The Modern Backdrop returns with new ‘Invisible Cities’ exhibition

Categories: Research, School of Science, Engineering and Environment

A fascinating new exhibition starting next month will look at Salford throughout its redevelopment phase during the 1960s and 70s.

‘Invisible Cities: Salford before, during and after redevelopment, 1952 to 1974’ focuses on the transformation of the city when terraced houses and neighbourhoods were being replaced with modern architecture. The exhibition, at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, will host images taken and provided by local citizens, professional photographers, and stills from TV and film, alongside architectural drawings and illustrations.

The exhibition is part of the University of Salford’s research project The Modern Backdrop. Funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, The Modern Backdrop looks to understand the redevelopment of Salford and the changes that have taken place. The exhibition is also the final event of the project; in setting side-by-side diverse types of images the transformations and changes of this bygone era are made visible again. These images demonstrate how the people of Salford documented their own history but also showcase how a modern Salford was planned by architects and stakeholders as well as how its ‘slum clearance’ was captured by film and TV makers.

Dr Tanja Poppelreuter, an Associate Professor in Architectural Humanities at The University of Salford and the curator of the exhibition, said: “Salford has an important architectural history and has undergone significant changes in a short space of time. Its transformations are keenly remembered but it seems that several discreet histories exist side by side – that of the slum clearance, of modernisation, and that of living in densely populated neighbourhoods and of being rehoused. To this day, these histories evoke a range of emotions and memories.”

Nick Hedges, one of the photographers whose work features in the exhibition said: “It is such a democratic representative portrait of Salford. The mix of residents and professional contributions is truly vibrant. A great example of how history can be created to represent and embrace the reality of ordinary people’s lives.”

The exhibition is running from 18 May to 1 September 2024 at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Peel Park, The Crescent, Salford M5 4WU. A public viewing with the makers and contributors of the exhibition is on the 22nd of May, 5pm to 6:30pm. Entry is free. For more information see the website https://salfordmuseum.com/whats-on/exhibitions/future/ and book tickets here.

Invisible Cities

Picture info: Carole Burtonwood, The last resident and his cat, Nashville Street, Ordsall, 1977.

Nick Hedges, Corner shop at dusk, Salford, 1969.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.