Creative projects by Abigail Ward

Tag: abigail ward dj

Stepping down from MDMArchive

DJing at Freight Island. Photo: Nick Marchant

After 17 years of involvement with MDMArchive I have decided to step down from my role as archive manager and curator to focus on my career as a musician, DJ, writer and creative facilitator. I’d like to thank everyone on the archive team and our Board of Trustees for being my companions on this ride, which has been deeply rewarding, occasionally anarchic and pretty exhausting. I think it has been our shared sense of humour that has kept us going.

I’d particularly like to mention Mat Norman, the big brother I never had, for getting me involved in the first place; Alison Surtees for always being ahead of the curve on democratising heritage; Cathy Brooks for getting me back into making my own music and helping me out of spreadsheet despair; and to Sarah Feinstein for truly seeing my work and celebrating it. Thanks also to our chair Dave Carter for his tenacity in gaining charitable status.

In July we lost MDMArchive co-founder and co-chair, CP Lee, whose Shake, Rattle & Rain book was the initial spark that ignited the Archive. I’d like to acknowledge all that Chris gave to our organisation over the years: unparalleled knowledge of Manchester music, usually coupled with unparalleled belly laughs.

Particular highlights on the journey have included creating 1 Top Class Manager – The Notebooks of Rob Gretton; Queer Noise at the People’s History Museum; We Are Dynamite! at NIAMOS; and The Lapsed Clubber Audio Map.

We Are Dynamite! at NIAMOS

But my abiding passion has always been our online archive, which I created back in 2004-5 with our long-term digital developer, Ashley Kennerley. Ash and I have worked hard together on several iterations of the website, and overseen its constant maintenance. Special thanks to Ash for his creativity, calm problem-solving skills and database-whispering ability.

It has been amazing to watch the development of the website and archive, which now has over 22,000 uploads from its community of users. The images and stories contained within it are a true source of learning and inspiration. I have particularly enjoyed making and using the online exhibitions facility – there are so many lesser-known stories about Greater Manchester music that deserve to be revealed.

In order to remain a living, breathing community archive, we need to encourage more and more users to upload. You can help us do that by adding your favourite images and stories to the site, and, in turn, sharing those uploads through social media.

As a charity, MDMArchive is in a period of transition and our Board of Trustees is currently scoping out the future of the organisation. They’d like to hear from any individuals or organisations who may be interested working with us. Please contact info@mdmarchive.co.uk if you’d like to have a chat, making your emails FAO Alison Surtees.

Queer Noise at People’s History Museum

DJing at Dance Yrself Clean

Tom Quaye is one of my fave artists – his ability to capture the queer zeitgeist in ridiculous memes is second to none. So I was on cloud nine when he asked me to DJ at his ace club night DANCE YRSELF CLEAN, which is a colourful, inclusive LCD Soundsystem/DFA-inspired soiree at the PINK ROOM at YES, featuring one of the best soundsystems in MCR. Join us – it’s only a fiver. I will be playing a 2-hour marathon of pop, rave and house. Make a request at your peril!

Suffragette City raises £3k for women’s charities

Suffragette City 2019 – the basement. Photo: Rina Ladybeige

It was a real joy to co-curate and DJ at second Suffragette City event at The Refuge. What a riot! It was rammed all day and night, upstairs and down, illustrating just how much appetite there is for women-led DJ events. I really enjoyed playing in the bar early on. Here’s a mix of my tunes.

The idea for the event started when Manchester Digital Music Archive put on a photographic exhibition at The Refuge celebrating women across all aspects of Manchester music. To close that show, we put on an all-women DJ party with help from Electriks and The Social Service, and it was a huge success. We raised a few quid for Women’s Aid and MDMArchive while we were at it.

Suffragette City 2019. Photo: Clare Angel

This year, we wanted to raise more, and so The Social Service team produced a set of specially designed t-shirts to sell, and these alone raised £965 for the Women’s Asylum Seeker’s Trust in Manchester. We raised a further £2k on the door of the basement party, which featured DJs Kath McDermott (BBC 6 Music), Kim Lana, Rina Ladybeige (The Social Service) and Danielle Moore (Crazy P).

We hope to make this an annual party! Thanks to everyone who supported, donated, promoted, danced, deejayed and wore a t-shirt.

DJ Emma Joyce. Photo: Clare Angel

New show for NTS

For me, two of the most important components in music are mystery and melancholy. This is my latest Big Strings Attached show for NTS Live and it has oodles of both.

Shigeru Umebayashi – 2046
Bernard Herrmann – Theme from Taxi Driver
Brigitte Bardot – Contact
Shawn Lee and Bei Bei – East
Marissa Nadler – Drive
Henry Mancini – An Experiment in Terror
Max Richter – Genesis of Poetry
Kokoroko – Abusey Junction
Bettye Swann – Tell Me Goodbye
Baxter Dury – Prince of Tears
Beak> – The Brazilian
Anna Domino – With Day Comes Dawn
Biting Tongues – Meat Mask Separatist
Kadjha Bonet – Remember the Rain
Sebastien Tellier – Fantino
Julia Jacklin – Body
Mythical Beasts – Communicate
Los Chicharrons – Love Magic
Lady Wray – Guilty
Lalo Schifrin – The Danube Incident
Stelvio Cipriano – Too Risky a Day for a Regatta
François de Roubaix – Le Samourai
Penguin Café – Solaris
Jim Capaldi – It’s All Up To You
André Perry, Louis Delacour – New Life

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