Mayday Rooms is a London based educational charity founded as a safe haven for historical material linked to social movements, experimental culture and the radical expression of marginalised groups and their stories.
It was set up to safeguard historical dissenting material and connect it with contemporary struggle. Its home, the Birmingham Daily Post’s former London office at 88 Fleet Street, was refurbished over 2012-13 to facilitate collective gatherings and allow fluid connections between users of the building, its archives, and various digital platforms for dissemination. It offers communal spaces – a reading room, a meeting and screening room and a canteen – where this material can be explored and researched, to activate its potential in relation to current struggles and informal research.
MDR’s growing collections challenge the widespread assault on collective memory and historical continuity by countering those prevalent narratives of historical inevitability and political pessimism. Working in a broad range of media, from printed documents to film and ephemera, the core work of MDR is to activate and socialise this material in a number of linked processes – primarily collaborative education, digitisation and online distribution. MDR aims always to make historical material open to question and criticism; as much as this material contests the present, it still needs to be challenged by it.