ABOUT USOur work online
Manchester Digital Music Archive is an online community archive established in 2003 to celebrate Greater Manchester music and its social history. We are a registered charity run by volunteers. Charity no. 1164179.
Our crowd-sourced archive and website is a place for people all over the world to share Manchester music ephemera and memories, be they fans, musicians or involved with the music industry itself.
We are passionate about celebrating the hidden chapters and under-represented communities within Greater Manchester music. We believe that through crowd-sourcing artefacts we can democratise heritage and provide a platform for multiple versions of history to be shared. There is no hierarchy of 'merit' within our archive. The general public decides what is important and what is 'heritage'.
Our work in the 'physical' world
In the 'physical' world, we curate exhibitions and pop-up events (such as film nights, talks and club nights) across the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester. We work with volunteers from under-represented communities to do this.
Our work with volunteers
Through creative training events we support volunteers to gain new skills that allow them to document and preserve their own musical and social heritage. These skills include: artefact digitisation, digital curation, digital storytelling, physical curation, event management, film making, website content management and social media.
Our community engagement work
We are community engagement experts, and help other organisations to reach out through joint projects. We provide under-represented communities with opportunities to research and share their musical histories. We have worked in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester Students' Union, Manchester Pride, Manchester Histories Festival, Manchester Digital Development Agency, Louder Than Words Festival, People's History Museum, Salford Museum, Macclesfield Museum and many others.
Our work in education
We deliver talks and workshops at conferences, and across a variety of educational establishments. We provide advice and placement opportunities to students working within a range of disciplines.
Our fundraising work
We curate special events, including gigs, clubs nights and film nights to raise money for our charity.
Our work in research and signposting
We support and connect those who approach us for information and advice, such as film and TV companies, broadcasters, researchers, authors and journalists. Please note: we encourage donations to our Trust when undertaking some of this work.
To celebrate Greater Manchester music, protect its heritage and promote awareness of its cultural importance
- To celebrate Greater Manchester music
- To raise awareness of the influence of Greater Manchester music and highlight unsung eras in its history
- To digitise vulnerable collections pertaining to Greater Manchester music
- To record and document the memories of fans, artists and industry alike
- To facilitate exhibitions and events about Greater Manchester music that target as broad an audience as possible
- To develop a not-for-profit self-sustaining organisation to achieve the above
- To prevent the disappearance of artefacts by uncovering vulnerable collections and identifying an appropriate physical ‘home’ for them
- To approach (and encourage approaches from) people wishing to share their experiences of Greater Manchester music
- To document these oral histories in a variety of media
- To raise public awareness of such collections by organising events and exhibitions in a variety of easily accessible, ‘down-to-earth’ venues as well as in traditional exhibition spaces
- To provide an online archive that will map the evolution of Greater Manchester music and its social history
We will provide a platform for multiple Greater Manchester music histories to be shared.
We will be the trusted ‘caretakers’ of the collective memory.
We will democratise the preservation of music heritage and make it accessible for everyone.
We will be a flexible and responsive organisation that listens to community opinion.
Alison Surtees – Co-founder
Alison is a co-founder of MDMarchive. As a creative producer, consultant and project manager, she has over 25 years’ experience, developing talent and projects across diverse art forms. Her current work includes establishment of a new trust, Future’s Venture, which will provide funds to artists for radical arts practice. She is a creative collaborator with In Place of War, working on international development projects involving cultural spaces; entrepreneurialism; and connecting artists from across the world. She is director of Fuse Art Space (Bradford) and a board member of Ordsall Community Arts (Salford)
She offers the archive support around fundraising; delivers events and exhibitions; and manages filmed archival material.
Abigail Ward – Co-founder
Abigail Ward is an award-winning curator, writer, DJ and project manager with over fifteen years' experience in the music industry and cultural sector. She specialises in Greater Manchester music history; community archives; music & disability; LGBT music culture; and digital storytelling.
Her clients include: New Order, Manchester Pride, Manchester Academy, Drake Music, The Lowry, Red Bull Music Academy, Sabotage Times and Piccadilly Records.
In 2008 she edited and co-designed the book: '1 Top Class Manager - the notebooks of Joy Division's manager 1978-80'.
Selected online exhibitions for MDMarchive:
The Hidden History of Manchester's LGBT Music Culture
Moss Side Stories
The Hidden History of Moss Side & Hulme Club Culture
The Hidden History of Manchester's Post-Punk Fanzine
Matthew Norman – Co-founder
Matthew Norman is a freelance filmmaker, artist and documentary photographer. A member of the highly respected Salford-based film collective Soup, Mat has worked with Doves, Elbow, Lamb, Graham Massey of 808 State and many more. He recently visited Syria to document the conflict on behalf of Syria Relief. Mat recently co-ordinated the MDMarchive’s ‘Defining Me’ exhibition at The Lowry, Salford.
