Today effectively sees the end of Urbis in Manchester as the final members of the team that turned the building into a vibrant centre exploring the best in pop-culture make an exit from the giant greenhouse for the last time.
Since it opened in 2002 the building has seen its fair share of ups and downs however, while the original manifestation as "The Museum of City Life" fell foul to the burden of expectation that sank many a millennium project, the team that took the helm over the last six years made a significant impact on the cultural landscape.
Transforming the building from a static museum experience into a dynamic, democratic and convention defying space saw a team develop that deftly negotiated the fine lines between museum, gallery, community centre and educational establishment. While exhibitions covered everything from hidden spaces to hip hop, club culture to civil rights (developing a distinctive aesthetic in the process) a team of dedicated hosts ran one of the most wide ranging programmes of events and tours (now widely imitated) and the education and community programme established a new high-watermark for community engagement thanks to the ground-breaking RECLAIM programme. Even the front of house team defied gallery convention by being consistently attentive, friendly and genuinely interested in the exhibitions and events that they dutifully patrolled day in day out.
It is sad to see the last vestiges of the organisation making final bows, however the talented, energetic and ambitious people that gave the organisation its heart and soul are going on to create new spaces and experiences building on their time spent in an environment that embraced risk-taking and experimentation.
Essentially Urbis became a crucible for a broad section of young creative Manchester that has allowed the RECLAIM project to take flight on its own; established the Urbis Research Forum as part of the University of Manchester (the latest instalment of which will be available here as a podcast soon); seen team members move on to the Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery and Cornerhouse; and, of course, had a part to play in the launch of Curated Place.
So with a heavy heart it is finally time to say good-bye to Urbis and a time to start building the new creative places to play.