I flew to Glasgow from London City Airport yesterday to visit the MU’s exhibition at the Mitchell Library – an AHRC and ESRC funded research project based in the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow. The project has been running for four years and culminates with a number of events and the publication of a book, Player’s Work Time, by Manchester University Press in autumn 2016.
The organisers have been hosting a month-long exhibition at the Library in Glasgow covering various aspects of the MU’s 122 year history. At the same time, they are also held a two-day conference at the venue on 14/15 January on related themes of musical labour.
There are plans to present the exhibition in Manchester in March and I have been asked to source a suitable cultural venue in London, so that the exhibition’s appearance in the capital can coincide with the book’s publication. We also hope to create a photographic gallery to show the current work of British musicians as captured by Jonathan Stewart over the last decade.
Having visited the exhibition in the delightful company of MU Officer Caroline Sewell, I met up with one of my favourite colleagues Regional Organiser Sheena MacDonald at the Royal Concert Halls and we walked through the rain to find a place for dinner and to catch up on all that was happening in the scene north of the border.
This morning I caught a train to Stirling, to visit the official MU archive housed in the University’s Library and to meet archivist Karl Magee, who does a great job of maintaining the collection. The archive is a superb resource for anyone seeking details or artefacts of the history of British working musicians since 1893.
After looking through a fascinating collection of old copies of The Musician, mostly from the 1950s, I caught a BA plane back to Heathrow and returned home from a marvellous trip. My thanks to everyone I met for their excellent hospitality. Always a joy to visit Scotland and I hope it won’t be too long before I can travel there again.