Group 22

Design, curation and marketing of a Post War New Towns exhibition in the Northern Quarter Modernist gallery. First, Second- and fifth-year students will work together to design the exhibition display, edit real interviews, compose posters and advertise the event through public consultation. You will learn the construction process of a live exhibition, audio editing of primary data collection, spatial arrangement, graphic design and how to organise and manage an event for public admittance.

Lucy Hannah W / Philippa Jane H / Abigail C / Ariel Helen C / Hayden W


Introducing the NEWTOPIA team, currently we are a team of five MArch.1 students at the Manchester School of Architecture

Lucy Woodward
Atelier : CiA
BArch : University of Nottingham
Worked at : Sheppard Robson, London
Skill : AutoCAD
Interested in : Preserving heritage within adaptive re-use

Abbie Colder
Atelier : &Architecture
BArch : Sheffield Hallam University
Worked at : Chapman Taylor, Manchester
Skill : Enscape Visualisations
Interested in : Inclusive & sustainable design

Hayden Webster
Atelier : CiA
BArch : Sheffield Hallam University
Worked at : Matchbox Architects, Northamptonshire
Skill : Revit
Interested in : Environmental technology within buildings

Pippa Humphries
Atelier : USE
BArch : Sheffield Hallam University
Worked at : HTA, Manchester
Skill : Adobe Photoshop
Interested in : Intersections between art and architecture

Ariel Chesley
Atelier : Infra Space
BArch : University of Virginia
Worked at : Shalom Baranes Associates, Washington DC
Skill : Rhino
Interested in : Relationships between landscape and the built environment
Posted 6 Mar 2020 00:16

You've met the 5 of us, now it's time to meet the gallery we are working with to create our exhibition!

The Modernist is a self proclaimed architecture and design publisher, gallery and shop, located in the Northern Quarter, Manchester. They host a range of exhibitions across the art and architecture spectrum, and have a history of working along side the MSA to create their exhibitions.

We have just visited their current exhibition "Sarah Hardacre: Penthouse and Pavement"... It's a great way to get to know The Modernist and what it represents so we would recommend having a look for inspiration!

To get a deeper insight have a browse of their Instagram or Twitter using the handle @modernistmag or follow this link:

To learn more about The Modernist Society; follow this link
Posted 6 Mar 2020 15:11

Post-war British New Towns was an attempt by the UK government to alleviate housing shortages and slum clearance after the country-wide destruction of the Blitz during the Second World War. The New Towns Act of 1946 granted the permission of compulsory purchase orders to buy land at its agricultural value, by the authority of specially appointed Development Corporations, to transform into new communities with populations between 30,000 to 80,000. Taking over a decade to build, the first generation of New towns were slammed by many critics about their low-density approach to housing design. The later New Towns tried to learn from their mistakes and responded to adaptations in society as well as the rising numbers of cars.

Earlier this year, a group of 17 MArch year 5 students took a research method module which looked at 4 different case studies either in the second or third generation, these included Skelmersdale, Redditch, Telford and Warrington. This research involved the primary data collection from archives, private collections, online sources and libraries to create a case study document. The teams then produced a poster and model to present the overall findings of the town. Oral history interviews were also undergone to analyse the towns from different perspectives, either from a residential or design point of view. These case studies will be displayed at the exhibition along with other material made during the events week. We look forward to seeing the spacial design layouts to present this amazing work.
Posted 9 Mar 2020 12:43

In February, we visited The Modernist gallery to gain an understanding of the space which will host our exhibition in May. We took plenty of photos to understand its spacial qualities and used the exhibition already on display as a reference for potential arrangement opportunities. We met with Jack Hale and other members of the gallery to discuss key dates within the two week period of events. These key dates included the set up, duration and dismantling of the display, as well as the official opening evening which will be announced in a later blog post. Keep you posted!
Posted 10 Mar 2020 15:16

2020 brought the start of a new decade, with it came many possibilities to the environmental and sociological future of our towns and cities across the country. In 2007 Gordon Brown announced the designation of eco-towns and in 2019 Theresa May supported the funding for new Garden towns to be built across the UK to tackle the current housing crisis. The last 20 years of town planning across the country has shown that the profession and demand is still very much alive. As we enter this new decade it approaches 60 years of community life since the first post-war New Towns were designated, it is during this time that we can learn from the mistakes of the past with the design of these new villages of the future.

