The Mann Archive

Part of our residency ethos is that it’s entirely about supporting an artist. The results of the residencies are often art based, but we also provide more practical support when necessary.

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When Anita Mann began her residency the focus was very much on her archive, a constantly increasing collection of images, objects and sound recordings. She had been collecting this material for over 10 years, and wanted the support to:

  • Properly catalogue the archive
  • find both physical and digital storage solutions for the archive
  • Work out a means of exhibiting the archive

To fund this we’ve set up a Kickstarter campaign – click here

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The eventual aim for the archive is for it to be a free to use resource. It’s especially important to preserve this as it covers such a broad swathe of life in the Midlands – it documents over ten years of both the emerging and established arts organisations in Birmingham including well established galleries such as Ikon and BMAG together with recording the activities of smaller groups, pop up galleries, one off events, student shows and the establishment of Digbeth and Minerva Works as hotbeds of cultural activity.

The most significant aspect of The Mann Archive is it’s placement of everything within it’s proper context – it shows everything alongside what else was happening at that time. The exhibitions of a pop up gallery are treated in the same way as the output of a major organisation, and these are presented in a social context with documentation of the changing face of the city, advertisements, people, cars, posters… as a piece of Birmingham’s art history it is extraordinary, but it’s wider social history connotations are absolutely unique.

The results of Anita’s residency, therefore, is not an event or exhibition but assistance to set up and run a Kickstarter for the very essential space and equipment to properly preserve and catalogue the archive and find a more permanent storage solution. Failbetter will also be continuing to work with Anita to devise a format for exhibiting the archives content.

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