Tracey Williams




University of Auckland, New Zealand


Tracey Williams holds a Diploma in Fine and Applied Arts from London Guildhall University, an MFA(hons) from Elam School of Fine Arts, and a BA from Otago University. Her research interests include print culture, local knowledge and history, cultural theory, community cultural development, authorship, archives and collaboration. Based in Auckland New Zealand, Tracey works as an artist, curator, academic and educator. She has presented solo exhibitions at dealer and public galleries; and is a founding member of two collaborative arts-based research projects. From 2005 to 2011 she taught in fine arts programmes at Auckland University for Elam School of Fine Arts and the Centre for Continuing Education; and made several contributions to panels and symposiums on the subjects of print culture and artist-run initiatives. Earlier in her life she worked as a journalist and documentary researcher. She has recently been employed as manager and curator of a community-based public art gallery.


This paper is presented as part of a panel discussion, The Archive. For more details click here.

Paper title

Best Wishes Nora Gee: A Case Study


A prototype for the practice of activating archival material through print can be found in a 2010 collaborative research project called Best Wishes Nora Gee; whereby an institutional, open archive was engaged in collaboration with print through its dual position as subject and object. The project was developed through Jean-Franáois Lyotard's theory of mininarratives and Michel Foucault's conception of the archive as a general system of the formation and transformation of statements. Best Wishes Nora Gee, shown at the University of Auckland gallery projectspace B431, involved the creation of a digital database over three months from an entire printed card collection held in the Special Collections at the Auckland City Libraries. The list was then formatted according to the perceived values of the collection's original owner, Nora Gee, and re-presented as a print-based exhibition ' including wall works, editioned samplers (ephemera) and a perfect bound catalogue. The original database was gifted back to the Special Collections, along with a copy of the catalogue and a selection of the wall works and samplers made in response to analysis of the collection. An examination of the database revealed categories that had no institutional relevance like 'kittens', 'birds' and design details. In this project strategies emerged from an archival discourse for the re-employment of local historical narratives re-presented in a contemporary practice by assessing methodologies applied to the concepts, materiality, dissemination and collection of print ephemera. The artefacts generated from the archive animate and contribute to knowledge as vehicles for new, small, reconfigured, imagined or forgotten histories. The utilisation of print methodology to intersect, order, articulate and distribute statements, allows for the heterogeneity of localised and specific narratives, like Nora Gee's, to have a place within discursive systems alongside the standard, generalised narratives of places and peoples.


Friday 30 September


1:30pm - 3.00pm






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