By exhibiting the incredible case study primary research that the 5th years have undergone earlier this year, not only do we celebrate the work, we can also share the information collected with the wider public. We can bring light to what design can enhance a community and what can hinder it. We can not close our eyes to its history and start afresh, it is this past that will drive the approaches of the future.
Posted 10 Mar 2020 17:58
Millions of people across the UK now live in New Towns thanks to cross country planning after the second world war however, many are unaware of this local history. This event will allow the public to learn about this legacy in an engaging yet graphically inspiring exhibition. It is a chance for students to curate a live project whilst the public can engage in the work in which students are producing at Manchester School of Architecture. It is crucial that the audience will leave the exhibition feeling encouraged that the future of their cities are moving forward by the education of the past.
Posted 10 Mar 2020 20:29

At the start of this university year Laura and Luca ran the MArch year 5 module researching into Port-war New Towns. They are both experienced and very interested in the topic and helped the students understand their case study through primary research and exploration. They are now coordinating with our team to help us organise this exhibition in May. They both have experience in research and exhibition composition, organising displays of other modules they have ran throughout the years.

Dr Laura Council

Laura is experienced in practice, teaching and research. She is primarily concerned with the implications of policy and regulation for architectural and urban form. From this interest, Laura's areas of research, which span both historical and contemporary domains, has been published in books, journals, reports and conference papers. Some of these include 'Speculating Urban Futures through Architectural Design Methodology’ and 'Policy Strategies + Design Processes: Competing Logics?'

Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr

Luca’s research and publication portfolio is impressive. Her cross-disciplinary interest in the theory and history of urban open space design derives from her education in a variety of subjects. Her publication lists include titles such as “The Birth of the Theory of Urban Green Systems in Britain and Hungary. Correspondence between Thomas H. Mawson and Béla Rerrich concerning Urban Design Principles” and “Urban landscape approaches for a de-industrialised town: City beautiful and modernist restructure in the case study of Bolton, Manchester”
Posted 16 Mar 2020 16:35

The first of the four case studies to be designated was Skelmersdale in October 1961 to help alleviate the population struggles in North Merseyside. It is situated just eleven miles north-east of Liverpool, a masterplan for 4030 acres and a population of 80,000 residents was designed by architect Hugh Wilson which was dominated by residential land use which rejected the neighbourhood style blocks used in the earlier New Towns. The location of Skelmersdale was specifically chosen due to it possession of nearby train-stations, connections to the M6 and close proximity to Liverpool and further afield for economic expansion. The town included a swimming pool, cinema, sports hall, colleges and many more community based facilities. Additionally, the idea of the ‘high street’ during the 70s was dying and so the large Concourse shopping centre was built in 1971 surrounded by large spans of greenery. However, 20 years after its designation, the town was never completed to its original design and the population only peaked at 40,000. Still to this day the New Town is in dire need of some funding to revitalise its community.

This case study was undertaken by Joe Copley, Hayden Webster, Liam Costain and Lucy Woodward. Their document was titled : “A case study to assess the growth predictions of Skelmersdale and whether these affected its long term sustainability”
Posted 16 Mar 2020 22:38


WHO? Richard Brook
WHEN? 28.04.20
WHAT? New Towns Research Talk

We are delighted to confirm that Richard Brook will be joining us on the 28th April to talk to us regarding his expertise in new towns, his work on post-war Manchester and other exhibitions.

Richard Brook, Registered Architect, leads architecture research at Manchester School of Architecture. His personal research interests cover:
-British Modern Architecture
- Mapping
- Functionalism
- Utilitarianism
- Brutalism
-Industrial Architecture

…And many others! His links to both historical and contemporary research means he is well equipped in guiding us through what it means to be a “new town”. His expertise will be invaluable to all involved in the NEWTOPIA project - we will all be able to learn something to enhance our exhibition!

Prior to this post, we introduced one of our collaborators: THE MODERNIST. Richard himself has actually worked alongside the Modernist in the past to produce a series of archival photobooks. These books, housed in the Visual Resources Centre, document and display what the everyday has to reveal about the society across multiple towns.

To take a look at his series of photobooks you can contact:
Jeremy Parrett
Archivist, Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections

For more information on Richard, and for a sneak peak at some of his past work, follow this link:

Or to take a look at his work alongside Martin Dodge into Post-war infrastructures of Manchester, follow this link:

Posted 17 Mar 2020 10:08

In January the Newtopia team met in at All Saints Library to discuss the session plan, risk assessment and poster design. Part of the session planning process included organising the weeks of the Events 2020 into two parts: one week exhibition design competition and the other week
assembly and curation of the exhibit. The outputs that we produce, such as posters, audio/visual content and booklets to promote the event, are opportunities to learn and build on graphic skills such as (but not limited to):

- InDesign
- Illustrator
- Photoshop
- Premiere Pro
- Book Binding (with an induction at MMU)
- Poster Printing
- Graphic Design

All of these skills will come with support through workshops, inductions, lectures and, of course, practice!
Posted 17 Mar 2020 13:26


WHO? Jack Hale and Eddy Rhead
WHEN? 30.04.20
WHAT? Crit style reviews of our initial exhibition proposals.

