SPC have continued to support the development of MayDay Rooms throughout a cathartic ‘rejuvenation’ last year and spring clean of the whole building this month. The recent open meeting in March, marked a determination to attune to the needs of dedicated users attending, and prepare for intensification of use throughout 2017.

One persistent question from the meeting reflected shades of confusion around the key objective for the MayDay Rooms, to make community archives available for review and reactivation. “How do we view and make use the collection?“, a question we have all at some time asked!

MDR has maintained a conviction to hold regular activation sessions, that revisit collected archives with their depositors and researchers, along with groups of interested onlookers and inquisitors. This valuable process is vital to the health and vitality of the organisation and it’s future. The facilitation role in this respect, is a unique and underestimated contribution to the collection as a whole. It’s a process that breathes life into the deeper folds of each story retold, regenerating interest and attention onto the objectives of the original activity, reframing it’s potential.

Operation of activation sessions remains the duty of MDR archivist in response to public requests. However, this need not remain an exclusive duty of the part time staff but could well be adopted by support groups. Questions about the function of MDR could be best answered through an activation experience and cement relationships through shared archive experiences. Such a group need only assemble and assume the role.

A good portion of the huge Statewatch archive has been hosted at MDR since early 2015 and this spring will relocate to one of the MDR resident spaces to be manages more directly. An active friends group, helps raise funds to support it’s continuity. They join the Pan African Archive on the third floor where June Givanni curates a definitive heritage collection of image, audio and film works from the African diaspora.

Longer standing resident groups at MDR have shuffled around into more dedicated spaces. Caiwu, the youngest and most active cleaners and industrial workers union in the building contiue to host their support network and weekend social gatherings.  IWGB, IWW, Strike! magazine and close cousins LuckyRug (risograph user group) will gather across the hall from the MDR office space leaving the first floor clear for popular use as both reading and screening meeting spaces.

Don’t leave it too long before you make you way to MDR for a review of it’s fascinating collections and to book yourself in, for an archival activation experience soon.

MAYDAY ROOMS | 88 Fleet Street  | London EC4Y 1DH | United Kingdom

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