The People's River

The People’s River is a new community-led project delivered by Manchester Histories who will collaborate with people who live and work along the River Irk in North Manchester. The project will reveal and share the often hidden histories and stories of people’s heritage in a creative way.

The project is inspired by and designed to commemorate the bicentenary of Friedrich Engels’ birth and his connection to the industrial river. Engels, a German socialist philosopher, wrote about the River Irk in his 1845 essay ‘The Working Conditions of the Working Class in England’, based on his experiences in Manchester.

Groups collaborating with Manchester Histories on the People’s River project include HMG Paints Ltd, Collyhurst Big Local and the Friends of Angel Meadows.

Participants will learn about the history of Engel’s work and his relationship with the area surrounding the River Irk through a programme of history workshops and events taking place in November 2020. Groups will collaborate with a socially engaged photographer to co-create an exhibition or installation along the river. Applications are now open for the socially engaged photographer with a deadline of the 21st August.

In September 2020 a new, free, educational toolkit, will be available to download from Manchester Histories website. The toolkit will introduce and explore the subject of Engel's connection with Manchester. 

The People's River project is coordinated in partnership with the organisation Wupperverband in the city of Wuppertal, Engels’ birthplace in Germany, as part of their celebration of Engels’ birth (‘Engels 2020’).

The project has been funded by Manchester City Council through their Neighbourhood Investment Fund and Economic Regeneration Fund.

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