The East End Archive at the Cass is an online digital resource intended for artists, designers, academics and researchers from a cross-section of disciplines. For the purpose of creating this collection, the East End has been understood as both a geographic and conceptual space, interpreted as the perpetually shifting frontier within the urban sprawl of London that is part tangible and part imagined.
The archive is currently being constructed by a team of staff from within The Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design and is now in its second phase. The first phase of the archive is currently hosted by VADS and consists of a selection of work from Paul Trevor’s Eastender Archive. The second phase establishes a selection of diverse bodies of work deposited online, with larger files stored on hard drives for production for future educational and research events. This phase has also seen the development of collaborative ventures with other local groups and research projects.
In order to create an archive for the future, the team are interested in bringing together not only historic bodies of work but contemporary collections from photographers currently working in the field. The work collected ranges from traditional documentary to works of the imagination, in order to reflect “our East End”: the ever-changing frontier where dreams, dissent and transformation co-exist.
The East End Archive research group has been collecting work from artists and photographers whose practice is concerned with the East End of London and its diaspora; the archive will hold only bodies of work in order to understand more fully the working methodology of the practitioners, and to give context to the work. Audrey Linkman, who was instrumental in building the Documentary Photography Archive in Manchester, commented that she sees “framed photographs in exhibitions as … ripped out of the context that endows greater depth of meaning … The body of work shows the photographer’s working method, it reveals omissions, reflects obsessions … It tells the story of the photographer’s journey.”
East End Archive Research Group
Archive Research Committee
James Russell Cant