Thomas, V. (2010) Keeping it in the family. Paper presented to: [Record] [Create] Oral History in Art, Craft and Design, Sackler Centre, Victoria & Albert Museum, 02-03 July 2010. UK: Oral History Society.
A legacy can be seen as leaving something for future generations. This paper explores some of the issues around preserving, recording but also promoting and using the legacy of an artist or designer. Participant research with four separate families has shown that oral history may be key to preserving and understanding their legacy for future generations. John and Mark Wickham have inherited the work of their grandmother, Mabel Lucie Attwell. Zuzanna Lipinska is preserving the work of her parents, the poster designer and caricaturist Eryk Lipinski and Anna Goslawska (Ha-Ga) the illustrator. Marie Craft is deciding how to represent Kinuko Craft’s illustration collection in Europe and the designer John Wood is preparing an exhibition of his life’s work as he nears retirement. In all these cases, oral history records and preserves memories that may seem partial, it can be used to capture what is important to the next generation and it can be seen to put the record straight. New technology such as video, scanning and the Internet are used as a way of preserving an authentic record. Their history is voiced by the creators themselves, by those who shared their lives and now manage their legacy. The research builds on network, consumption theories and studies of relevance of the family tree. It is not clear at this point whether all the case studies will be included in the final presentation. Additional experience is being suggested as the research continues. The presentation would be audio- visual capturing the distinct family voice and adding it to the Oral History in Art, Craft and Design.