Archives from Below:

 Engaging Histories. Various venues. London. May 7th – 8th, 2011

‘Archives From Below: Engaging Histories’ was MayDay Rooms inaugural event which gathered together a raft of fellow travellers and comrades who spoke of their own commitments, experiences and wishes – in the past and present. This had the effect of sketching in a network of oppositional organisations, groups, communities and processes concerned with ‘destabilising the now’ and the search for a dedicated building. With the South Side Community Arts Center in Chicago as a model it was proposed that, given the widespread threat of eviction and displacement facing many communities, groups and collections, ‘owning’ a building or having security of lease should be a priority.

‘Archives from Below: Engaging Histories’


Saturday May 7th

11:00 – 2:30 Gather promptly at the White Hart, 191 Drury Lane, WC2B 5QD (corner of High Holborn) where Jack Sheppard and Richard (Dick) Turpin relaxed before their execution, and later home of the Communist League which met there with Marx and Engels to discuss and produce the Communist Manifesto.

-Introductions, and opening presentations by the MayDay Committee and delegates from the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam) and the Archivio Primo Moroni (Milan), **56a Info Shop, Crisis Archive 2008-, Shadow Department, the Feminist Library, History Workshop Journal, the Museum of Migrant Ephemera, Colorama (London), the Sussex Occupation Archive and Autonomedia/WFMU.

-Response by Peter Linebaugh with animadversions on the history of May Day and the creative use of historical archives

Drift to Dean Street via The Red Lion

4:00 – 7:00 Re-convene at Studio 13, 90-91 Dean Street, Soho, London,  WI
-Rick Prelinger, “The citizen-archivist in a time of enclosure”, a slideshow on making history anew
-Roundtable presentations and discussion

8:00 Dinner for all participants at the New World (Chinese cuisine) restaurant, 1 Gerrard Place, W1D 5PA. New World is adjacent to the former meeting place of the DABV, the German Workers Educational Association.

Sunday May 8th

11:00 – 3:00 Gather promptly at St Bride Library, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, EC4Y 8EE
-Megan Shaw Prelinger, “Browsable, appropriation-friendly, hybrid, neighborly”, a slideshow on the principles of the Prelinger collection in San Francisco
-Roundtable presentations and discussion

3:00 Lunch for all participants; venue tbc
-Future plans and farewells

 **Contributions noted post event 


The White Hart Pub, Drury Lane, London. Location for Session I of ‘Archives from Below: Engaging Histories’ (above) and Home of the Communist Club in 1846

The White Hart Pub, Drury Lane, London. Location for Session I of ‘Archives from Below: Engaging Histories’ (above) and Home of the Communist Club in 1846


Archives from Below: Engaging Histories ‘working diagram’. MDR (h). March 1st, 2012

Map: St. Bride’s Foundation. Location for Session III Archives From Below: Engaging Histories (showing proximity to MDR’s home at 88 Fleet Street).

Download an extract from the Meeting Minutes
Listen to Peter Linebaugh’s impromptu Mayday speech. May 7th, 2011