The key focus of the NEWTOPIA project is the design of the exhibition. What will the spacial layout be? How will visitors interact with the work? How will visitors move through the space? Is the work well represented?

There are many questions that need resolving in order to create an effective and seamless exhibition. In order to ensure we fulfil this criteria, we are enthused to announce JACK HALE and EDDY RHEAD will be joining us to offer invaluable feedback on our exhibition proposals.


Jack and Eddy are The Modernist Society founders, and editors of The Modernist Magazine- so who better to help!
From years working in the industry, both are extremely knowledgable in everything from art to architecture and all the elements in-between. They have themselves organised many exhibitions at The Modernist, interacting with many artists and designers along the way.

We have already met with them to discuss this and their enthusiasm and spirit has fuelled us to start designing!

Want to find out more about Jack and Eddy? Follow this link to a great article:
Posted 18 Mar 2020 10:01

As architecture students, and promising future architects, we need more skills than are required to simply design a building. The career is multifaceted, we need to know how to; connect with clients, build work relationships at ease, articulate ideas, work effectively in teams, and many other attributes. Throughout EVENTS 20 we are looking at curating these skills and many others.

The Newtopia exhibition provides us with the perfect opportunity to use the diverse skills we have all learnt this far at University as a foundation to branch out into other crafts. Here are some of the alternate skills we will be looking at:

-Exhibition Curation
-Graphic Design
-Scaled Drawing
-Binding and Printing
-Audio Editing
-Space Planning
-Real life Design & Assemble

We are looking forward to hosting exciting guests that range from MSA Alumni, to field specialists who are enthusiastic about sharing their expertise to the benefit of the Newtopia project.

We will be releasing the names and information of our special guests on the coming posts, so keep an eye out!
Posted 18 Mar 2020 10:19

The second of the four case studies to be designated was Redditch in April 1964 to help alleviate the overcrowding in the West Midlands. It was already a small market town situated just fourteen miles south of Birmingham. Its masterplan was the first with emphasis on public transport rather than the use of the private car for a population of 70,000 residents across 2,914 hectares of designated land. Designed by both Hugh Wilson and Lewis Womsersley, with Michael Brown as its landscape architect. The design aimed to enable residents to work in the town; provide social and commercial facilities; integrate existing and proposed development; provide open space for recreation and amenity; and develop to a high standard of layout and design. Redditch was built on poor quality agricultural land and within the catchment area of the River Arrow dating back to 1384. Today, the New Town accounts for 50% of the borough area and 93% of its population.

This case study was undertaken by Koh Sung Jie, Silvio Lussana, Sophie Chappel and Szymon Milczarek. Their document was titled : “A short case study to assess the conventional and unconventional aspects of development in Redditch”
Posted 18 Mar 2020 17:15

An exhibition at the Holden art gallery on the 22nd to the 27th of January showcased all the 5th years research methods outputs. This allowed us to experiment with the curation and spatial layout of an exhibition space prior to the events. The Polaroid displays the four case studies and models that will be exhibited at The Modernist Gallery during for the event.
Posted 18 Mar 2020 21:37


WHO? Sam Heitzman
WHEN? 04.05.20
WHAT? A/V Workshop

We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting an A/V Workshop on the 4th May to learn all about how to use Adobe Premiere Pro for editing audio and visual content. Sam Heitzman, a technical officer at MMU, will be able to guide us through the best tips & tricks to make our work stand out!

This workshop will give us the tools to use Premiere Pro, a programme that is hands-on and gives us the freedom to create unique transitions, text and titles. Sam's expertise will be invaluable to those interested in curating the audio/visual aspect of the NEWTOPIA project!

This workshop will be one out of a series all focused on enhancing our design skills in different fields, whether through platforms such as InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop or Premiere Pro. Look out for future posts about these workshops!

