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Events and Activities Opening the Archive Our library Thinking about collections

Reflecting on a busy year

By Hannah

As we wind up for our Christmas break (until Wednesday 3rd January) we’re reflecting on what an action-packed year 2017 has been for us. We’re not very good at shouting about our successes, but our colleagues and stakeholders at the University, in the city council and in the community often comment on how much we achieve for such a small team.

So, in the spirit of giving ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back, here are our 2017 highlights:

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Opening the Archive

A Very Merry and Colourful Christmas!

Christmas is almost upon us and since the good folk at Archives+ digitised our Christmas card collection in preparation for their Christmas extravaganza I can share the whole series with you here on the blog!

Isn’t Christmas around the world wonderfully colourful? Christmas designs here in the UK traditionally favour white and green and red (and let’s be honest, the day itself is usually pretty grey, however hard we wish for a white Christmas), but this collection reveals familiar Christmas imagery through the diverse visual traditions of other cultures.

I think the Peruvian woman with her voluminous red skirts, candle and little dog is my favourite. What’s yours?

PS – this collection is still growing, and lots of countries and cultures aren’t yet represented, so if you receive any interesting international Christmas cards this year please do consider donating them to us.

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Events and Activities Related collections

Christmas Extravaganza with the Green Screen!

We love what the good folk at Archives+ did with our Christmas Cards from Around the World collection at their Christmas Extravaganza at the weekend! Take a look below….

On Saturday, Central Library hosted their annual Christmas Extravaganza. This event is the start of the festive season for many local residents as one comment from the day suggests, ‘Choirs in the library and meeting Father Christmas has become part of our annual Christmas experience for the whole family, lovely.’

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This year we included the magic of a Green Screen, with our National Archives Trainee Jane on the activity. Using colourful Christmas cards from around the world, provided by the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre, Victorian Christmas cards from the archives and film footage from the North West Film Archives; we were able to take some wonderful pictures and record Christmas messages. All of the photographs and messages were tweeted on the @archivesplus Twitter account on the day.

For a photograph, each family chose which image they would like to use and then posed in front of…

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Great Lives Opening the Archive

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Image of Ann Adeyemi with father Christmas

Here’s a lovely festive photo from our Ann Adeyemi archive collection. It was taken in Lewis’s in Manchester in the late 1950s. It feels like Lewis’s has been gone a long time, but it only closed in 2001, before Primark opened in the building. Wikipedia tells me that Lewis’s in Liverpool was the first department store to open a Christmas grotto, back in 1879, and many Manchester and Liverpool residents remember their annual December trip to see Father Christmas there.

There’s something not thoroughly convincing about the Father Christmas in this photo – he’s a bit slim and looks like he might have borrowed that outfit from someone a size or two bigger than him. Ann has a bit of a knowing look, I think perhaps she wasn’t convinced either.

Ann Adeyemi is living proof that Black people lived in Manchester well before the 1950s. Her grandmother was White Irish and came to Manchester at the start of the 20th Century, her grandfather was Black Liberian. Ann’s mixed race mother Mary was born in Salford in 1920 and grew up in Manchester. She married James, a Black merchant seaman from West Africa. Ann was born in Cheetham Hill in 1951 and grew up in Middleton. Ann herself has had a fascinating life, involved in education, anti-racism work and theatre. Here at the Centre we have an extensive collection of photos and memorabilia that Ann has donated, as well as oral history interviews that document her wonderful life.

Seasons greetings from us all at AIU Race Relations Resource Centre – see you in 2014!