Archiving Austin 

Our work is grounded in the idea that Punk is an American folk practice - rooted in and reflective of the social and cultural life of a community.


And there may be no better place to see that in action than Austin, Texas.

In 1979, there were a handful of emerging 2nd-wave Punk scenes in the US - DC and LA come to mind - but the Austin scene is rather unique: grounded in a long-standing, progressive arts community; refreshed annually by the incoming classes at UT and other colleges; with a defined geography that made its "edges" distinct from its neighboring scenes - and insulated by its embrace of many creative expressions and a devotion to "keeping Austin weird."

Another thing that helps: many folks are still in and around Austin - and are willing to share their stories. In unpacking the Big Boys story, we are literally unpacking people's boxes, storage units and personal and social histories. What started as a hybird documentary film production and an archival research-and-maybe-rescue project has blossomed into a full-blown effort of its own. 

As a result, we are focusing on new fundraising and infrastructure for documenting the rise of the Austin Punk scene, from its earliest inklings to its stretch from clubs and record stores to ditches and ramps across Texas and beyond. (For the sake of scope-control, we are first focusing on 1975-1985.)


Our 2021 plans (all subject to C19) currently include: 

  • Archival Pop-Ups like Scanning Parties to identify and triage items and collections, and mass-digitization of objects and the stories behind them;

  • A major Fragile Formats push for Texas, to locate, conserve and digitize as much audio and video tape, film, original art, printed matter and photography as possible (and, the stories carried in our most-fragile format, the human brain);

  • A "live archiving" experiment and Podcast led by Dotty Farrell, to capture stories and conversations with the Tribe, especially its elders and marginalized voices.

  • Supporting storage and legacy planning for materials that need additional conservation, care or security, in-depth research, or that are being (or will be) loaned or gifted to the Punk Archive - and especially to create support and stabilization for collections impacted by COVID.

  • Scheduling full-length interviews with key people, regardless of their connection to the Big Boys projects that started all this, to preserve their voices for future researchers, documentarians and the public. 

Your support makes all this possible - and a shared success. If you have memories, memorabilia or other resources to contribute - please be in touch! 


the tl;dr

We started working on the Big Boys doc, and ended up with a  whole curatorial department focused on Texas. 

The Texas Collection at the Punk Archive is led by Dotty Farrell. 


We are actively looking to support Texas Punk collectors and artists in caretaking and digitizing their holdings - and gathering their stories and memories, especially from the early and mid-70s.


We can help with: 

- Conservation and Digitization

- Coaching and hands-on support 

- Secure storage and archival care

- Future-proofing and Legacy planning

Reach out for more info - and if your collection needs immediate care, we can help.