Performance Rehearsal with Bergman. Photo credit: Derek Trillo.

An event to promote the participatory artwork, Adopt a Slide

The Manchester School of Art slide collection contains over 300,000 slides and has developed over many years, reflecting the teaching needs of the art school. In the spring of 2015 the Visual Resource Centre which housed the collection was under threat of closure and the collection was earmarked for disposal. Adopt a Slide and Adopt[ed] Slideshow were created to show the importance of the collection and to highlight students’ and staff’s attachment to it. Today the slides have a new place in the MMU Special Collections.

In July 2015 research students Sara Davies, Jan Fyfe and Liz Mitchell, together with Ashley van Dyck (a BA student) and Kristin Marshall (MA student), organised an event to enjoy, explore and celebrate the slides. In the MIRIAD Open Space we informally gathered with friends for a performative event with projections and stories. For one afternoon a dark room was filled with readings, moving bodies, old technologies and the sound of slide carousels moving images in and out of light.

The event was created to promote the blog-based participatory artwork called Adopt a Slide in which people are invited to write about and upload to a blog a slide of their choice from the slide collection. For the event a programme of readings from the blog was curated by Liz Mitchell and woven together with performances by William Card and Sara Davies. There was a hypnotic extravaganza of images and sound by DATAMOSH (Paul R Jones and Guy Mayman from Glyndwr University). Jan Fyfe worked on an artist book and there were artworks by Kristin Marshall and Ashley van Dyck.

It was our summer of slides. As students and researchers into the history, theory and practice of art and design, we saw this event as an opportunity to exhibit work in progress, test out new ideas and to play. We hoped to demonstrate the historic significance of the slide collection as a material archive and its importance for the history of art education, as well as to show how it can inspire creative practice.

You can still help by adopting your slide at

See the published article about Adopt a Slide, the Slide Collection and the Art School by Liz Mitchell at

As featured in the Manchester School of Art, Research Degree Programme Newsletter Autumn 2016
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