What can community archiving do for your venue?

We know that live music and arts venues are a vital part of the UK music industry.

 We understand that venues:

  • Support new talent
  • Provide vibrant, diverse and accessible cultural programmes
  • Contribute to the musicality of communities
  • Contribute significant value to local economies

However, venues face significant economic challenges, such as soaring energy costs. The UK charity Music Venue Trust says:

“Pubs, restaurants, music venues, nightclubs, hotels and wider hospitality have reached the point where the conditions for trading are so prohibitive that many venues are already reducing the hours they open their doors. Others are confronted with the threat of permanent closure. With chronic challenges in the supply chain, labour shortages, interest rates and inflation, rocketing energy prices have become a matter of existential emergency for businesses in our sector.”

Music Venue Trust

So, why invest time, money and effort into creating an archive?

Archives are activism!

Archives are not just — as some imagine — dry and unimaginative records of historical events locked away where very few can access them. Archives can be social media pages, websites and community projects which allow individuals to take hold of their memories and stories.

Developing an archive can:

  • Increase community engagement and appreciation for venues
  • Aid in securing public funding, and protecting longer-term futures
  • Allow communities to take control of their stories and memories, and share them back to the community and beyond
  • Guide the future development of a music venue or organisation

“Recognition of their place at the heart of communities and as important cultural spaces is a key part to the security of grassroots music venues. Whether it’s encouraging artists to come to a venue, proving significance to funding bodies and Government, or bringing together those who love these places it is important that venues can clearly articulate who they are, what they have done and why they matter. Developing an archive and gathering together the memories formed in these spaces provides an opportunity to reflect on the key moments of the past but more importantly to promote and shape the future. Hosting stories and creating memories is what venues do every day, but by sharing and collecting them, it’s possible to raise these spaces up and recognise the significance and key part they play in our society.”

Chris Sherrington, York Music Venue Network

Archives can take many forms and you can create an archive that is right for your venue. Take a look at those in our Music Memories Database to see what’s out there.

Creating an archive can be as involved as you like and your archive does NOT need to be labour intensive and expensive! Our Examples page gives some ideas of different ways you can go about it to suit different tastes, needs and resources.

Want to get started?

Building on consultation with venue owners, managers and supporters, we have created a easy-to-follow workflow process for starting your archive, with guides for each step of the way – we hope you find them helpful! You can access the guides here …