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Multiple Histories – The Democratisation of Manchester’s Music Heritage

Manchester District Music Archive is a user-led, volunteer-run online archive established in 2003 to celebrate Greater Manchester music and its social history.

Co-founders Alison Surtees and Abigail Ward discuss the development of their groundbreaking project, which allows users to preserve, share and research their own musical heritage through digitised ephemera such as tickets, photos, press articles, posters and video. The talk will chart the rise of MDMArchive; the difficulties encountered; and how these challenges, such as who ‘owns’ heritage and who ‘decides’ what is shown, were overcome through user-generated content. MDMArchive has been at the forefront of developments in community-led digital storytelling for over ten years. This talk will explore why digital environments are important for sharing heritage, destabilising dominant historical narratives and opening up access to archival material for many to enjoy and have ownership of.

The Pararchive project explores open access community storytelling and the digital archive.