Platt Hall, Gallery of Costume
The Gallery of Costume in Manchester is undergoing a £1 million redevelopment project by Manchester City Council and Manchester Metropolitan University to promote its internationally renowned collection.
The MMU students have been set a project to raise the gallery’s profile and explore the reinterpretation of its collection before it reopens in March 2010.
Students taking part in the project are on a 48-week MA programme, Manchester Design LAB, which is directly connected with the design industry and they will be drawing on their collective skills to meet the challenge.
Dr Miles Lambert, Senior Manager at the Gallery of Costume explained that although the gallery is well known amongst academics and students, the gallery does not have a very high profile in Manchester.
He said: “The MMU students have a brief to come up with some creative thinking that will enliven the gallery, challenge preconceptions, increase our presence in the city and engage with new audiences.”
The collection is housed in Platt Hall a former merchant’s home in the Rusholme area of the city and contains clothes worn by men women and children from the 17th century to the present day, from high fashion to the clogs and shawls worn by Lancashire weavers.
Embroidered bodice from 1650's, Gallery of Costume
MMU project leader Alice Kettle said: “The gallery is a fantastic resource, not least from a research perspective, but much of the collection is hidden away.
“The students are looking at presenting ideas within Platt Hall, outside in Platt Filed, how the collection is promoted around Manchester, and also how to present a virtual presence. Design students are naturally inquiring and the response is visual."
Students will work alongside established designers and industry professionals and will be directly contributing to the Manchester design community.
“We have always collaborated with MMU because it has the only graduate embroidery degree course in the country, within a very strong fashion department," added Alice. "From this perspective, MMU is our chosen partner within the broader relationship with higher education and this remains an important strand of our future development.”