Institute for Cultural Practices

University of Manchester


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This pilot project (funded by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester and cities@manchester) aimed to make research from the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures that is about Manchester’s culture and heritage, more visible to students, staff, and visitors. The project tested different technologies and methodologies to digitally annotate Manchester’s cultural/historic/heritage environment with information on student projects, dissertations and staff research outputs. By leaving digital ‘tips’ and information about studies and projects that are tied to sites such as museums, galleries, archives, art organisations and monuments, it aimed to foster SAHC students’ identity, enrich prospective and current students’ understanding of cultural and heritage sites and showcase the variety and richness of related University work.

The project’s experimentation and evaluation included and led to a variety of activities, evaluation exercises and dissemination actions, including:

1. Mapping research that is about Manchester back into Manchester.


City as Soundscape       Cultural Assets       Hall of Fame       History of Technology, Science and Medicine

Industrial Manchester       Performative City          Roman Manchester

We have filmed academics and researchers from each category to try and put more of a human face to the research. To date we have videos from:

John Pickstone talking about the History of Medicine in Manchester

Joanna Pawlik from the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies

PhD student Mark Pilkington from NOVARS who is working on the City as Soundscape and electroacoustics

Esme Ward from the Whitworth Art Gallery (one of the University’s Cultural Assets) on her contribution to the DEMOS report Their Space

Helen Rees Leahy from the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures talking about the Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857

Bryony Bond on the Alchemy project at Manchester Museum that forms part of the University’s work with Surrealism

We also have the materials that UniverCityCulture researcher Julian Hartley used for his poster session at the Culture Effects conference, archived here


2. Front-end Evaluation

The project was piloted with 3rd year UG students at the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures (May 2011). The pilot work aimed to test out the user-interaction, accessibility and perceptions of the technologies, and to consider their effectiveness in engaging students in internal and external research resources at the University of Manchester.


3. Campus Obscura 

This was an alternative campus tour for new postgraduate students (PG Induction Week 2011-12).  The map can be found here


4. Mapping Manchester Histories – MMXII 

An annotated online map of all the events of the Manchester Histories Festival 2012 (part of a follow up project that built on UniverCity Culture; funded by CRESC)


5. Manchester 100 Years Ago

A tour-game of the city that draws on Manchester’s rich archives and discover Manchester’s life, buildings and people in 1912. A collaboration with Archives+ and HistoryPin. Manchester Histories Festival, March 2012.


6. Dissertation Mapping 

Map of museums, galleries and related institutions that past MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies and MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice dissertations have studied.


7. Histonauts

A campus QR code game that engaged people with the history of campus buildings named after famous academics.


8. Histonauts2. Manchester’s Secret Histories

A mobile phone game that engaged participants in uncovering secret histories about people, places, events, and objects in Manchester during the Manchester Histories Festival 2012. Based on UniverCity Culture methodology. Funded by CRESC.


If you use Foursquare you can follow us for tips and links about culture and heritage all over Manchester.

Follow us for links to research on cultural and heritage sites. Tweet us suggestions for research areas that we haven’t covered.

Watch some academics and researchers from the School of Arts, Histories and Cultures explain their work in just a few minutes.

Like us for updates on what’s happening with the project, links to research, videos, info. You can also suggest interesting areas of research.

You can contact us at or @UniCityCulture


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