Public Archaeology in Lockdown

By Dr. Seren Griffiths, Senior Lecturer, History, Politics and Philosophy, Manchester Metropolitan University.

As an archaeologist the prospect of being ‘locked down’ poses challenges for lots of research – traditional fieldwork like the type that Dr Ben Edwards and I do most summers is not possible.

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Figure 1. The 2019 season, excavating an important bronze age burial monument to the south of Bryn Celli Ddu.

Instead, I’ve been concentrating on the public archaeology aspect of my research. I have just published a paper on public archaeology in Wales, based on consultation with archaeologists working across Wales. The link to the paper is here I also took part in the fifth Public Archaeology Twitter Conference on Friday 29 May 2020 to talk about these issues; you can see my twitter paper by following #PATC

This research examined what constitutes best practice in public engagement in heritage. Working with colleagues, and reflecting on my own research, I identified a series of common values that professionals engaged with public archaeology and public heritage felt were central to best practice.

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Figure 2. In consultation with public heritage and public archaeology professionals we identified common values that are central to best practice. Image copyright Adam Sanford.

In our research, we defined public archaeology and heritage as occurring in the world: negotiated, contested, ethical, and diverse, but work that makes explicit reference to the context of practice.

Importantly, although often people think that public archaeology or heritage practices emphasise the social value attached to specific places in the historic environment, members of the public often value a ‘multi-sited’ approach especially in a digital age. In a digitally distributed, international world, geographical proximity to a particular place may not be the most essential criteria in assessing why people determine places to have social value.

Indeed, the processes and media through which public archaeology is undertaken can be as important to the people doing it as the places at which it takes place. In this sense, we can think of public archaeology as a form of ‘intangible heritage practice’, that creates cultural heritage value because of the relationships between a community – whether focused on a locality or forming around a site or network of sites.

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Figure 3. Mechanisms through which best practice in public archaeology could be achieve. Image copyright Adam Sanford.

We argue that best practice is created through networks of relationships and intangible practices, and especially those that are allowed to develop over time, that emphasise benefits to participants, and that work with a network of partners and organisations. Critical to best practice is the ethical treatment of people, and the safety of people involved, but after this the most important aspect was the creativity and enjoyment that projects offered. Public heritage and archaeology needs to be fun!

Places where public archaeology is undertaken clearly have value as the nexus of activities, but a recognition of the value of the responsive, creative, relationships that facilitate public archaeology are as important as discourses on the conservation and curation of places in the historic environment.

Because the best public archaeology practices creates social value in the historic environment through networks of individuals, communities, and professional and volunteer practitioners, the effective curation of the historic environment requires funding, time and resources to support the inclusive relationships that make public archaeology. Even further, there is the wider political context of the production of other forms of social value in Wales, beyond archaeology. For example, the Wales Government’s national strategy of Prosperity for All, which emphasises the social value attached to healthy and active lifestyles. Public archaeology has significant potential to support these themes, both in terms of physical fitness and the effective pathways to good mental health that have been explored in other public archaeology projects. Integrating national policy themes of healthy and active lifestyles would provide another means for public archaeology to generate social value beyond an appreciation of the historic environment, and could be productively explored in the future if such projects could be effectively resourced.

The research that this was based on was undertaken before lock down, and the current, terrible Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. In the context of the horrible aftermath of this virus, the future of public engagement with the historic environment may seem trite but, its importance is actually very significant. The value of public archaeology, as a form of heritage discourse, is as ‘archaeology in the world: negotiated, contested, ethical, and diverse, but work that makes explicit reference to the context of practice‘. It is as much about the kinds of societies that we wish to create in the present as it is about seeking to better understand the past.

Public engagement with the historic environment reminds us of the enduring qualities of creativity and ingenuity that represent some of the best aspects of humanity from time immemorial. Of course, aspects of the historic environment can also demonstrate some of the worst human traits, including subjugation and violence. But, in times like these, when we face crises and unprecedented uncertainty, the historic environment also matters because it provides us with a connection to human societies across time.

The historic environment represents all of our common human inheritance, and provides us with a connections to human societies that have gone before. It reminds us of the enduring, essential qualities of being human. In this sense, heritage is transcendental.

