Shored Against Our Ruin: Experiential Themes in the Conservation of the Whaling Industry
The aim of this dissertation is to critically evaluate the possibilities for experiential conservation, with particular reference to the conservation of industrial sites. This dissertation is structured in three parts: an introductory section, the main thematic discussions, and a conclusion. A gazetteer of the sites used for the case study is provided as an appendix. The focus on industrial conservation in this dissertation will be provided through the case study of the sites of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century whaling stations in Scotland and Iceland. The introductory section contains: the aim and general overview, the literature review and background to the topic, an explanation of the methodology used, and an overview of whaling stations as a building type, including a short history of the modern whaling industry and a discussion of whaling stations’ relevance as a case study for this topic. The central section, the main discussion of themes, is made up of three chapters, each with the same structure. Each chapter moves from the general to the specific: first, the wider application and context of the theme is examined; second, the theme’s application and use in conservation is discussed, and hypotheses developed as appropriate; and finally the theme and hypotheses are applied to, or discussed with reference to, the case study of whaling stations. The three themes were selected to give as wide-ranging and relevant a discussion of experiential conservation as possible within the length of the dissertation. They are not intended as distinct, exclusive approaches, but rather as discussions of some of the main existing and potential issues in experiential approaches to conservation. The first theme assesses the relevance of deconstruction theory to experiential conservation, particularly as a way of understanding the relationship between material and experiential approaches. The second theme considers how conservation projects can be used to inspire the imagination, with reference to the writings of W.G. Sebald. The third theme considers possible experiential effects of details and fragments in conservation projects, using concepts of exformation, montage and collage. The concluding section assesses the themes together, commenting on issues they raise and discussing the success of this dissertation in achieving its aim.