80th Birthday Celebrations for Delia Derbyshire

Janette Martin writes:

Special Collections holds several literary and artistic collections which document the avant-garde culture of the post-war era.  One of the most fascinating concerns the life and work of Delia Derbyshire (1937-2001), composer and pioneer of British electronic music.

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We are delighted to be working with the music charity Delia Derbyshire Day (DD Day) to celebrate what would have been Delia’s eightieth birthday year in 2017. DD Day has been awarded funding from the Heritage National Fund for its “Delia Derbyshire 80th birthday electronic music heritage project”, a programme of activities and events that will run from February 2017 to January 2018. This initiative aims to increase the awareness of and engagement with the heritage of the Delia Derbyshire Archive held here at The John Rylands Library. The project is led by Caro Churchill, a Manchester-based electronic musician and co-founder (with Ailis Ni Riain and Naomi Kashiwagi) of Delia Derbyshire Day.

Activities will include a DD Day in Manchester with some very special guests, a “Deliaphonic Soundbank” interactive web platform, two short films about Delia and her archive, a DD Day event at Full of Noises Festival in Barrow-in-Furness exploring Delia’s Cumbrian connections, an education project in two primary schools in Manchester, and a symposium in partnership with Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN).

Project partners include the Delia Derbyshire Estate, the John Rylands Library, the University of Manchester, One Education Music, Full of Noises Festival, Digital Women’s Archive North, and Band on the Wall.

Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West commented: “We’re delighted to support this project to shine a light, not only the pioneering impact of Delia Derbyshire’s work, but also on this significant and fascinating part of the John Rylands Library. Thanks to National Lottery players, DD Day can share the musical roots of electronic music to a new generation.”

Key dates & project outputs:

5 May 2017 – Delia’s 80th Birthday – launch of new website, short film about the DD Archive, and “Deliaphonic Soundbank” (an interactive web platform) public engagement activity.

10 June 2017 – DD Day 2017 MCR at Band on the Wall – electronic music-making workshops for families and an evening music/arts event with archive sharing, expert panel discussion/Q&A, live music/visual art performances.

5 Aug 2017 – DD Day touring event at the Full Of Noises (FON) Festival in Barrow-in-Furness, participatory workshops for families and evening cultural heritage event with archive sharing, panel discussion/Q&A, live music/visual art performances.

Sept-Nov 2017 – 8-week education project in 2 schools in Manchester including production of a short film about the DD Archive by the young participants.

5 Dec 2017 – DD Day and Digital Women’s Archive North (DWAN) symposium at the Anthony Burgess Foundation.

For further information visit

Follow this link to find out more about the Delia Derbyshire Collection held at the University of Manchester.

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