Reframing Vivien Leigh: Stardom, Archives and Access is a 20-month AHRC funded research project which examines how the legacies of screen star Vivien Leigh are archived and curated by a range of public institutions in the South West of England. The project will take public and academic audiences behind the scenes of local star archives to illuminate new, unseen histories of the Leigh's life and career as one of the twentieth century's most iconic female stars.
The Reframing project foregrounds original scholarly interrogation of Leigh's collections through collaborations with a range of institutions and archivists who have shaped her legacy for distinct regional audiences. These include: The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum (BDCM), The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), and Topsham Museum. Through these collaborations, the project will illuminate new stories about the meanings and uses of Leigh's stardom for South West audiences and connect these meanings to Leigh's presence as a European star in Hollywood. It seeks to produce new research around museum artefacts that tell of her uniquely South West connections - including costumes, correspondence, scrapbooks and memorabilia - and the curatorial stories that have resulted in their acquisition and regional significance, connecting them to global Hollywood narratives.
The project will showcase an original podcast series exploring Leigh's South West connections. 3D modelling and a new Story Map interface will allow users to explore archive materials in new ways and learn about their origins and connections from Hollywood film sets to coastal museum cases. The project will culminate with a 2-day academic symposium and public exhibition event, featuring interactive displays, fan-made exhibitions and roundtable discussions with South West curators and archivists and experts in Leigh's regional history. The project will also produce a new academic monograph, titled Reframing Vivien Leigh: Gender, Stardom and the Archive, forthcoming with Oxford University Press, 2020.