Can we fix it? Archiving and analysing ‘Bob the Builder’: a resources paradigm and research method
2017-11-27T17:20:11Z (GMT) by
As a practice, archiving preserves and protects information that would otherwise be lost, offering important resources to researchers to interpret, chart and define what the archives represent, allowing the public to reflect on records held within them. Archiving is open to many disciplines, organisations and institutions with distinctions made in the care and organisation of records maintained under these disciplines. In terms of animation, archiving finished films on various formats is an established practice, and researchers interpret those films within their own research, but the animation production materials, used in the creation of the films are not privy to an established form of archival practice. Whilst these archives – or collections of materials do exist, they are archived without any unified, peer reviewed specialist interpretation of the care and organisation of the collections using a taxonomy that reflects the unique aspects of animation production. There is a clear need to establish the archiving of animation production materials as a distinct practice with its own taxonomy and philosophy. Examining the current practices from other forms of archiving that are applied to animation production collections and developing a distinct model of practice from these models can achieve this. Once archiving animation materials is an established practice and data is managed in a way that reflects the acknowledges the distinctive aspects of animation as a form, data and records created from the collections can then be used as empirical evidence to enhance the study of animation. This thesis begins that work by developing and applying a model of practice, using a collection of previously uncatalogued materials to explore the possible ways in which an animation production archive would best be used as primary research material. The collection is used to conduct an investigation into British children’s television animation. As a form, animation is often neglected and often lost in semantics as a children’s genre and within that neglect is a disregard even within the study of children’s programming itself, a body which would claim to take children’s televisual content seriously. Even bodies such as the Office of Communications (Ofcom) and the British Audience Research Board (BARB) have no definition of what an animated television show for children is, and yet continues to provide data with this absent definition present in their research. By using a collection of animation materials to create a taxonomy and studying the records created whilst using this taxonomy it is possible to define the form of children’s television animation and in doing so prove the use of a collection of animation materials as a model of research and the practice of animation archiving as worthy of its own district identity, philosophy and practice which can continue to be developed for all types of animation.