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Connecting people through histories and heritage

Executive Summary Report 2018

Manchester Histories is a growing and dynamic charity. We work collaboratively with people, organisations and partners to reveal and celebrate the stories of the people and places that make up Greater Manchester. We connect people together to explore the past and shape the future through histories and heritage. This summary report provides some compelling examples of our work. It highlights the Hidden Histories Hidden Historians project but also other work that delves into the often hidden histories of people and places.

It has been a challenge at times with such a small team, but with the vital support from our Board of Trustees, Patrons, Funders, Partners and Volunteers our portfolio of work continues to grow.

It focuses on work that explores memories, every day histories and narratives of change, such as family history, radicalism, identity, and migration.

2019 promises to be our biggest year ever. It will mark the 200th anniversary of what became known as the Peterloo Massacre, an event widely acknowledged as a significant moment in Britain’s struggle for universal suffrage that was to shape the future of Manchester and mark it as a radical city like no other.

Our ambition over the past few years has been to expand our work to develop and deliver a year-long programme of activity as well as our magnificent Manchester Histories Festival. We put value and importance on cohesion, pride, curiosity, and bringing people together to connect to histories and heritage. On reflection Manchester Histories has achieved this. We have successfully completed our Hidden Histories Hidden Historian project, secured over £86,00 to develop the Peterloo 2019 Commemoration programme, produced the Manchester Hill Project, and continued to work with groups such as M13 Girls Group and Manchester People First to explore and connect people to their own histories and heritage.

Hidden Histories Hidden Historians

Manchester Histories will be working to commemorate this most important episode in the history of Greater Manchester with a host of partners and people on a local, national and international stage. We look forward to delivering a rich programme of work with our partners, forging new partnerships and working with people to create a commemoration that really raises awareness of Peterloo in a collective and contemporary way. Karen Shannon CEO Manchester Histories

Hidden Histories Hidden Historians was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and ran for two years from 2016 to 2017. The project’s main aim was to raise the profile of the often hidden stories of the people of Greater Manchester.

What happened? • The position of Community Engagement Manager was created in order to manage the project; this post continues to be supported.

“At Manchester Histories we believe that history belongs to everyone. Each one of us has a story to tell and a history to relate, and every person’s and every group’s history matters”. Professor Hannah Barker, Chair of Manchester Histories

• Manchester Histories worked with five community groups to explore their own histories and heritage from across Greater Manchester. These groups were Levenshulme Inspire, FC United Sporting Memories, M13 Youth Project, Manchester People First and Oldham Youth Council.

• Four toolkits were created and made available online covering the topics evaluating your project, conducting historical research, recording oral histories and creating your own archive. • Nine training workshops and twenty-four support surgeries took place to encourage individual historians to improve their technical skills in areas such as research and evaluation. • A network of support for people working in history and heritage was established to help encourage collaboration in the sector. • A digital exhibition was hosted in Archives+ in Manchester Central Library, to celebrate and show the collective archives of five community groups from across Greater Manchester.

“If you don’t tell your story then someone else will tell it for you, and that will never do it justice. Be proud of your story and take care of those things that tell it.” Heather Roberts, Freelance Project Archivist for Hidden Histories

How many people took part?

2,226 toolkits were downloaded

226,000 people visited the launch event and exhibition at Manchester Central Library over three months


people took part in the project – by either attending a workshop, tour or networking event

A minimum of


people from


community groups attended


workshops with a freelance archivist

What did we learn? Based on what worked well and what people said they would do differently another time we learnt: •  A skilled, knowledgeable, enthusiastic workshop facilitator makes all the difference and keeps everyone going. • Community groups have different needs and so one delivery model doesn’t work for everyone. • Projects tying into existing priorities or interests bring good staying power and commitment levels from community groups. Empowering people by asking them to set their own agenda increases commitment and quality, and people invest in their activity. • Assumptions cannot be made about digital technology or digital capabilities. However, people are open and willing to try new things, as long as the right help is offered. • People want practical skills, tools and real world examples in their training workshops. Casual, friendly, informal delivery in a training session helps people feel more confident and at ease. Humour is a great icebreaker! •  Good refreshments are always appreciated (and often expected). • Using a range of media makes it more possible to tell stories, and more accessible for audiences. Having videos transcribed takes time but makes them much more accessible. • Not everyone wants to tell their story from the past, not everyone’s family tree is online. •  People are inherently curious and will always want to access unusual or lesser-known heritage gems across the area – these make great networking opportunities.

Case Study Manchester People First Manchester People First are a self-advocacy group run by and for adults with a learning disability. The group have a unique history because they were established by learning disabled adults just as the idea of self-advocacy had started to develop.

Manchester People First wanted to create an exhibition of the wonderful pictures and documents they have collected over the years to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the group. Manchester People First feels the histories and heritage of people with learning disabilities are hidden from the mainstream history narrative through prejudice, and that this history needs to be told and controlled by people who have learning disabilities.

“It helped make the connection that our story would become part of our history, that 100 years from now, people would be looking back on our story. That it wasn’t just about sitting around the table talking amongst ourselves, but that it’s a history that will be part of Manchester.”