Public heritage, and the relationships that people make doing it, matter, now as much as ever.





Virtual Heritage and Wellbeing

Investigators: Amy Luck and Dr Faye Sayer

Project Brief: This research project investigates if engagement with virtual heritage impacts individual’s wellbeing and mental health.

A survey of 650 museums in 41 countries conducted in April 2020 by the Network of European Museum Organisations shows that more than 60% of museums have increased their online presence since closing due to social distancing and 40% have experienced a large upsurge in online visits.

This research will seek to:

  1. Evaluate how engagement with virtual heritage sites can impact visitor wellbeing
  2. Understand how different types of virtual heritage sites and diverse demographics of visitors positively and/or negatively impact on subjective wellbeing
  3. Identify what elements of virtual heritage provide the greatest positive change to wellbeing
  4. Compare the impact of virtual heritage to that of in-person heritage experiences on wellbeing

Project Method: This mixed-method research methodology has developed from an accurate and critical data capture strategy already piloted on several heritage projects in the UK, USA, India and Nigeria (Sayer 2015; Sayer 2018). This research methodology employs quantitative wellbeing measures such as the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and Modified Visual Analogue Scale (MVAS) alongside quantitative measures such as free comment space on surveys to identify impacts on individual wellbeing.

Participation: We are actively seeking participants from all demographics to take part in this research.

If you would like to take part, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Read the participant information sheet to find out more:
  2. If you’d like to take part, click this link and fill in the survey:
  3. Once you finished the survey, visit one (or more) of the below museums or explore their collections – virtually!

(Recommended minimum time 20 minutes, maximum 2 hours)

(Just click on the yellow man to access virtual tours or scroll down to see collections on Google Arts & Culture)

  1. Once you’ve finished your visit, click this link and fill in the survey:

Contact: If you would like to know more about this project, please contact

Life Goes On – the North West Film Archive’s Response to the COVID19 Lockdown – collection development, and access.


Contemporary Collecting

The North West Film Archive has launched a #Lockdownlife Appeal and is asking for the public’s help to create as wide-ranging a picture as possible of what life was really like in the North West of England during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic.  We are looking for personal experiences and perspectives on these unprecedented times – social distancing, staying at home, home schooling, friends and loved ones far from reach, key workers at the sharp end of risk.

Contemporary collecting is an ongoing strand of the work of developing the Archive’s holdings, to ensure future researchers and users have access to material which represents lives lived now, and in the most recent decades.  We are most certainly not only about the ‘old black and white’ material from the Edwardian era, though that is also well represented!  Rapid changes in technology have changed the way we collect, and will continue to do so, and rising to the challenge of keeping up has kept everyone on their toes.  Screenshot 2020-05-26 at 11.58.19Anticipating that most footage recorded in these lockdown days will be born-digital, my colleagues have made it as easy as possible for people to offer their films to us, through uploading platforms.  We then can see what is on offer, make selections, and secure deposit.  The process of archival preservation of master files will follow, with current practice of making copies to LTO (a magnetic tape system) as well as viewing copies.  With born-digital taking over from videotape and cine film, there is a high risk that this footage will be seen as ephemeral, and it will not survive the changeover when people upgrade their devices, lose access to their storage systems, or run out of space and choose to delete old files. It is important that we act now to appeal for the material before it ‘evaporates’.  The appeal may also serve to encourage people to plan to record activities which may not have been considered before.  This will provide a wide range of material for future research, providing the public will step up and donate!

In very practical terms, we explored different avenues to find how best to collect any footage that was offered – we wanted to make it simple to contact us and share footage, but also ensure we had the capacity to receive it and download it safely.  In the end we recommended file transfer services like Dropbox and WeTransfer rather than directing users to a specific ‘bucket’ to fill with content. 

Acquisition & Documentation Officer Nick Gladden recorded a subtitled video appeal to be shared around social media and on a dedicated page on NWFA website, created by Digital Access Officer Jonathan Howell.