The A/V team is located on the 1st floor of Chatham Building at MMU.
Posted 19 Mar 2020 16:05

The third of the four case studies to be designated was Warrington in April 1968 to help relieve the overcrowding in Manchester and to revitalise industrial areas, yet it soon became a natural growth point for the North West of England. It evolved from a medium sized industrial town, just 16 miles south west of Manchester, but soon became a major hub for national and international companies working across the region. The intended population was 210,000 from its already large population of 124,000 at its time of designation, this was to be deployed across 7,535 hectares of land. The motive of the Warrington New Town Development Corporation was to ensure that public consultation was at the forefront of design and sought to cater for the booming car owning population of the time. As well as the development, it was essential that Warrington should retain its historic character, something that it relied on economically. The outline plan set out by the corporation aimed to connect the towns residence and businesses together to help add to the quality of the design.

This case study was undertaken by Aifa Binti Muthuraman, Jack Carter, Alexander Hughes and Cezara Misca. Their document was titled : “A short case study to assess the housing and landscape predictions of Oakwood, Warrington”
Posted 19 Mar 2020 19:48

Sarah Hardacre is a renowned artist who lives and works in Manchester and exhibits her work internationally. Her work is held in major public collections as she presents a series of collages and prints that use architectural photographs from local historical archives. Her work regularly features modular forms, brutalist blocks and a female figure that contrasts with the dominance of male architecture.

As a team we were fascinated by Hardacre’s work, but found further inspiration in the exhibition of her artwork. We found it useful to see how a portfolio of work is organised within a space to encourage a full range of movement and circulation around a gallery space. This is something that we have taken away from our visit and would like to implement in our group event.

For more information on Sarah Hardacre's exhibition please follow the link:
Posted 20 Mar 2020 21:17


WHO? Victoria Howarth & Bren O’Callaghan
WHEN? 29.05.20
WHAT? Gallery Tour

We are excited to announce that will be visiting Home Galleries in Manchester where we will be taken on a guided tour by Victoria Howarth and Bren O’Callaghan. We will have the opportunity to get an insight into three key gallery spaces including the Granada Gallery and Inspire Gallery alongside a backstage pass for a workshop on how to market and create a professional exhibition.

WHY HOME? Home have a great reputations for exhibitions! They also have a long history working with MMU enriching the students culture and history. To find out more about Home Galleries and what’s on, follow the link:
Posted 23 Mar 2020 01:03

The last of the four case studies to be designated was Telford in November 1968, which was originally designated as Dawley in 1963. As well as accommodating overspill from other congested cities, it was intended to regenerate the waning East Shropshire coalfield area. Just 22 miles north west of Birmingham, conservation and tourism played an important role in its development as the area had lots of rich historical advantages to offer. The most famous of which being Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. The intended population was 168,000 from 70,000 at its time of designation, this was to be deployed across 3,683 hectares of land. The masterplan aimed for a balance between industrial and residential development, which utilised a large amount of despoiled and contaminated land, formerly used by extractive industries. The Development Corporation wanted to integrate the market town of Wellington and a number of former townships with new, low-density, single-use development areas, linked by an extensive road network enabling congestion-free car travel. Now, Telford is one of the 64 largest urban centres in the UK which has expanded over the years through several urban extensions.

This case study was undertaken by Mona Tamaru, Motunrayo Soyannwo, Sally Lofthouse, Yeside Sobowale and Xinbo Wang . Their document was titled : “A case study to assess the development and success of Telford”
Posted 23 Mar 2020 01:52

SAVE THE DATE: 4th of May

WHO? Malcolm Garrett
WHEN? 04.05.20
WHAT? Graphic Design Workshop

We are delighted to confirm that Malcolm Garrett will be joining us on the 4th of May to talk to us about graphic design and what tips, tricks and advice he can share with us for the layout of posters, leaflets and booklets for the exhibition. His expertise will be invaluable to all involved in the NEWTOPIA project.

Malcolm Garrett, creative director of the design group Images&Co, has a wide spectrum of graphic design expertise but especially in interaction and interface design. He studied graphic design at Manchester Polytechnic in the 70’s, where he established a career rooted in Manchester music and culture – from his record sleeves for Buzzocks and Magazine to the identity of Manchester’s home of digital content The Sharp Project. He is an Ambassador for Manchester School of Art, and co-founder of Design Manchester.

In 2000 he became the first interaction designer appointed by Royal Designer and was elected Master of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry from 2013-15. In 2015 he was one of the first ten designers inducted into the Design Week Hall of Fame, and in 2016 was names one of 50 Creative Leaders by Creative Review.