What did they do?

The group began by laying out a full set of images from their organisation’s archive. It provided an opportunity for the group to think about and discuss what should be included.

They felt it was essential to clarify the purpose of the group, to be self-advocates for people with learning disabilities, and have their voices heard. For this reason, ten constitutional, governance and mission related items were included. Added to this, ten individuals around the table chose one image each, based on what they felt was significant. To complete the set of archive items, ten items representing the organisation now were also selected.

Staff then digitised the selected items, made recordings of group members explaining the significance of the selections, and transcribed the interviews, to ensure their story would be fully accessible to all.

To add to this the group worked with a drama practitioner to co-produce a series of short vignettes that were performed in front of others at the Celebration Day at Archives+ Manchester Central Library.

“It made us stronger.”

“We want to carry on and do another play next.”

“It’s great for us to talk to audiences we wouldn’t normally talk to. It used to be an insular world and you’d only reach the people around your organisation. Now we can reach people all over and have broader conversations.”

As the Hidden Histories project came to an end, Manchester People First are looking forward to: • C  ontinuing their relationship with the Liverpool group of learning disabled people, founded through their drama performances. • Ambitions to continue with more drama work in the future. • Pride and reassurance that Louisa, a member of Manchester People First who recently passed away, has become part of Manchester’s history for everyone, forever. • An interest in looking after their own archive and library, with ambitions to structure, organise and care for it in the future. Including a parallel exhibition on display for the foreseeable future at their centre. • Taking part in another Manchester Histories project: the city-wide commemoration of the Peterloo Massacre, in 2019.

What did Manchester People First think about the project?

“I think we’ve made ourselves proud.”

Legacy of the Project

• Engaging in heritage workshops and learning about the First World Story of the Battle of Manchester Hill project led by Manchester Histories, Brighter Sound, and Manchester City Council.

Participants surveyed: 181 people (Network, training workshops, community group workshops) “A lot of it was photo based so older members would relay to newer members and it started conversations about how things were 25 years ago. Those conversations wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”





68% female 45% male

15% of people have a disability, illness

78% white British 8% marked ‘other’ 6% Asian or Asian British 3% white other

32% 11 – 19 years old 36% 20 – 59 years old 44% 60+ years old

or impairment that affects daily life.

3% mixed or multiple ethnic backgrounds 2% black or black British

Manchester Hill

Picture Stockport The process of creating the new work happened through public and group workshops in Stockport Central Library and community venues across Stockport.

The Picture Stockport project was a partnership project between Manchester Histories and Stockport Council. It ‘brought to life’ the known and hidden artworks of Stockport. The people of Stockport and beyond were asked to vote for their favourite work of art both online and following a trail around Stockport Town centre. The top eight works in the public vote formed an exhibition at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery alongside newly created work by contemporary artists and communities.

People had the opportunity to work with artists to respond to and explore their own memories and histories of Stockport. Many people expressed how proud they felt to be part of Stockport: its history and heritage, its creativity, its people and spaces, making it a unique place to be. “I loved voting for my best picture because I adored how it captured a moment in time, a simple observation of the everyday and just how beautiful it can be. It transported me into that frame of time. Simply beautiful!”

“I loved Picture Stockport, it really made me think about the histories of the town through looking at paintings, and then creating something new, memories flooded back about being in the Crown Inn pub, it can tell a few stories!”




active participants


2000 visits to exhibition

21,000 people engaged on-line

The Manchester Hill programme is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund and has received support from The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment through the Armed Forces Community Covenant, and by Manchester Cathedral.

Manchester Histories worked with Brighter Sound and Manchester City Council to produce a unique cultural programme to commemorate the forgotten story of the Battle of Manchester Hill in 1918. This was a late action in the First World War with a special resonance to the City of Manchester.

The work was also presented at Manchester Histories Festival 2018, where people had the chance to view a Virtual Reality installation showing the 360-degree film taken during the commemoration event and live performances from five of the Brighter Sound residency artists.

Our work involved coming up with the ideas and development of the project with partners, and supporting the bids to Arts Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund. We commissioned archivists, artists, and worked with groups of people to raise awareness of the story and to contribute to the large scale multi-media event performed on 13th April 2018 at Manchester Cathedral.

The Manchester Hill project will continue until December 2018, it will deliver more workshops and a legacy of work to be installed in Archives+ and Manchester Cathedral so the story of the Battle of Manchester is never forgotten. “A wonderful example of how the past can be brought to life for a contemporary audience”.

“Manchester Hill Remembered was just magnificent, the wealth and strength of highly creative work was not only breathtaking it was deeply moving.” 

5 community workshops at Manchester People First and Manchester Central Library


Audience of over



active participants took part in workshop activity

active participants used the Virtual Reality installation at Manchester Histories Festival

at Manchester Cathedral event

65 artists and young people were involved in responding creatively to the story of Manchester Hill









70% female 30% male

20% of people have a disability, illness

51% white British 30 % marked ‘other’ 1% Asian or Asian British 2% white other

25% 11 – 19 years old 49% 20 – 59 years old 26% 60+ years old

53% female 45% male 2% Prefer not to say

11% of people have a disability, illness

78% white British 7% white ‘other’ 4% Asian or Asian British

2% 11 – 19 years old 57% 20 – 59 years old 41% 60+ years old

or impairment that affects daily life.

