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Our work

DJ Claud Cunningham at our Activist/Archivist event at People's History Museum, 2016. Photo: Emma Gibbs

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.


Mission Statement

To celebrate Greater Manchester music, protect its heritage and promote awareness of its cultural importance.


Aims

  • 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

Core Values

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.