To take a sneak peek at his graphic design work, music, audio, video, writings and social media, please follow the link below:

Or take a look at his innovative consultancy and design practice focused on culture and identity in cities, organisations and public environments, please follow the link below:
Posted 23 Mar 2020 13:11

In 1898, an idealist called Ebenezer Howard published ‘To-morrow: a Peaceful Path to Real Reform’ which explained a socio-economic theory which harmonised the advantages from living in both the town and country, born from a time where rapid industrialisation was causing the overcrowding and pollutant of cities. This book was the birth of the Garden City. To accompany it, he drew a series of diagrams to visually explain this revolutionary concept, the most famous of these being no.1 ’The Three Magnets’.

From here, the diagrams became so significant in the field as it was a means of communication, the diagram in practice then was used to illustrate essential public information with clear legibility and was fundamental in the planning of the post-war New Towns. They were used from concept all the way through to detailed design, illustrating ideas, techniques and options through colourful graphic illustrations.

It is through the diagram that the case studies within this project were explored, taking inspiration from those towns. The diagrams used in this work will be the main focal point of the gallery along with the posters and models created. They are colourful and visually appealing, allowing the audience to understand the findings from these investigations.
Posted 23 Mar 2020 17:10

In January the team visited the Modernist, located on Port Street in the Northern Quarter. We were able to get an initial plan of the space and even noticed that an outdoor courtyard could be used for the official event!

The front of the Modernist is both a shop selling their own products and books, as well as exhibition space along the walls and even some of the tables. Towards the back of the Modernist is an exhibition space with three blank walls and space for a television. What's exciting about the Modernist was that it didn't have a vast amount of wall space which would mean that our design would have to think about how visitors and viewers would experience the different themes and ideas which we are presenting.

Though there is an upstairs office and lounge area, we discussed accessibility and decided that the lower level had enough room for all of our models, posters and brochures. All in all, it's the perfect backdrop to some captivating graphics and intricate models!
Posted 23 Mar 2020 22:26

The overall objective of this event is to curate an exhibition of the work produced by the 5th year research method module on four post-war New Town case studies. However, within this event other outputs are needed to either be displayed within or to market the exhibition. To undertake these tasks, various workshops and guest speakers have volunteered their time to help develop certain creative skills.

POSTERS - Graphically pleasing posters to present the findings of the research, these do not have to follow a certain format yet all have to look consistently pleasing together.

AUDIO EDITING - Included in the exhibition will be clippings from interviews of residents or designers from the new towns conducted earlier in the year. This will develop students understanding of sound installations in a space.

LEAFLETS - These will advertise the opening evening and duration of the exhibition. These will be handed out to the public during the event and published online.

BROCHURE - This final publication will be a take away and document for reflection even after the exhibition has been dismantled. It will summarise all the case studies and work undergone during the event.
Posted 24 Mar 2020 02:49

The digital programmes we would be using fall into three categories: Adobe graphic design applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, Adobe video-editing application Premiere Pro and 3D modelling software such as SketchUp and AutoCAD. These will be the essential tools that we will need to curate the exhibition space and create some exciting graphics!

Part of the Newtopia session plan includes workshops in order to improve our graphic design skills, become inducted into workshop spaces such as the printing room and learn about audio and visual editing software. These workshops will support and inspire everyone and include guest visitors mentioned in previous blog posts.
Posted 24 Mar 2020 10:21
You are invited!

Invitation to the Newtopia event on the 7th of may 2020 6 - 8pm.

All welcome and free entry, just remember to grab a ticket from Eventbrine closer to the date!

Drinks and nibbles provided, we cant wait to see you there!
Posted 30 Mar 2020 20:56

We are saddened that we have to end the NEWTOPIA project prior to the exhibition in light of the national requirements due to Covid-19.

Throughout Events 20 we have been overwhelmed with the generosity of time and spirit our collaborators and special guests have been willing to donate. We hope that these connections continue to develop in the future, and that our posts will inspire you to take a deeper look into the work of the guests we had planned.

The social value embedded within the design, evolution and execution of new towns holds a fundamental role in the function of our country; and it has been a pleasure introducing you to the case studies that we were planning to display to the public. We are saddened that the people who live in the towns of the case studies, who contributed so willingly to the research, will no longer be able to visit the exhibition, but are reassured that their representation still exists within the case studies themselves.

We have thoroughly enjoyed working as a group together for the first time; coordinating our first student lead live project.
Although we have not had the chance to improve our skillset through the workshops and talks we had organised, we have enjoyed building our organisational, planning and management skills through the preparation and outreach work we have conducted over the previous months.

Thank you to all the staff, students, and collaborating bodies who worked together over the past few months.

Posted 30 Mar 2020 22:54