 More info on this appeal here including Nick Gladden’s video:

Since the appeal launched, we have already received for consideration one Wigan man’s #SundayFunday videos – he and his friends dressing up and lip-synching to pop songs in their bedrooms; a 70th birthday celebration in Cumbria; and a Chorley Church’s online VE 75 service.

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Nick has also been working with colleagues in the Archives+ partnership and record offices around the wider region to co-ordinate the appeal and combine efforts to promote the scheme and collect relevant material.

Several of the other moving image archives in the UK’s network of national and regional collections are doing similar things, as is the British Film Institute National Archive.  Many of the traditional record offices and local history libraries are also seeking to preserve material from the period, perhaps taking a different approach when they can ‘afford’ to bide their time a little in seeking to collect physical artefacts, which are more likely to survive.  Though photographs will have similar issues to moving image of course.

Accessing the Collections in lockdown:

Thanks to some fancy footwork and quick thinking, the NWFA team just beat the lockdown in time to transfer equipment and materials to their homes and establish remote access routes to most other things.  Although the crucial hands-on film inspection and digitisation work is impossible remotely, access has proved to be possible and we are pleased to be able to keep the doors open to researchers and other users.  Not absolutely everything can be reached, but there is plenty to be going on with!  Another silver lining has been the opportunity to spend time on cataloguing – the Cinderella of the service – resulting in hundreds of new entries becoming ready for upload to the web catalogue when we return.

 A Film A Day

During the lockdown, the NWFA’s Will McTaggart and Geoff Senior have been showcasing ‘A Film A Day’ on our Facebook page and using the hashtag #NWFAdailyreel to do the same on Twitter.  This was introduced as a means to showcase material from our collection on a regular basis and gently introduce people to films they may not have come across before by providing short introductions on social media.  This is not to say that there was nothing online before – there is a body of material available already.  It has been an opportunity to promote this availability, add to it, and to reflect the historical depth and geographical breadth of the collection, as a reassurance, and a shop window, to remind folk that the Archive is ‘open for business’ and still able to provide a service. 

 As part of the selection criteria, we have tried to showcase films where there is a link to the current situation.  For example we highlight essential workers like postal delivery workers, nurses and refuse collectors. There have also been nods to crisis planning, domestic routines, Monday Motivation, and what would have been the start to the County Championship cricket season.  Many of the showcased films are available to view online via the BFI Player but we’ve also added further content to our Vimeo channel too.

The BBC picked up on our initiative and broadcast a short TV item on North West Today on 19th April (featuring footage and a recorded FaceTime interview with Marion Hewitt) plus Geoff Senior was invited to talk about it on Radio Lancashire on 30th April. Manchester Metropolitan University also published an article on their website.  The regularity of the postings has generated positive interest, followers and interactions on social media.

VE Day

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NWFA have been helped various local groups and authorities to reach out to their communities as part of the revised VE Day celebrations.  A short edit of some of their footage taken on the day and also showing Home Front scenes was prepared and shared with groups and media teams in Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, St Helens and Liverpool.  It has also had take-up from members of the Scout Association in the UK, who are now running online meetings for their members through Zoom and are organising activities on the VE Day theme in the run up to the day.  It was also possible, thanks to the team’s forethought, to supply footage to numerous TV documentaries which were broadcast on the day.

By Marion Hewitt and Nick Gladden

North West Film Archive




The Earliest History of the World

By Dr. Ros Oates, Reader in History, Manchester Metropolitan University

In 1493, an enterprising publisher in Nuremberg (Germany) commissioned a history of the world.  Recognising the power of the new technology of print,  Hans Schedel, approached local artists and writers to produce a richly illustrated – and very expensive – history of the world, which started with the story Adam and Eve and ended in a keenly anticipated imminent apocalypse.   The Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles) was widely known as the Nuremberg Chronicle, and became an instant best seller.  The first coffee table book, the Chronicle included detailed pictures of Europe’s main cities (with a particular interest in German towns) and images of some of the most infamous popes and monarchs in European history.   Copies of the Nuremberg Chronicle sold rapidly.  Hans Schedel published an edition in German (the original was in Latin), and a knock-off was produced by an enterprising publisher who used inferior images to cut the cost of his Chronicle.

