Challenging archives: delivering research access, public engagement and the curatorial care of the Franko B archive


  • Theatre Collection

Project summary

Franko B is an artist whose work explores the limits of the body, touching on pain, suffering and sexuality in contemporary culture. His extraordinary physical performances have involved blood-letting. He attracts multidisciplinary research interest from art historians, artists, curators, medical humanities historians and anthropologists researching questions of the body as a site of connection between social, biomedical, political and affective forces.

We will collaborate with the artist to catalogue and conserve his unique archive and make it accessible to meet established demands for research and public dissemination. The nature of the documentation presents complex legal, ethical and practical challenges for archival and museological practice. These interdisciplinary challenges reflect his work and run parallel to those faced by other medical and LGBT+ collections that contain similarly challenging material.

As part of the project, we will develop guidelines and methodology for curatorial care and access to challenging material. An advisory committee of curators, academics, lawyers and regional medical humanities network representatives will support us and a paper will be published to serve as a model for other similar archives.