Curriculum Planning & Resources

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Collections & Archives: Art Inquiry Resource Guide 2009

Imagine the space beneath your bed. An inventory might include receipts from the mall, old notes passed during last year’s math class, clothing tags, or food. The possibilities are limitless and outlandish. That space under your bed is also an archive, one that is every bit as interesting and telling as the archives that house a Whitman poem or Goya print. Ask yourself: If someone were to collect the items that have accumulated in the corners of your existence, what kind of story would it tell about you? 

We are all archivists in our everyday lives. This notion is among the main principles guiding this inquiry—but it is also only the beginning. This inquiry explores the various ways in which archival procedures are related to a wide range of creative disciplines. 

themes explored:
• What is an Archive? 
• Collecting / Accumulating / Possessing 
• Categorizing / Arranging / Curating 
• Personal v. Historical / Truth v. Fiction / Remixing 
• Tangible v. Intangible / Ephemeral


Art Inquiry Resource Guides are based on themes generated for, 
and during, New Urban Arts’ Summer Art Inquiry—a five-week, interdisciplinary summer program that brings together high school students and artists in a critical exploration of creative practice. Each guide is based around a specified theme and offers individual and collaborative activities, questions, and prompts to guide the development of your own personal inquiry and/or curriculum. 

We hope you find these resource guides useful in sparking new ideas for your own creative practice, whether individually, collaboratively, or in the classroom. Each publication’s format allows you to adapt, combine, or alter the activities to best meet the needs of your specific environment.