My decision to sign up for the placement opportunity at the Central Library stems from my personal ambition to better understand Manchester and its’ vibrant past. Manchester is culturally rich in terms of its population, education and exciting heritage. A closer at look into one of its’ cultural landmarks was too good of an opportunity to miss.
The Archives+ project is a new development following the recent renovation of the Central Library. It aims to connect the populous with exciting periods of history that are integral to the development of the city we know today. The digital exhibits provide the public with a vast range of archive and heritage materials. These are easily accessible and are arranged in culturally specific sections. I worked on an exhibit for the Radical Thinking section. This was perhaps my personal favourite as it celebrates individuals and societies for their struggles and endeavours that have influenced politics, community and everyday life for the better. This particular exhibition creates a sense of civic identity and pride for its’ campaigning heritage.
This experience has enabled me to acquire a number of transferable and practice specific skills. During my time at the Central Library I was able to work closely with the archives collection and digitising materials. I felt valued as a visitor to the organisation as my work would be included in a lasting display. I was given the responsibility of deciding how a particular aspect of Manchester’s heritage would be represented and potentially remembered by members of the public, which was extremely exciting!
My time at the Central Library has inspired me to research further into Manchester’s past, I will definitely be continuing my visits to the Central Library to keep up to date with new exhibits and developments to the project. I would highly recommend this placement to prospective students and volunteers. It is an organisation that is constantly developing and creating new ways in which the public can access their heritage or the heritage of the City in general. In other cases I believe that a visit to the organisation and look around both the exhibit and its architecture is highly worthwhile. The deliberate contrast of old and new is arguably a homage to the City’s prosperous past and continuous re-generation plans and campaigns that have shaped its’ future. Archives+ is at the heart of the building and enables you to see Manchester’s development through personal testimony, photographs, cultural and community development and much more. It is a project that advocates the importance of heritage conservation in conjunction with a drive to renovate and improve culture within the City.