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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Dr Gretchen Larsen

O’Reilly, D., Doherty, K., Carnegie, E. & Larsen, G. (2017). Cultural memory and the heritagisation of a music consumption community. Arts and the Market 7(2): 174-190.

Author(s) from Durham


The purpose of this article is to explore how music consumption communities remember their past. Specifically, the article reports on the role of heritage in constructing the cultural memory of a consumption community and on the implications for its identity and membership .

Drawing upon insights from theories of cultural memory, heritage and collective consumption, this interpretive inquiry makes use of interview, documentary and artefactual analysis, as well as visual and observational data, to analyse an exhibition of the community’s popular music heritage entitled 'One Family – One Tribe: The Art and Artefacts of New Model Army'.

The analysis shows how the community creates a sense of its own past and reflects this in memories, imagination, and the creative work of the band.

Research limitations/implications
This is a single case study, but one whose exploratory character provides fruitful insights into the relationship between cultural memory, imagination, heritage and consumption communities.

Practical implications
The paper shows how consumption communities can do the work of social remembering and re-imagining of their own past, thus strengthening their identity through time.

The paper offers a theoretical framework for the process by which music consumption communities construct their own past, and shows how theories of cultural memory and heritage can help to understand this important process. It also illustrates the importance of imagination, as well as memory, in this process.