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Schedel, Hartmann. Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, VII 1493).Chetham’s Library: Mun.I.8.2, f. 84r.

Because the Chronicle was so expensive, it has survived remarkably well, with copies preserved as a treasured relic of the first years of printing.    Dr Rosamund Oates (Manchester Met Uni) and Dr Nina Adamova (St Petersburg Uni) have been working on surviving copies of the Chronicle from around the world.   We have uncovered some fascinating examples of reading and censorship, for example a German Protestant who added a devil to the shoulder of a Catholic Pope.  Lots of readers were drawn to the story of Pope Joan. Joan was reported to be a female Pope in the medieval Church who was discovered after giving birth in a procession, one devoted Catholic reading her story in the Nurember Chronicle added a beard on her picture to turn her into a ‘male’ Pope.    With funding from the British Academy, Dr Adamova and Dr Oates set up an online exhibition showcasing some of the most fascinating examples of censorship and annotations.  The exhibition includes examples of annotations made by an Elizabethan gentleman, a Tudor historian, and even those of Henry VIII  (whose copy includes a note on bigamy.

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Schedel, Hartmann. Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, XII 1493).Rare Books Collection, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand: f. 181v.

The fascinating afterlives of the Nuremberg Chronicle continued into the modern period.  As rare and precious books, copies of the Chronicle, have travelled around the world.  Our research uncovered Chronicles which had travelled from England to New Zealand, and identified a number of copies owned by families in Lithuania and Poland later taken to Russia after wars in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Many of these are exhibited for the first time in our exhibition, ‘Reading the Nuremberg Chronicle’ at

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The project was sparked by a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle which is now in Chetham’s Library, Manchester and which used to be owned by two Lancashire gentleman (and one gentlewoman).  This copy of the Chronicle  provides an example of how a late 16th-century English reader supplemented the text of the Chronicle with extensive ‘coutacions and addicions’ borrowed from several printed Protestant histories.

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Schedel, Hartmann. Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, VII 1493).Chetham’s Library, Mun.I.8.2, f. 239r.

As the page on display demonstrates, this book may be the most heavily annotated copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle we looked at.  One of the early modern owners, Thomas Gudlawe (d. 1606), covered the margins of this copy  with copious notes. Almost all of them are quotations or synopses of various history books, written or revised by English Protestant authors.

For example, Gudlawe used two books to annotate this page about the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Sigismund.   In the upper margin he inserted a paragraph on Sigismund from Cooper’s Chronicle (1560) by Thomas Lanquet and Thomas Cooper,  a world history with a strong Protestant bias. In the right and the bottom margins, under the title ‘Residium historiae marterum etc. (‘the rest of the history of martyrs’), Gudlawe recounted the history of “that notable prophet & servaunt of god, Doctor Martin Luther”. For that he again used Cooper’s Chronicle as well as an even more famous Protestant ‘historia sacra’ – John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments (1st edition of 1563).

Thomas Gudlawe transformed his copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle into a large commonplace book, a good part of which dealt with a Protestant vision of sacred history. Gudlawe’s reading may seem even more meaningful if viewed in the context of the religious controversies of his neighbourhood.    Although Elizabethan England was officially a Protestant country, many of Gudlawe’s kinsmen and neighbours in Lancashire were Catholics and accused of recusancy.  In contrast,  Gudlawe’s choice of books was staunchly Protestant.  Gudlawe’s marginalia provide us with a glimpse into the reading practices and the private library of a country gentleman, showing how he used a variety of English books on sacred history.


On the trail of the Nuremberg Chronicle …. National Library of New Zealand

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And the National Library of Russia

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The exhibition can be seen at

Research by Dr Rosamund Oates (twitter:  drrosamundoates) and Dr Nina Adamova (tw: @_NinaAdamova)

This work was part of a larger project:  Communities of Print  (edited volume forthcoming with Brill)







Manchester shops: reflecting on the present and the past


By Jon Stobart, Professor of History, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Shopping in a time of coronavirus

As we enter the eighth week of lockdown, our ability to visit shops and engage in the cultural, social and economic transactions that this involve is perhaps beginning to ease. In recent weeks, going to the shops has become a functional and often frustrating experience at best – involving queues to get in, gaps on shelves, and a close orchestration of movement through the shop to ensure social distancing. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of non-food purchases are being made online. All this is very different from how we shopped 3 months ago, let alone 3 years or 30 years.

