A better image: Multistory takes makers into museums

Posted on 19 Jun 2013

A West Midlands-based media agency is partnering with some of the world’s best photographers to take and exhibit images of manufacturing across Britain.

The project, called Open for Business, has commissioned nine accomplished photographers registered with Magnum Photos to document and record manufacturing in nine British cities.

The project is funded with a £350,000 grant from the Arts Council and support from the local authority in West Bromwich.

The finished images, expected to be the largest collection of professional photos of British manufacturing ever collated, will be displayed in nine museums and art galleries on a national tour of the UK beginning February 2014 at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

Open for Business
Open for Business - taking professional images of UK industry, in some unlikely places

Companies who have been, and will be, photographed range from big, listed companies to small, family-owned firms. “Companies have been selected from suggestions from Peter Marsh [former Financial Times manufacturing editor] and our own research, where there is a strong story and when there is a new form of manufacturing process,” says the project director, Emma Chetcuti.

The photographers, from Argentina, South Africa, the UK and the US, have each been assigned to photograph manufacturing companies based within one of nine regions or cities.

The project began last February and some photographers have completed their assignments. British photographer Mark Power, who documented the story of Airbus’s A380 manufacture, completed his assignment last week.

The assignments expect to completed by September, from when the images will be edited and curated for public viewing by November. The Financial Times is the project media partner and it is understood the paper will publish some of the images in a series in the FT magazine.

Companies who will participate in the exhibition include Airbus, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, Alcatel Lucent, Corgi Hosiery, FlexiCare Medical, Jaguar Land Rover, Pelamis Wave Power, Renishaw, Tate & Lyle Sugar, Vauxhall Motor Manufacturing, and many more.

“We want to tell the positive stories in a range of industries, including the ones that are often overlooked by big news, such as wave turbines in Scotland,” said Miss Chetcuti.

Peter Marsh, manufacturing author and formerly of the FT, helped Multistory launch the project and is an adviser on some of the subject companies.

For a documentary on Open for Business progress, visit the Tumblr site here.