British Pop Archive set to open at John Rylands Research Institute and Library

Hannah Barker, Professor of British History at The University of Manchester and Director of the John Rylands Research Institute, said: “The British Pop Archive is a fantastic resource for a university with strong links to the creative industries. It provides unique material for a growing range of research and teaching at the University on popular music, TV and film history, counter-cultural movements and youth culture from the twentieth century to the present day, linked to our brilliant Creative Manchester research platform.” 

Jon Savage, Professor of Popular Culture, said: “Britain’s pop and youth culture has been transmitted worldwide for nearly sixty years now. As the most fertile and expressive product of post war democratic consumerism, it has a long and inspiring history that is in danger of being under-represented in museums and libraries.  The intention of the BPA is to be a purpose-built, pop and youth culture archive that reflects the riches of the post war period running to the present day. We are launching with Manchester-centric collections but the intention is for the BPA to be a national resource encompassing the whole UK: it is, after all, the British Pop Archive.” 

On 19 May 2022 the British Pop Archive will launch with Collection, a distinctively Manchester-flavoured exhibition, underlining why Manchester is the perfect home for the British Pop Archive. Curated by Mat Bancroft, Jon Savage and Hannah Barker, it explores the vibrant cultural scene of a city that has driven innovation, creativity and social progress.  

The exhibition features iconic items from British pop history, many of which have never been seen by the public. Highlights include personal items relating to The Smiths, New Order, The Haçienda, Factory Records, Granada Television and Joy Division, such as Ian Curtis’s original handwritten lyrics for ‘She’s Lost Control’. 

Mat Bancroft said: “We launch the British Pop Archive with a Manchester focused exhibition full of unique and unseen artefacts. These materials tell the story of a vibrant city with art, culture and music at its heart. More than that they foreground the creative catalysts, musicians, producers, artists, designers and writers who have instigated this repositioning of landscape – to propose media as the new cultural capital of the city.”

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