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In some ways, the social and geographical restrictions imposed on us all as a result of coronavirus have heightened and accelerated trends that were already apparent, with footfall declining on many high streets and a series of famous retailers going into administration – or being rescued at the last minute – as consumers switch to online retailers. In this, department stores – once the flagship of retailing and the anchor to most shopping malls – have fared particularly badly: House of Fraser and Debenhams, for example, have both closed numerous stores as their place as the “universal providers” being taken by Amazon.

The future of shopping

We might speculate about the future of retailing and shopping, and about the fate of iconic brands and the vitality of high streets. Not so long ago, it seems, a blend of online and bricks & mortar seemed the best route for many retailers, whilst town-centre managers were keen to emphasise the unique experience of visiting their location. Now things seem less clear: has our recent experience engrained a growing preference for online shopping or will we see a revived desire for real experiences and relationships with people and places, and a return to shopping on the high street and the mall?

And in the past

Screenshot 2020-05-12 at 09.51.54But we might also recall the past of shops and shopping. This means recognising the part they have played in the development of our town and city centres, most of which are still dominated by the architecture and infrastructure of shops. This built environment was created over decades and even centuries as successive waves of retail innovation have stamped their own mark, from the department stores and arcades of the Victorian era, through the spread of chain stores in the early twentieth century to the more recent malls and retail parks.  Change has always been apparent and competition has always been present: in the late nineteenth century, department stores that now seem like retail dinosaurs, soon to be extinct, caused a chorus of complaints from small retailers who saw them as leviathans swallowing up their customer base and destroying traditional modes of retailing. Fast forward and we hear similar concerns about chain stores that, by the late twentieth century were blamed for making one high street indistinguishable from the next – both in terms of their architecture and the goods and experiences available.

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In all this change, shops remained central to our daily and weekly routines both as places to acquire the things that we needed and wanted, and as places to go. Just as they shaped the appearance our town centres, they also shaped our daily lives, as shoppers, browsers or workers. It is no surprise, then, that shops and shopping can be central to our memories and identities, and our associations with place. There is a danger of looking back through rose-coloured spectacles, but it is clear that shops are remembered, often fondly, as places we visited with parents or friends and as landmarks in our journeys through the city.

100 Manchester shops

It was these associations that lay behind a project run by Jon Stobart and Michala Hulme through 2018 and 2019. Our aim was to recover some of the memories that people had of shops in and around Manchester: working, shopping or just looking. The project tapped into a real affection for some surprising places, from toy shops and fashion boutiques to Italian ice-cream parlours and tripe restaurants. It culminated in an exhibition in Manchester Central Library that ran from February to April 2019 – an exhibition that we have remounted online here





Manchester Histories Festival goes Digi.

By Karen Shannon, CEO Manchester Histories

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Manchester Histories is ordinarily a very public-facing organisation, we work across Greater Manchester to reveal, share and celebrate the diverse and often hidden histories of people and places. We connect people together to explore the past and shape the future through histories and heritage.

Our model of responding to communities, developing skills and confidence, and raising awareness of often little recognised histories, by working alongside people and partners as widely as possible, is unique in the UK.  Our engagement with and empowerment of people, both as creators and audiences is entirely in response to the people we work with and for. As a result, our work is naturally innovative, creative and different. But like many cultural organisations and festivals across Greater Manchester and the world, we have had to stop, delay, re-think and adjust to new ways of working due to Covid-19.

In lockdown the team has had moved over to remote working, using digital communication channels such as Zoom, Whatsapp, and Google Hangouts to meet virtually to review and reframe our work plans. As a team we have always been agile, as we have no venue, and we often work from home, or are seen visiting our communities, so not being office bound was not new to us. Although, we do miss a cup of tea together, sharing stories and the comfort of meeting people in the flesh, such as our friends at Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage and all of our volunteers.

