Underground Manchester Art Collectives

Underground arts and culture in Manchester is thriving more than ever. Check out some of the groups we regularly collaborate with and be sure to check out events by them in the future.

1. Video Jam

Described as “one of Manchester’s most innovative nights” by Manchester Wire, Video Jam is an ongoing series of unique experimental events that seek to explore and re-examine the relationship between moving image and sound. Since its inception in January 2012, the collective have worked with over 280 artists, completed residencies in Ibiza and Falmouth, collaborated with multiple collectives and organisations including Abandon Normal Devices and Manchester Art Gallery, released an album and worked with international and award winning artists such as Dieter Moebius, Jeremy Deller and Phil Solomon.

“Our programmes feature a wide variety of short films of all genres, from amateur and professional artists alike. For each of these films we commission a different musical act to compose an original soundtrack of their own interpretation to be performed as a live accompaniment, resulting in what we call a ‘blind collaboration’. As curators, we act as the go between, bringing together these two elements to create a new, third entity to be witnessed as a live experience.

Whilst our priority for all our events is to showcase the most exciting and interesting work we can find, our emphasis is always on variety, with no bias towards any particular genre or medium. Video Jam’s objective is to create events which stimulate conversation, forge new creative partnerships and challenge an audience’s understanding of these two mediums and their unlimited potential.”

Visit: videojam.co.uk

2. Moderate Twat Kissa

Moderate Twat Kissa is the side project of Mark Jermyn, one of the founding members of one69a. With a busy start to 2014 the Moderate Twat Kissa has launched a record label, created pieces for various exhibitions whilst continuing to produce artworks and activism just for the hell of it.

Visit: moderatetwatkissa.com

3. one69a

one69a are a creative collective, based in Salford, who specialise in screen printing and educational workshops. They design, make and print a variety of products including t-shirts, gig posters, and other bespoke items. They operate from an studio in the institution that is Islington Mill.

“We facilitate a range of creative practical projects and workshops with various schools and community groups and run public workshops and courses for adults including team building and corporate events. Please see our education pages for further information. In addition to this, we run live screen printing sessions at events including festivals, gigs, private hire and corporate hire – for more information see our live printing pages.”

Visit: one69a.com

4. Super Crafts

Established in 2010 by MrHass, SuperCrafts is a Manchester based studio workshop where commissions and self initiated projects are carried out across a range of visual applications. The studio provides the entire bandwidth of services from assessment, to concept and realisation. Whether identity design or bespoke illustration work, the purpose of the studio is to build appropriate and expressive communication.

The work at SuperCrafts is greatly enriched by the creative network of groups alongside whom it works. Located in Islington Mill near Manchester City Centre, the studio space is shared with one69a Screen Printers, and is supported by Birmingham based Column Arts Agency.

Visit: super-crafts.com

5. OneFiveEight

We couldn’t create a list of underground art collectives based in Manchester without including ourselves!

The OneFiveEight collective was formed by a group of creatives in 2006 and now has members across the north of England. The collective includes contributors specialising in a range of creative pursuits including Artists, Photographers, Writers, Illustrators, Web Designers, Musicians, Producers and Sound Technicians.

“We strive to find unrecognised talent and help promote those who struggle to be noticed in a world of over commercialisation. In the early days our efforts were put into creating online Zines. Our website is now our central form of communication. We now focus on Exhibitions and Events which are usually based around a concept or a theme.”

Our mission statement is simple, to promote none commercial creativity and un-recognised talent.

Visit: onefiveeight.co.uk

6. Upper Space

Upper Space is a non-profit public realm art organisation that is comprised of artists; academics; activists and community organisers. 

“We provide a platform for social artists and projects that challenge how we perceive our shared reality and utilise the arts as a form of social agency. We directly support artist’s practices whilst representing a selection of non-commercial public realm artists that engage with social and environmental justice issues within the UK and abroad. We also provide award winning creative outreach projects that work with young people on social and environmental justice issues, with a particular focus on materialism, social unrest, cultural values and the public realm.”

The Upper Space website provides the collective with a stage for their activities. The site includes information about the artists involved with their projects, case studies of past projects and information about interventions created by the artists within the public realm.

Visit: upper-space.org