see an interrogation of the various ways artists respond to and are inspired by archive materials over panel and breakout discussions, as well as artistic presentations in music and film.

Conference themes:

  • The use of archives and archived material toward the creation of new work
  • Tangible and intangible archives
  • Re-constitution, re-enactment or re-presentation of archives
  • Curatorial issues in the exhibition of performance archives
  • Performance re-enactment and questions of authorship, originality and subjectivity
  • The ethics of re-using archive material
  • The participation of archivists, students and other members of the public
  • Methodologies for exploring, navigating, selecting and interpreting archived material towards developing new work
  • Issues of duration and inclusion in assembling new or temporary archives


Key note speakers and presentations for the day include artists Tim Etchells, Siobhan Davies and Sue Mayo, Sarah Whatley (Director of Centre for Dance Research - C-DaRE) and Nayia Tiakoumaki (Whitechapel Gallery). The day will be chaired by Director of the Whitworth Art Gallery Maria Balshaw.

Past Is Prologue

Wednesday, Sep. 18th 2013 at 10am-6:30pm

Goldsmiths, University of London, Lewisham Way, London, United Kingdom, SE14 6NW

New Academic Building, Lecture Theatre LG01

Registration for Past Is Prologue is £95

Register by 1 August for the early bird 25% discount of £71

engage members enjoy 20% discount price of £76

We have 10 bursaries available to cover ticket costs for individuals who would not be able to attend the conference otherwise. For more information on bursaries and how to apply email

Price includes tea & coffee at breaks, lunch and after reception drinks

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