MPA, an arts charity working across Lancashire, formed in 1966. In the half century since, it has amassed a huge collection of posters, leaflets, publications, photographs, videos and artwork. These were all stored in a basement and weren’t publicly accessible. The project brought together an enthusiastic team of volunteers, recruited though partners, and provided training in oral history, archiving, cataloguing and digitising.
People involved in MPA’s work in the past shared their stories and the group’s research included collaboration with Lancashire Archives. An online archive of thousands of digitised artefacts is available on the MPA website and through social media. A temporary exhibition was presented at Burnley Mechanics and BBC Radio Lancashire in Blackburn. Longer-term plans for the archive are being considered, thanks to this project.
Katie Moss, 15, a work experience student and now an MPA50 volunteer said: "This experience has been really eye-opening to me, I’ve discovered lots of things that happened in my local area, most of which I never knew about! I’ve also had a chance to explore local history and I’ve really enjoyed becoming part of the archive myself."