Manchester Together Archive

The Institute for Cultural Practices, in collaboration with the Manchester Art Gallery, Archives+ and Belle Vue Productions, is leading on a programme of research related to the spontaneous memorials left in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack.

From November 2017 to ongoing

Partners: The Institute for Cultural Practices, Manchester Art Gallery, Archives+, Belle Vue Productions

Manchester Together aims to develop a digital archiving platform to support the interpretation of more than 10,000 items that were left in St Ann’s Square in Manchester following the Arena attack on 22nd May 2017.

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The items, which include letters, drawings, poems, soft toys and balloons, have been kept by Manchester Art Gallery and are the focus of research and documentation by the University’s Institute for Cultural Practices (supported by Creative Manchester), Manchester Art Gallery, Archives+ and Belle Vue Productions.

Between November 2017 and May 2018, postgraduate students from the Art Galleries and Museums Studies MA programme at the University undertook pilot documentation of the spontaneous memorials. The lessons learnt are now being applied to the full documentation of the archive. 

This strand of work investigates the processes, agents and outputs of creating, documenting and using an archive of spontaneous memorials. It also examines the impact that the management of spontaneous memorials is having on cultural professional and local authority practices and policy-making.

In October 2019, the Manchester Together Archive Team (Amanda Wallace and Jenny Marsden from Manchester Art Gallery; Larysa Bolton from Archives+; and Kostas Arvanitis from the University of Manchester) were awarded the Working Together for Manchester Award in Manchester City Council’s Awards for Excellence 2019.