A mainstay of Manchester’s grassroots art scene, Blank Media Collective was founded in 2006 by a group of art graduates looking to create opportunities for emerging artists that, at the time, weren’t available. BLANKSPACE as we know it now, a white cube on Hulme Street surrounded by humming regeneration, wasn’t acquired until collaboration with the architecture students who had been occupying the building, blossomed into semi-permanent residency. Prior to this, the collective had organised exhibitions and music gigs in various venues around the city, including Z-Arts in Hulme, Nexus Art Cafe in the Nothern Quarter and Fuel in Withington. Director John Leyland explains that whilst visual arts is the avenue through which many people discover Blank Media Collective, this isn’t their sole focus. They also support emerging writers, performers and musicians. On the recently re-designed Blank Media Collective website you’ll find a range of features, including poetry and music as well as art, and within the organisation there are opportunities to gain experience in arts administration, editorial, curation and design. Blank Media Collective is run on a largely voluntary basis, with occasional project funding. John characterises the organisation as a springboard for talented individuals. Blank Media Collective aims to provide opportunities – often first opportunities – and an environment that enables professional development.
John recalls how previous to this year, Blank Media Collective’s website hadn’t been upgraded since 2009, which is a long time on the internet, and that the new design has allowed the organisation to better engage with information-age reading habits. This re-design of the website, and re-brand in general, signals a transition for the organisation, who will soon be forced to leave their space in Hulme as the area is redeveloped to make room for Cornerhouse and Library Theatre’s new joint development; HOME.
There will be one last exhibition – and a fitting send off – in the current BLANKSPACE at the end of this year to accompany the Title Art Prize, running from November 7th to the 1st of December. The Title Art Prize is an open competition run by Blank Media Collective for emerging visual artists, with a first prize of £500 and a solo exhibition supported by the organisation. Submissions for The Title Art Prize are now open and the deadline is the 22nd of September, so there’s still time to apply! For more information and to apply click on the link below.
Written by Lauren Velvick / Photos at the top by Elle Brotherhood