MayDay Rooms is archive, resource and safe haven for social movements, experimental and marginal cultures and their histories.
MayDay Rooms is an educational charity run by a small collective of part-time workers. Over four floors and a roof garden we provide a home for a wide range of open-access resources, including risograph printing facilities, a book scanner, a video editing suite, a radio station and a weekly language exchange.
We also host and programme a range of talks, events, screenings, workshops and skill-shares, all of which are free. We are open for we are open for general enquiries and social visits on Thursdays and Fridays (12-5pm) – we hosts events and meetings outside of these hours, please check our revised booking process during COVID19 and our room bookings page to book the space.
So far the collections gathered at MayDay Rooms are deliberately heterogeneous and reflect both the emergency situation of threatened histories which we try to respond to and an affinity network who offer small amounts of material. Whilst we hold several larger collections (Statewatch and Greenham Common) the majority are modest in size and cover a range of themes from counter-educational initiatives (A-Course, Schooling & Culture) to social protest (Poll Tax Rebellion, Jubilee 2000 Afrika Campaign) and counter culture (Scratch Orchestra, Queeruption).
A fair amount of material gathered relates to collective publishing endeavours (Big Flame, NEPA News) as well as activist collectives (Wages for Housework-NYC, East London Big Flame). To supplement these areas MayDay Rooms has a growing stock of dissenting ephemera – from pamphlets to journals and flyers, much of which is available in the Reading Room. To date, the collections mainly span the period from the late 1960s to the mid 1990s and so could be said to reflect the pre-web era of independent publishing and do-it-yourself culture. This latter has been made easier by the new digital media and is reflected in MDR’s own generative archive of activation footage, which is now coming into alignment with the audio-visual holdings (Newham Monitoring Project, Occupy St Paul’s) as well as the deposits of long lost but recently digitised material (Four Corners, Cinema Action).