Did you know you can win an award for creating art, music, and other creative work inspired by what you find in the archives?  In Manitoba, you can.

The mission of the Association for Manitoba Archives “is to preserve the heritage of the people and institutions of the Province of Manitoba.” Since 2005, the AMA has given awards to artists who get inspiration from archives and use archival material in their works, acknowledging projects that contribute to the cultural richness of the province both by drawing on the historical record of the place, and by creating something new to add to it.

Below are a few examples of artists acknowledged by the Association at the annual awards ceremony this past May.

John K. Samson drew inspiration from Manitoba Archives for songs on his CD “Provincial.”  As he studied old photographs that would later inspire songs like the diptych “Highway 1 East” and “Highway 1 West,” archives staff helped him gain a more nuanced  picture of the area and the history:

[The staff] suggested sites I might want to explore, and found many photos and documents that enriched my understanding of the areas I wrote about

Musician John K. Samson. Click the image to listen to select tracks from the album.

Andrew Wall was also recognized for his documentary The Paper Nazis, which examines the period of Canadian journalism during WWII when many papers supported anti-semitic views, and makes an important point about remembering the mistakes of history so as not to repeat them.   You can watch the trailer for the film here:

Have you ever used the Manitoba Archives to research a creative project?  Share your experiences and favorite collections in the comments– we’d love to learn about the archives-inspired art you created!

Many thanks to Ellen Ast of OCLC Research for introducing us to this wonderful award series.  Check out more of her writing on the ArchiveGrid Blog.

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