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Urbis has left the building: Exhibition 28 Jan - 25 Feb 2010 (promotional image)

Welcome to the Urbis Archive site !

Between 2002 and  2010, Urbis existed as an exhibition centre of urban and popular culture, located in Cathedral Gardens in Manchester’s Millennium Quarter. Here it delivered 5 floors of changing exhibitions, and a whole host of special events, as well as the much lauded RECLAIM project (that changed the lives of kids from Gorton to Moss Side).   

During its somewhat short-lived existence Urbis achieved much, but it will always be remembered for stepping where others feared to tread; for placing popular culture on centre stage and creating around it the aura of awe and inspiration that is ordinarily reserved for the domain of high art.   

Popular culture is important . Vital. [It] changes lives in a way that high culture never can. It deserves to be treated with respect. It is a culture that’s created, constructed and influenced by everyone. At Urbis, we shied away from attempting to find critical distance,  instead trying to immerse people in the experience of popular culture; providing those moments of in-drawn breath that come from a remembered icon; creating moments of conversation that arise from a shared memory, a uniting experience. Through this we developed a new way of exhibiting. We found a way of connecting that left the museum behind   

Vaughan Allen, Chief Executive   

 On Saturday 27 February 2010, Urbis closed its doors to become the new National Football Museum, opening 2011. So if you never got round to visiting (shame on you!) or want to relive the dream, this site will take you through the highlights; including exhibitions on …..    

…..popular pastimes – television, gardening, gaming and Manga    

 ….Music, design, fashion, – local heroes,  its past, present and future   

 …. the here and the now –  Manchester’s most successful artists, musicians, designers, writers.   

 ….The best international art & design    

….the city as a playground  ( we turned the gallery into one too!)   

….bringing the outside in – street art and graffiti  in the gallery space   

….the story of UK Hip Hop (in the year that Est’elle won a grammy with Kanye West)

….Cites and their culture from the Hong Kong handover to a UK  SuperCity
…. The civil rights movement – our exhibition Black Panther: Emory Douglas and the Art of Revolution touted by Museum’s Journal as exhibition of the decade.     

And finally….    

We’d just like to say…. 

Thank you to all those of you who have supported us through the good times (and the sometimes more challenging ones). We couldn’t have done it without you.    

The Modern, our award-winning bar and restaurant remains open on the 5&6 floors as well as our shop, as does the seminar series the Urbis Research Forum and Urbis shop.  PLUS our burgeoning Reclaim project continues to grow from strength to strength.