Manchester’s legendary Factory Records are to be celebrated in a major new exhibition in the city’s Science & Industry Museum.

Running from 19 June to 3 January 2022, Use Hearing Protection: The Early Years Of Factory Records has been curated by the museum in association with journalist, author and artist Jon Savage, archivist Mat Bancroft and Warner Music UK.

Founded by Granada TV journalist Tony Wilson and occasional actor Alan Erasmus, Factory Records came to define Manchester in the 1980s, being home to some of its biggest bands, including Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays.

“As well as giving exclusive insight into the period through evocative visuals and rarely-seen objects,” says the press release, “Use Hearing Protection will transport visitors back to the label’s early years in its ‘Gig Room’, where the sounds of Factory will be played out through large-scale projections of its inaugural bands. Visitors can also get hands-on with technologies of the time by using a mixing desk to create their own take on an original Factory Records’ track, and feel as though they’re part of the recording of Unknown Pleasures by experimenting with a synthesizer. Audiences will need to bring their own headphones to plug in and play.”

“This is an unmissable exhibition for anyone eager to explore the origins of this influential label and its long-lasting legacy, says Jan Hicks, lead curator of the exhibition at the Science and Industry Museum. “The early years of Factory Records did so much to influence the city and the UK’s creative industries today, and this exhibition explores why Factory’s unique development could only have happened in Manchester at this time and involving this group of people.

“It’s a story that the Science and Industry Museum is uniquely placed to tell. Factory Records was hugely influenced by Manchester’s industrial heritage, which we sit at the heart of, and was hugely progressive in its use of digital and electronic technologies, which are again core focuses of the stories we tell here at the museum.

“This is a hugely exciting exhibition. Having been originally planned to take place last year, I’m delighted we’re finally able to bring the experience to our visitors. We’ve taken the additional time to expand the objects and stories available, giving audiences access to a rich collection of Factory artefact, first-hand accounts and immersive experiences that transports them back to an era where Manchester’s contemporary identity was formed.”

For more details on the exhibition, click here.

 

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