Award-winning playwright Linda Brogan joins Museum Ideas 2018 speaker line-up
Manchester born Linda Brogan is an award winning playwright and director. In 1999 Brogan took part in the North West Playwrights’ course, and won the 2001 Alfred Fagon Award for her play The Well. This was followed by an attachment at the National Theatre Studio in 2002. Brogan’s first play What’s In The Cat was produced by Contact Theatre, Manchester and transferred to the Royal Court in 2005. Brogan’s other plays include Basil and Beattie presented at Royal Exchange/Liverpool Everyman, and The Very Thought of You, commissioned by Wolsey and Tricycle Theatre.
Linda created the Excavating The Reno project in Manchester’s Moss Side. Excavating The Reno uses oral history and archaeology to explore the story of a Manchester soul and funk club that became a sanctuary from racism for 50s born mixed heritage people in the 1970s. Closed in 1986, the Reno was demolished and apparently forgotten – all but a footnote in the triumphant and noisy history of Manchester’s rampant nightlife. But working with researchers and students from the University of Salford’s Centre for Applied Archaeology, Linda worked out from aerial photographs that the Reno had just been filled in and not destroyed. Arts Council England, supported by the National Lottery, invested £65,000 to boost local fundraising for the dig in 2017 which attracted regional and national media attention. The extracted artefacts were supplemented by photographs and first-hand accounts of club-goers curated into a 12-month exhibition at the Whitworth Museum. 45,000 people interacted with memoirs online, 80,000 with excavation progress videos, 1,500 attended the exhibition and 800 came to all night party. Linda says: “Excavating the Reno has raised community pride in Moss Side. It’s not just the numbers, but the personal impacts. When people joined others at the dig, sometimes after 40 years, they hugged and spoke like it was yesterday. In its day, the Reno made friends of people who would not normally be in each other’s sphere of contact and it did so again 40 years later when people like posh Margaret and Alcina met down there as archaeology volunteers,” she stressed. “It’s all about linking the community and building respect and self-respect.”
Museum Ideas 2018 takes place in London on 2 – 4 October with 3 days of workshops, special events, an exclusive study day at the National Maritime Museum and the essential Museum Ideas international conference at the Museum of London. Delivering an international programme of change, key themes include social justice, activism, digital strategy, participatory practice, representation, collaborative working and co-curation.
Explore the ideas shaping the future of museums with speakers from India, New Zealand, United States, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, and the UK. Early-bird registration closes 31 July: Find out more and book your ticket today