The British Pop Archive

The British Pop Archive is a national collection dedicated to the preservation and research of popular culture, housed by The University of Manchester’s John Rylands Research Institute and Library. It is the first specifically designated, large-scale popular culture archive in the UK and further cements Manchester’s position as a creative and cultural capital.

Through the preservation of popular culture records and artefacts, the British Pop Archive presents impressive research, teaching, and learning opportunities at The University of Manchester. These opportunities are supported by Creative Manchester, who have helped the Rylands connect to various creative industries subject areas, such as Music, Drama, History, Sociology, English, and Film and TV Studies. Additionally, Professor of Popular Culture, Jon Savage, who is also a Creative Leader at Creative Manchester, is supporting plans for the British Pop Archive to build on its current collection to create a comprehensive representation of British popular culture.

Part of the British Pop Archive includes the Granada TV archive, once described as the ‘greatest television company in the world’ and still holding powerful cultural memory in the north of England and across the UK. To mark its return to Manchester, Creative Manchester and the John Rylands hosted an insightful roundtable discussion with broadcasting veterans and academics, including Creative Leader David Olusoga OBE, to reflect on the legacy of Granada TV and the future of British TV as a whole. Much of the discussion centred on the importance of geography surrounding TV production, how London-centricity is starting to fade, and the political landscape of privatisation and major broadcasting acquisitions.

The roundtable discussion can be watched via the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures YouTube channel.

For more information on the British Pop Archive and its significance for The University of Manchester and the wider city, Professor Hannah Barker, Director of the John Rylands Research Institute and Library shares her thoughts in an interview.