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Our archive

Photo of Barbican Lakeside during construction

Join us as we build an archive to tell the story of the Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama

As we begin to look ahead to our 40th anniversary in 2022, the Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama are embarking on an exciting project to build an archive to share our story.

To lead this project, we have been joined by Postdoctoral Research Fellows, Matthew Harle and Tom Overton, who will be researching, assembling and curating our new archive.

The archive will tell the stories of how the Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama buildings came about, how they work, and how artists and audiences have defined them. In the process, it will become a key collection of architecture, design and the performing arts.

If you have materials you would like to contribute to the archive, or would like to learn more about the project, you can contact our Archive team at archives@barbican.org.uk

Find out more about our history on the Barbican Blog.

About our Research Fellows

Matthew Harle is a researcher and archive curator. He completed his PhD at Birkbeck, where he is now an Honorary Research Fellow in their department of English & Humanities. Matthew has taught literature and cultural studies at various universities and museums, and in 2014 was AHRC Research Fellow at the Huntington Library, California. His book, Afterlives of Abandoned Work, will be published in 2018 for Bloomsbury.

Prior to the Barbican, Matthew worked for the BFI, and is currently editing a book on the cult Play for Today, Penda’s Fen for Strange Attractor. Alongside academia and archives, Matthew writes about contemporary culture and programmes film seasons and exhibitions around London, most recently for the BFI Southbank, Whitechapel Gallery and National Gallery.

Tom Overton catalogued the archive of the writer and artist John Berger at the British Library as part of an AHRC-funded PhD, and edited Portraits: John Berger on Artists and Landscapes: John Berger on Art for Verso Books. He is now writing Berger's biography, and then a book on archives, migration and technology, both for Allen Lane.

Tom has worked on archival digitisation projects for the British Library and British Council and curated exhibitions at the Whitechapel Gallery and Somerset House; he has been Writer-in-Residence at Jerwood Visual Arts, Research Fellow at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, and is currently a Visiting  Fellow at the Centre for Life-writing Research, King's College London. 


Building the Brutal

Photographer Peter Bloomfield was commissioned by the Barbican to document the final stages of building's construction. His beautiful images - which have never been shared with the public - capture the astonishing scale of the construction effort. 

Collection: From the Archive

Lear more about the construction and history of the Barbican Centre and Estate as we dig into our archive to reveal rarely seen photography, architectural plans, video and essays.