Citizen Manchester

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Thought we’d let you know a little about a project we’ve been working on over the last year and a bit, and which is now nearing completion. A book is soon to be published which we’ve been designing, researching and making new large format photographic works for.

Manchester University Press will be publishing Citizen Manchester at the end of the year. It has been a collaboration with Dan Dubowitz, who we worked with on the critically acclaimed ‘The Peeps, Ancoates: the presence of absence‘.

This time as joint artists in residence, we’ve been lucky enough to have access to the most fantastic building site. Whilst the public await the refurbishment of the Central Library and Town Hall Extension, we’ve watched the buildings reveal themselves to us.

Along side this we’ve trawled new and surprising archival images (care of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council) some of which have informed work others counter it. We’ve also conducted countless interviews with key people involved in the refurbishment, staff and public who have stories to tell. These form the basis for the text in the publication.



‘Citizen Manchester’

Manchester Central Library and Town Hall Extension Transformation

In 2008, Manchester decided to embark on a counter-cyclical project, much as the city father’s had done in the last great recession, and invest significantly in two civic buildings that are a corner stone of the making of the first modern industrialised city, Manchester Town Hall Extension and Manchester Central Library.

Early on in this major redevelopment project artists Dan Dubowitz and Alan Ward were given privileged and open access to witness this transformational period in the life of two of Manchester’s iconic buildings by Laing O’Rourke. Through large-format photographs and interviews over a period of 18 months they captured the moment when the city’s citizens and workers had been locked out and the spaces were being stripped bare; revealing both a glimpse of what they had been and what they might become.

The artwork provides insights on the reciprocal relationship between people and place, and reveals how the refurbishment of a building can go far beyond physical refurbishment, questioning the relationships between a city, its citizens and place.






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