10% mixed or multiple ethnic backgrounds 7% black or black British

or impairment that affects daily life.

2% mixed or multiple ethnic backgrounds 5% black or black British 4% prefer not to say

Manchester Histories Festival 2018

Manchester Histories Festival 7–11th June 2018 offered a packed long-weekender of discovering histories and heritage through music, film, debate, talks, theatre, performance, walking tours, arts and much more. The hub of the festival was located in the iconic Manchester Central Library.

2018 saw Manchester Histories Festival feature a brand-new format, with a programme of work curated by Manchester Histories, alongside partner events happening across Greater Manchester, and all inspired by the festival themes of protest, democracy and freedom of speech.

History & heritage organisations participated in Manchester Histories Celebration Day

• Soapbox Manchester Histories working in partnership with Man Met and an array of over 40 performers took over All Saint’s Park on Oxford Road. Architect students from Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester transformed the park into a Speakers Corner, with a specially designed hustings so that people could have their say. Soapbox was hosted by special guests Toria Garbutt, a West Yorkshire based punk poet and spoken word artists from Young Identity. • Not the Factory A day of panel discussions chaired by Jennifer Lucy Allan, curated by Annex Agency and Project 13 exploring the often-hidden stories of working-class electronic music in Manchester. • Lapsed Clubber Heritage Map An MMU project that set out to discover what became of the ravers of 80s and 90s Manchester. • Speaking Out Journalist Bob Dickinson introduced a selection of films made by the Workers Film Association. The film clips showed the diversity of the WFA’s interests, their commitment to the history of the Afro-Caribbean and South Asian communities, and their responses to political events of the 1980s and 90s. • Manchester Histories Celebration Day The wondrous Manchester Histories Celebration Day saw over 50 exhibition stands from histories and heritage organisations from across Greater Manchester, and performances from the renowned Hallé Youth Choir and Contact Theatre.

Audiences attending events


259 Active Participants

Partner events took place across Greater Manchester

18 Culturally diverse events were curated by Manchester Histories





54% female 46% male

9.6% of people have a disability, illness

36% white British 34% marked ‘other’ 7% Asian or Asian British 10% white other 13% black or black British

11% 11 – 19 years old 77% 20 – 59 years old 12% 60+ years old


• TUC Day TUC Day Celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the formation of the TUC (Trades Union Congress) in Manchester and Salford in 1868, Manchester Histories programmed a whole day of events that culminated in an In-Conversation with the general secretary, and first female leader of the TUC, Frances O’Grady hosted by Dave Haslam.





or impairment that affects daily life.

supported the festival contributing

44 days

with a value of


Online snapshot — June 2018 Manchester Histories website


434.5K impressions 7676 engagements

4,282 users 18,452 page views

Debating day live stream




unique engaged users

1,897 issu MHF18 brochure downloads

Peterloo 2019

Manchester Histories and partners will be commemorating the Bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre in 2019. Together with a wide range of cultural organisations and communities, we will be delivering a programme of new work and special events which will run from June - August 2019. We will be bringing to life the story, legacy and spirit of Peterloo, sharing facts and insights, as well as highlighting events and ways that people can get involved. So get ready to be connected to one of the most culturally significant stories happening in 2019. www.peterloo1819.co.uk


direct press and media releases

including BBC Radio Manchester Creative Tourist I Love Manchester MEN Big Issue North That’s Manchester TV

Financial Matters Overview of Income and Expenditure 2017 – 2018

Manchester Histories financial year runs from August – August. A full set of our accounts are available on-line from Companies House. The income below shows a typical year

Income Core Grants


Expenditure Manchester City Council Cultural Partnership Grant

£25,000 Greater Manchester Combined Authority £15,000 University of Manchester £10,000 Manchester Metropolitan University £69,200 Heritage Lottery Fund £15,000 Arts Council £2,000 Granada Foundation £11,000 Other income Enormous thanks to all of our partners and funders. Your support means a great deal to us and the many people we work with. It really does make a difference enabling us to deliver our year long programme of work and Manchester Histories Festival. It raises awareness of some truly incredible stories that matter to people. Thank you.

£94,100 Core staff and contracted services £46,700 Project costs £2,500 Governance £13,500 Overheads & administration

If you would like to find out about any of our work, make a donation or if you have an idea for a project you would like to develop please get in touch. Info@manchesterhistories.co.uk 0161 306 1982 Manchester Histories Mansfield Cooper Building University of Manchester Manchester M13 9PL www.manchesterhistories.co.uk @mcrhistfest #MHF2018 facebook.com/manchesterhistories manchesterhistories Company Number 08283259 Registered Charity 1151944

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Executive Summary Report 2018  

We are proud to present our latest report highlighting some of the marvellous projects we have worked on over the last few years. It has bee...

Executive Summary Report 2018  

We are proud to present our latest report highlighting some of the marvellous projects we have worked on over the last few years. It has bee...