The people and partners we work with are very important to us and despite the lockdown we wanted to ensure we continued to connect with people and our audiences. It is crucial we mark these times, we are making history, we are living through history’s largest ever lockdown, in a period that will be taught in history lessons all over the world in years to come.

We had to cancel Manchester Histories Festival due to take place in June 2020. However, we will now present our first ever DigiFest, taking place on Friday 4th & Saturday 5th September 2020. Manchester Histories DigiFest 2020 will mark the 50-year anniversary of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (CSDPA) 1970.  This landmark legislation was pioneered by the late Lord Alf Morris, who subsequently became Britain’s first minister for disabled people in 1974. The themes of the festival are Celebrate – Learn – Challenge.

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Alf Morris was born in 1928 to a working class family in Ancoats, Manchester, and raised as one of eight children in quite poor circumstances. He witnessed the struggles of disability first-hand in his own family. Alf entered politics and served as the Labour Co-op MP for Wythenshawe, Manchester, between 1964 and 1997.  He campaigned tirelessly to challenge the barriers that disabled people faced in everyday life. He introduced a Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill in 1991 and went on to establish the Motability Scheme which transformed the lives of so many people. The CSDPA is often described as the Magna Carta for disabled people, this was the first disability rights legislation anywhere in the world and laid the foundations for the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Equality Act 2010.

Alf’s most celebrated quote: ‘If we could bequeath one precious gift to posterity, I would choose a society in which there is genuine compassion for long-term sick and disabled people; where understanding is unostentatious and sincere; where needs come before means; where if years cannot be added to their lives, at least life can be added to their years.’


Alf died on 12th August 2012, survived by his wife Irene (Lady Morris) and four children.

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DigiFest 2020 will create a collective on-line space for disabled and non-disabled people to celebrate Alf’s Act, presenting their stories, ideas and content through a pop-up TV Studio, broadcasting live across the globe from Manchester. Working alongside our partners, Manchester Histories DigiFest 2020 will facilitate an open call for digital content and ideas to be submitted by the public, and together we will produce a programme of digital content led by disabled people.

The live broadcast will be a mix of pre-recoded and live content; including performance, comedy, documentary, links to on-line archives, webinars, films, virtual exhibitions, debates and on-line creative interventions.

Going digital seemed the only option for us, it means we can still ‘do something’ around Alf’s Act, and provide a platform for people to talk about important topics that are relevant to disabled people past, present and future. It will be challenge, like most people we will have to learn new digital skills, continue to use social distancing measures to safeguard those we work with and think carefully about how we make the content accessible to all.

But we are all up for it and will make it happen!

Personally, I hope that when this emergency situation is over, we will be able to promote more social solidarity and equality to start to build a better world; we have the opportunity to make new histories, where the attention will be on we and us and not I. A new history that is more respectful of nature, each other, less consumerist, less frenetic in our approach to life.

We will be releasing more information about Manchester Histories DigitFest 2020 this month, please keep an eye out on our website:  Also, sign up to our newsletter to keep in touch. We will also release more details about the Celebration Day, once lockdown measures are clear and more certain.

Manchester Histories DigiFest 2020 is a collaborative programme between The University of Manchester, the family of the late Lord Morris of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, the TUC (Manchester), Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People.

For more information on other projects we have delivered please see:

Follow us on

Twitter: @mcrhistfest

Facebook: @manchesterhistories

Instagram: manchesterhistories





Celebrating VE Day in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Head of History at Manchester Met, Dr. Sam Edwards, an expert on the culture of commemorative practices, has written a thoughtful post on tomorrow’s VE (Victory in Europe Day) ‘celebrations’. The usual bank holiday Monday, the first Monday of May, has been moved to coincide with VE Day, with the PM striking a Churchillian note, and evoking the Blitz spirit to fight Corona virus. However, this display of remembrance, nostalgia and celebration deserves a closer look. Read Sam’s ‘take’ here:

Coronavirus: Celebrating VE Day in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic


Women in Manchester’s 1960s beat scene

beat scene

Hello, I’m Lauren, a postgraduate (MA) history student at Manchester Metropolitan University. My research interests include the modern history of gender, sexuality, and youth culture. I am currently working on my MA dissertation, which will contribute to the under researched area of young women’s experiences of youth culture in the post war period, by examining young women’s participation in Manchester’s beat scene in the 1960s.

