Remembering Resistance

Documenting and mapping memories of protests in Manchester.

Remembering Resistance is a research project from Lancaster University: a collaboration between ImaginationLancaster and the Politics, Philosophy and Religion Department. For this project, I led the design of the interactive exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester

Sarah Marsden and Chris Boyko lead a small group of researchers investigating protests and resistance movements in Manchester in the last 50 years. The team focussed in particular on the relation between practices and the urban environment. What were the main issues and groups at the centre of protests movements in Manchester? How did certain acts of resistance inform or impact on following events? Why do protests happen in particular places? How does the urban environment support or hinder gatherings, discussions, or acts of disobedience?

The research started by looking into the depth of local and national archives, collecting official documents, news clips, fliers, and written testimonies. But despite the wealth of information that we discovered, we felt that the research couldn’t be complete without the direct involvement of those whose stories we were reading about.

In June 2017, Remembering Resistance was translated into an interactive exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. The event was an opportunity to bring together people who were involved in protests in Manchester over the past 50 years to share and document their diverse stories. We were interested in talking to protestors, the police, the media, bystanders and anyone else who had something to say.


The research was visualised and presented in a timeline, which showed the main themes (e.g. LGBTQ* rights, anti-Apartheid, anti-austerity movements) and how they evolved, interacted, and came together (or separated) in time.


Some visitors contributed to the timeline by adding more information. As it turns out, whilemany eventsare well known, smaller, more local, protests remain undocumented, even when they have a significant and very practical impact. This is particularly true for anything that happened before the advent of the Internet.


We used maps to mark the paths of protests, and stickers to annotate the maps with feelings, objects, notes, and place names.


The map shows the paths of resistance in Manchester, although some visitors who attended similar protests in other cities added their contributions too.


And finally, personal stories could be shared in a “memory booth”.



The Team

Sarah Marsden, Chris Boyko, Erum Dahar, Serena Cesareo

Serena Pollastri, Hayley Alter

Photos (including those in this page) and project documentation:
Joel Porter

Thanks to Adrian Gradinar and Dan Burnett for the technical support!


The project was funded by Lancaster University (Faculty of Arts and Social Science; Knowledge Exchange Grant).

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