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20th April 2022

British Pop Culture archives set to open at UoM

British Popular Culture archives are set to open in Manchester, run by the John Rylands library
British Pop Culture archives set to open at UoM
Photo: Neil Rickards @ Wikimedia Commons

The University of Manchester is set to open the first national collection dedicated to the preservation and research of British Popular Culture. The archive will open at the John Rylands Library and Research Institute, in collaboration with the British Pop Archive, to celebrate British Popular Culture.

The archive will look specifically at television, counter-culture, music, and other pop culture fundamentals. Research conducted will look at impact and influence both domestically and around the world, looking also at impacts of specific areas such as politics and the economy.

The project will work with music journalist and broadcaster Jon Savage, who has recently been appointed Professor of Popular Culture at UoM. Savage gained notoriety with his history of punk book, England’s Dreaming and has also appeared in documentaries on the BritPop music scene and new-wave band New Order.

The flagship exhibition launched by the archive will be ‘Collection’, which will centre around Manchester based pop culture, it’s culture scene and unique location for all things pop culture. It will go in to depth about why Manchester was chosen as the home of the exhibition and will be led by Mat Bancroft, Jon Savage and Hannah Barker.

On the opening of the archives, Jon Savage said: “It’s very easy to look at artefacts from 400 years ago and say that’s really important. What we are saying is this is important now. Maybe if more people had kept material from Shakespeare’s time it wouldn’t just be Shakespeare that we’re talking about.”

Art Curator, Archivist and Director, Mat Bancroft, who has been art director for Johnny Marr since 2012, will also lead the archives:

“We launch the British Pop Archive with a Manchester focused exhibition full of unique and unseen artefacts. These materials tell the story of a vibrant city with art, culture and music at its heart. More than that they foreground the creative catalysts, musicians, producers, artists, designers and writers who have instigated this repositioning of landscape – to propose media as the new cultural capital of the city.”

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