MayDay Rooms
Connexions Directory of Groups & Websites 2019


Purpose: MayDay Rooms is an educational charity founded as a safe haven for historical material linked to social movements, experimental culture and the radical expression of marginalised figures and groups. It offers communal spaces - a reading room, a meeting and screening room and a canteen - where this material can be explored and researched, to activate its potential in relation to current struggles and informal research. MDR's growing collections challenge the widespread assault on collective memory and historical continuity by countering those prevalent narratives of historical inevitability and political pessimism. Working in a broad range of media, from printed documents to film and ephemera, the core work of MDR is to activate and socialise this material in a number of linked processes - primarily collaborative education, digitisation and online distribution. MDR aims always to make historical material open to question and criticism; as much as this material contests the present, it still needs to be challenged by it.

The organisation is located in Fleet Street, Central London, but is informally linked in inspiration, collaboration and practice with an international network of common and concurrent initiatives.

We consider MayDay Rooms to be an active social resource more than a repository; a place where the future is produced more than the past contemplated; a communal space for the incubation of desire and informal knowledge, more than a ring-fenced scholar#s retreat. Historical material is harboured, but temporarily, with our aim being to establish a network of sister institutions which will ultimately offer the space and conditions for their permanent deposit. MDR's role is to provide a secure transit space where, for an agreed term and in an open and collaborative mode, archives are shared, digitised and conjoined with the contemporary imagination.

Like the organisation itself, all the 'collections' at MDR are regarded as 'in formation', gradually being supplemented by visitor reports and linkage to other material in the archives. Of course, the precise form each evolving collection will take, the kinds of processing involved, and the level and means of dissemination, will vary from collection to collection, and according to the conditions of deposit agreed between MDR and depositors and donors. These are outlined in a short-form letter clarifying a process of care, including the ways in which collections can be activated.

Activities/Services: Library

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