Dave Rofe – Co-founder
Renowned Haçienda DJ Dave Rofe now manages Doves, Cherry Ghost and Jimi Goodwin. Dave recently co-ordinated the ‘Defining Me’ exhibition at The Lowry, Salford, and has contributed greatly to the running of MDMarchive since its inception.
Dave Carter - Co-chair
Dave Carter is currently Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Urban Policy Studies (CUPS) at the University of Manchester. He spent 27 years in economic development for Manchester City Council and was Head of the Manchester Digital Development Agency from 2004-14. He has worked on key aspects of the Commonwealth Games (2002), the Manchester International Festival and the Future Everything Festival. He’s now involved in research on smart cities, amongst other things.
CP Lee - Co-founder & co-chair
Cultural historian, author, performer and lecturer Dr CP Lee has written widely about Manchester music. His book 'Shake, Rattle and Rain: popular music making in Manchester 1955-1995' was a source of inspiration to all of the MDMarchive co-founders. CP has since represented the organisation on TV, radio and at two seminars.
Since performing with 1960s Manchester band Greasy Bear, forming the avant garde Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias, writing a few music books, then for 25 years being a lecturer at the University of Salford, it is CP's solemn quest to never let his passion for ukulele playing get in the way of actually never working.
Aidan O'Rourke - Trustee
Aidan O’Rourke, writer-photographer and tutor, has documented the changes in Manchester since 1996 in photographs and words. He has a strong interest in Manchester music, and was one of the official photographers at the In The City music convention, working closely with Tony Wilson. He co-presents a music radio show on ALL fm. He has contributed to several books on Manchester and produces a weekly feature in the Manchester Evening News with photos and editorial.
Cathy Brooks - Treasurer
Cathy is a charity manager and bass player who moved to Manchester to study, inspired by the city’s independent music scene. Her bands over the years have included the Performing Ferrets, Peel favourites Dub Sex and Calvin Party, and currently The Rainkings. Cathy is co-founder and Deputy Director at Radio Regen, a charity supporting the development of community radio stations in Manchester and nationally, and Finance Manager of the Community Media Association.
Sarah Feinstein - Trustee
Sarah was born in Detroit and spent her youth longing for Manchester via vinyl. She has worked in the cultural sector for over seventeen years, both in the USA (Ladyfest, National Gallery of Art, DC Underground Film Festival, Smithsonian Institution) and the UK (Women’s Art Library, Pankhurst Heritage Centre Museum, Prisons Memory Archive). Currently, she is a PhD researcher at the Institute of Cultural Practices, University of Manchester.
Emma is a professional media archivist who has worked in TV and Radio for over twenty years and she has a real passion for preserving all kinds of content so others can find and use it.
Emma is also a photographer and has been photographing bands performing in Manchester, England ever since she was accidentally given a photopass for Faith No More in 1997. She has successfully combined her photography with her day job and regularly takes pictures at the BBC in MediaCity, Salford for various departments based there including 6 Music.
Rod is the creator/promoter of Bollox club and digital content producer with expertise in equality politics and protocols. He worked at the Equality & Human Rights Commission as a digital content manager for a number of years. Rod is also a branding strategist with a passion for the community projects.
He is a member of the Queer Alt Manchester network. Rod co-curated the MDMarchive digital exhibition, Manchester Academy Memories.
Jane grew up in Manchester in the 1980s and 90s and has always had a keen interest in music of all types. After moving to live and work abroad for a number of years she has now settled back in South Manchester. Having worked for many years in archives including the John Rylands University Library and the National Fairground and Circus Archive, she brings her skills as a volunteer in digitisation and research. She also enjoys attending and helping at the many events that MDMA have put on over the years.
Joe started volunteering for Manchester Digital Music Archive in 2015 as part of the University of Manchester’s Researcher in Residence scheme, culminating in the Activist/Archivist event at the People’s History Museum on 4th June 2016 as part of Manchester Histories Festival. He contributed to the opening event of the DCDC Conference 2016, speaking about the importance of collaboration between archives and researchers. Joe is currently pursuing an ESRC funded PhD at The University of Manchester, looking at underground punk music networks in the North West of England. He sings and plays guitar in Warrington-based punk rock band Hummer.
Heritage Lottery Fund
Arts Council England
University of Manchester Researchers In Residence
Manchester Histories Festival
Manchester Digital Development Agency
Louder Than Words Festival
Shoosmiths (Law Services)
People's History Museum
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