50th Anniversary of Mid Pennine Arts


Project Information


From 01 May 2015

Until 30 November 2017

Funders: Heritage Lottery - Sharing Heritage Fund;  Stocks Massey Bequest Fund

MPA Lead: Cath Ford

Support: The activities for our anniversary by donating via the JustGiving link below.


Donate with JustGiving

50th Anniversary of Mid Pennine Arts

Image of Welfare State - Parliament in Flames - Burnley 1976

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of MPA and we're are determined to celebrate in style.  There are a number of projects planned to help us do this, and in keeping with the MPA tradition and ethos these will include creative innovation, cultural learning, heritage exploration and lots of fun! 

As plans progress we will keep you updated on this page and through our free ebulletin which you can sign up for on our home page.

Latest News

It’s been a long process, but the 50 years of Mid Pennine Arts exhibition is finished and up for the next two months in Burnley Mechanics Bar. The volunteer team have spent months delving through MPA’s amazing archive of items covering the past fifty years.  It wasn’t easy to choose what was included and what wasn’t, but they’ve selected items that they feel give a taste of the massive amount of work that MPA has done during that period.

Thank you to Burnley Mechanics for hosting the exhibition.  MPA was based in the building for over 20 years, which makes it feel exactly the right place for the exhibition’s first outing.

The space is open from 11am-3pm Monday to Friday and for two hours prior to every performance and will be in place until mid September 2016. Go take a look and let us know if it brings back memories for you.

50 Years of MPA

Firstly we are explorating the wealth of archive material amassed over our lifetime, which taken together present a rich history of cultural life in Pennine Lancashire over half a century. Up to now, the fascinating ephemera of posters, leaflets, publications, reports, photos, plans, documents, videos, artworks and memorabilia have been somewhat haphazardly stored in our basement. Thanks to a generous grant from the Heritage Lottery, Sharing Heritage Fund we have started a pilot archiving programme that has begun the task of securing, organising and digitizing our records. The pilot will map out a conservation plan and test out how we can do this with help from experts and volunteers.

We have been:

  • Working with community volunteers, training them as archivists, digitisers and oral historians.
  • Engaging professional archivists, oral historians and digital specialists.
  • Producing a conservation plan for all our archive materials.
  • Developing our website to help us publish our archive online to gain the widest audience possible.
  • Making contact with key individuals involved in MPA over the years, documenting their stories.
  • Sharing the gems from our collection online and in a temporary exhibition.

We have been sharing our discoveries on the project BLOG, as well as ways in which you can be involved.  If you are one of the hundreds of people who've been part of teamMPA over the years, either as a member of staff, a trustee or a volunteer and you want to tell us your MPA story please email.  You can also join the MPA Alumni Facebook Group.  Or if you've participated in, or been an audience member at, or a visitor to, any of MPA's work and want to tell us about it, please get in touch.

The Doris

As well as looking back over 50 years we also want to look forward, and how better than to promote Lancashire's next generation of artists?

We want to initiate a young artists' award, but one that comes with a real commission, to create something substantial in one of Lancashire’s special places…  We want to name it after the feminist writer and activist who inspired the founding of MPA back in 1966, Doris Nield Chew.  Our award/commission will be called The Doris.

To help with the fundraising for this our Creative Director, Nick Hunt; Trustee, Steph Hawke and long time member of the Friends, Barbara Sanders all untook daunting tasks.  Nick cycled from London to Paris in September 2015. 236 miles in three days, Steph ran the London Marathon in April 2016 and Barbara walked the 700+ miles from Penzance to Burnley in spring 2016.  Between them they've raised almost £5,000.  The MPA fundraising page is still open if you would like to add your donation in appreciation of the pain they all went through to support Lancashire culture!  Visit our Just Giving page to make an online donation.

Anything you donate, no matter how small (or large), will go to the MPA 50 fund.  We and the future winners of The Doris will all be very grateful.