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#findingSwansea – a celebratory archival response

This project was born out of a discussion during the recent Friends of the Glynn Vivian committee on the current and potential future role of the Friends. Following the lengthy pandemic lockdown, there was an increasing pressure on institutions such as the Glynn Vivian to make their collections more accessible to the wider community, particularly in the digital realm. We felt that there was a huge cultural potential stored within archives that rarely gets to see the light of day. Given that the role of the FOGV is to support the Gallery, to support learning activities and to encourage appreciation of the arts, it seemed like a good idea to try to find a way to help to bring the archive out of it’s boxes and on to an online platform, whilst adding the experience, passion and personalities of the Friends members along the way.

The idea is that the Friends will select an object from the Glynn Vivian collection connected to a seasonal theme, and collectively produce a portfolio of interpretation material based around this – this can take the form of oral history, social history, artistic response, etc. – we are interested not only in adding artistic knowledge to the object, but bringing the art into a broader cultural relevance through positioning it alongside the social history of Swansea, and Wales at that time. By doing this, we hope to add to the digital resources of the Glynn Vivian by helping to digitise the archive and connect it to wider interest groups.

We are seeking both to create a repository of primary documentary sources that can aid scholars and aficionados in their research and appreciation of the archive, and to produce a vital contemporary artistic response to prove the ongoing relevance of the Gallery collection.