The URBIS Manchester: Given the Red Card
OK, I know this isn't exactly breaking news, but it does feel like it slipped under the radar of many in Manchester. As a lover of football and the arts, I was very pleased to hear that the National Football Museum was to be relocated in Manchester, when I heard it was to replace URBIS I was less than happy. How could this happen? There's loads of great locations for a football museum…. How about the ever changing Salford Quays? Right next to the Theatre of Dreams? Alongside The Imperial War Museum North? Anywhere, but there!
Urbis opened in 2002 as "an exhibition centre about city life" during the transformation of the Exchange Square area and, as a city centre dweller, I was Urbis' biggest fan. Having recently visited the hugely popular 'Reality Hack: Hidden Manchester' - a wonderful exhibition of Andrew Brook's moving photography of the underside and insides of our city (Andrew also recently talked at the Access sponsored Northern Digital BLAB night). And how about the highly revered 'Homegrown: The Story of UK Hip Hop'? It certainly had me reaching for my Adidas. 'The Emory Douglas retrospective' offered an insightful and fascinating look at issues that have effected urban life in Manchester as much as any other city. Urbis offered a connection to the Community and local life that no other Manchester Museum did.
Perhaps the thing that I liked least about this decision was that if this museum was about city people, influences and life, how did it get swept away without so much as a whisper to those it was supposed to serve? Anyway, enough grumbling, perhaps now the current shine has left England's footballing present, we should focus on our footballing past (apparently the collection features a ball from the 1966 world cup final- enough said). I love football, don't get me wrong, I just wish they'd put it elsewhere.