MMU students create art directory for Manchester

  • Five students from MMU have created an art directory for exhibitions and events in Greater Manchester 
  • The team hope that the Manchester Art Directory will make art more accessible to a wider audience
  • Sian Hamer met up with team behind the website today

Five students from Manchester Metropolitan University have launched a Manchester art directory with the hopes of making art accessible to a wider audience.

Joe Preston, Jess Breeze, Eye Siriya Suriyanon, Georgia Gibson and Jacob Lea created the Manchester Art Directory all whilst studying for their degrees.

The directory features weekly exhibition openings, a what’s on guide and a mailing list, specifically on art events in the Greater Manchester area.

Joe Preston, website manager and founder of the directory, said: “Initially I saw it as an artistic idea, then it quickly became more than that. We were sitting in the library, trying to look for openings and they were hard to find. We felt, if only there was a way of telling us what is on – lightbulb moment.

“It’s gone from this little thing, to making an Instagram, a logo, and then we made a proper website.”

Using part of Preston’s student loan to fund a website host, the team have relied on voluntary contributions from fellow art students and friends to design the logo and website.

Jacob Lea, general assistant of the directory, said: “Looking at it in its raw state – it is a listings website. The team have found what is going on for the next week, they have broken it down and made a little poster for it.

“Unless you are looking very precisely at these multitudes of posters, which you see everywhere around the university buildings, how are you going to know where all of these things are unless you take a picture of every single one.

“It is a very easy introduction to art, and the listings themselves are an opening to it. Like a cookbook or something.”

Although the team are all finishing their degrees this summer they all hope to continue working on the directory in Manchester, and each have their own aspirations of where they want the website to be in future years.

Eye Siriyanon, features editor, said: “With all of the education cuts, and cutting back on the arts, I want to maybe make tailored art lessons, and art history lessons, for children of different ages. Also, I want to be able to support emerging artists in terms of helping them to put up their own art exhibitions and writing their own press releases.”

As the students currently dedicate multiple hours each week contributing to the website, they hope to generate some revenue to incentivise potential feature writers and pay the current staff.

“In a year’s time I would like that we have some kind of income, or sponsorship from a gallery, that means we can pay people, including us,” continues Joe. “We could have more features and a few writers. If that was in a year I’d be very happy with that.”

To find out about the latest art listings, visit the directory, or check the directory’s Instagram and Twitter.