(Re)capturing the Emotional Geography of Lost Music Venues: A Case Study of the Willow Community Digital Archive

Rachel Elizabeth Cowgill*, David Bainbridge, Alan Dix, Victoria Hoyle, Vicki Fong, David Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The loss of many high-street music venues in recent years has highlighted their connectedness to place and communities. Understanding the emotional geographies of these venues, as experienced by their patrons, is key to explaining the outcry that can accompany such closures. In these circumstances it can be challenging to try to (re)capture the intangible elements that defined a lost venue for its patrons and widen the scope for musicological enquiry. This paper sets out to address that challenge by exploring methods developed by the Willow Community Digital Archive to co-create a community archive in celebration of The Willow, a family-run restaurant-cum-nightclub that operated in York, UK, for over 40 years. Further, we detail how these methods informed the crafting of a general-purpose digital library system to form the archive. We also detail some initial experiments with ChatGPT, embedded into the archive, to investigate its potential to encourage visitors to engage with and inspire further contributions to the archive.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDLfM 2024
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference on Digital Libraries for Musicology
EditorsDavid M. Weigl
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Apr 2024

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