Project: Researching the New

In 2014/15, three major capital development projects in the cultural and heritage sectors will open in Manchester:

  • the restored and refurbished Central Library and Archives+ resource
  • Home, a new venue for the organization formed from merger of Library Theatre and Cornerhouse
  • the expanded Whitworth Art Gallery


Researching the New was a pilot knowledge exchange project devised to explore a number of connected issues emerging from these developments and their impact on the social and cultural geographies of the city. These included:

  • processes and models of cultural and organizational renewal and innovation
  • new and experimental practices of engagement with audiences, artists and stakeholders
  • issues of sustainability in terms of programme, space and audience
  • thinking about space as social practice
  • the understanding and uses of history in relation to contemporary practice

Each of these themes was explored via a research process, which included both conventional methodologies (interviews, fieldtrips, literature review) and also less familiar approaches (film-making, an extended conversation on twitter).

Researching the New was funded by the Faculty of Humanities Strategic Investment Resource Fund (SIRF).