My dissertation will build upon the work of Katie Milestone and Louise A. Jackson, to demonstrate that young women not only had access to Manchester’s beat scene, but that many of them actively participated. It will explore how young women participated in Manchester’s beat scene, and analyse reactions to young women’s occupation of clubs in Manchester in the 1960s. It will also determine whether some young women’s participation in emerging leisure practices in the 1960s had an impact on their subsequent life experiences.

Young women’s experiences of Manchester’s beat scene are not recorded in surviving sources. To address the absence of young women’s experiences in existing sources, I am looking to conduct oral history interviews with 8-10 women over the age of 70, about their participation in Manchester’s beat scene. I am interested in interviewing women who regularly visited clubs in Manchester and women who visited clubs less frequently.

Interviews will be conducted remotely in May and June 2020. If you would like to know more about my research, and are interested in participating in an oral history interview about your experiences of Manchester’s beat scene in the 1960s, please contact me via email- There is more information about my research in this Participant Information Sheet.

Lauren Jones.

Leibniz University of Hannover Blog

Following the first, ‘Cultural Heritage as a Resource’ workshop between the Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage (MCPHH) and the Leibniz University of Hannover held at Manchester Met (MMU) in February 2019, 8 researchers participated in the return visit to Lower Saxony in October and November. Over two days, colleagues from Hannover and Manchester cooperated in a workshop that combined presentations on new research, invigorating debate about the role of cultural heritage today, and avenues for future collaboration between the two centres.


While Contested Heritage was the central them of the workshop, so too was demonstrating the new links formed between researchers in both countries after the first seminar. Meeting in the newly refurbished and historic, Imperial Stables, Professor Dave Day (MMU) and Jana Stoklasa (Hannover) provided an examination of the role of sport in the construction of cultural elites in both the United Kingdom and Poland. Later, Dr Nick Piercey (MMU) and Raimund Lazar (Hannover) questioned the role of sporting spaces as cultural resources.  Using historical research about the Dutch urban experience, the, somewhat, sceptical presentation started a lively debate among the group, which included MMU Professors Jon Stobart and Lloyd Strickland, Dr Tilman Frasch, as well as new PhD Candidate Tracey Boyce.


The influence of the past in the present and the concerns of the present in our understanding of the past was a constant thread throughout the two days. Following researchers from Hannover outlining their current and future research plans, MMU’s Dr Faye Sayer and PhD candidate Amy Luck spoke about their ongoing international research in the field of cultural heritage and its interaction with the concept of wellbeing in contemporary society. Together, the workshop provided the opportunity to think about the past and present, but also to reflect on the future, on the potential for collaborative projects between MMU and Hannover University and, more importantly, on how research into Cultural Heritage can help increasingly diverse, fragmented and plural societies.


Academic debate was added to by the warm hospitality of the hosts and a series of ‘extra-curricular’ opportunities. The tour of the Welfenschloss(a former castle now housing the main university building) not only gave the MMU contingent an opportunity to consider how Cultural Heritage can serve different purposes in time, but also the chance to develop some outlandish plans for MMU’s Oxford Road campus (Note: Planning Application and funding request to follow!) On the final day, the closure of many of central Hannover’s top sights, owing to a regional memorial commemoration of the Protestant Reformation (more cultural heritage!), did not deter a hardy group of walkers from an enlightening tour of the city and new learning centre dedicated to the area’s National Socialist history. Elsewhere in the city, sporting space was again centre stage as part of the group attended a (very) lower-league football match, which saw (roughly) 7 goals, 40 fans, and 1 (possible) concussion. Truly something for everyone! The stimulating, productive and above all friendly visit was rounded off with a fantastic group meal in a Greek restaurant in which everyone toasted the work of the collaborative partnership so far and the possibilities offered by the future.


Nick Piercey