Animating the Archives

Salisbury Festival has teamed up with Salisbury Cathedral to develop an unusual opportunity for a range of community groups, each working with a different artist, to explore and be inspired by the incredible collection of materials held in the Cathedral library and archive.

The archives and library of Salisbury Cathedral contain the Cathedral's memory, the shadows of 800 years of life that have passed in and out and around both the Cathedral and Cathedral Close.

All life is recorded here, from the illuminated manuscripts from the time of King Henry IV, to the registration of the birth of an illegitimate female in the workhouse, to wax seals from royal documents to black and white photographs of the spire renovation in the 1950's.

The Cathedral is taking the theme of memory for their outreach work in 2017, and of course an archive is the memory of any organisation.  The overarching aim of this project is to use the arts to bring these institutional memories to life, and to find new and inspiring ways for the wider community to interact with them.

The communities have been inspired by what they have discovered, and creative in various ways about what they have left behind in the archives. To find out more about Animating the Archives and the outcomes of the project so far, visit


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