My name is Tony, and I have recently completed my final year of MMU’s Illustration with Animation course. For my final project I knew I wanted to continue working with themes of family and memory, but I was struggling to find any references to work from. Fortunately, I was pointed in the direction of the Manchester Central library, where I was given access to a fantastic array of archive images that helped me greatly.

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The local image collection website proved to be especially helpful as the search functionality allowed me to enter keywords and easily find relevant images. I have very few memories from my childhood, but of the very small amount of pleasant ones, the majority took place around parks with my family. So given the themes of my project it occurred to me searching for images of parks and playgrounds would be pertinent.

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When I searched for images of playgrounds, I was almost immediately presented with 100s of relevant images sorted chronologically. In order to more easily invoke ideas of memory and nostalgia I thought it appropriate to work from old images, which I believe in turn was complimented by the fact I predominantly like to create images with charcoal and black inks.  

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There’s no doubt that the archives were instrumental in helping me get the most out of this project, and I’m really happy that I was able to present some fairly personal ideas through images that have been stored away for decades. I would like to thank Archives+ for their assistance through the past few months, particularly in granting me access to the high resolution images I required. 

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Tony Russ

Taking inspiration from Tony’s drawings, we recently held a Digital and Movie Day at Central Library which was planned by the children of Cheetwood Primary School, Cheetham Hill, Manchester. During the afternoon children, young people and families worked together to create a short collaborative piece of animation using a walking sequence template which Tony kindly shared. 

Rubab, one of the pupils from Cheetwood Primary, who attended the event with her father and sister, created a webpage during the afternoon to share her experience of the day for which she was instrumental in the planning of.  Below are her photos and comments. 

I have been working with the Central Library staff in Manchester. I had an amazing experience with making new digital movies. I really would like to thank my Head Teacher and all of Year 6, including staff to give a chance to work with Central Library Team.

Thank you Tony Russ and the pupils from Cheetwood Primary School!