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The personal archive as historical record1

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This paper is based on the project ‘Becoming citizens: Family life and the politics of disability', a chronicle of the lives of 13 families in the Seattle area who raised children with developmental disabilities in the period 1940–1980. The project was a commission from the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs in Seattle. The programme inserted an artist into a community to realize a collaborative project. The principle product is a book to be published by the University of Washington Press in the spring of 2005. This article will briefly outline the project, present its integration of images and interviews as a method of presentation and further discuss the ways the informal environment of the family home is both a rich source of ‘vernacular' history, as well as a resource for constructing ‘official' histories.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2005

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