Maureen Ward

An archaeo-vernacularist and recovering prehistorian


Maureen Ward

Born in the Irk Valleys infamous Vitriol vale in the shadow of Moston’s millscape, Maureen studied archaeology at Manchester University, worked as public programmer at the Manchester Archaeology Unit, then over the next decade or so on a series of research and field excavations from the Fens to Orkney. Returning home to study for an MA at Manchester school of Art in 2006, my research focused on the increasing collisions and collaborations between archaeological and creative practices and the impact of socially engaged art.

An incorrigible scribbler and pocket pamphleteer, she has contributed over the years for zines such as UKunst, Shrieking Violet, Belle Vue, the URBIS research forum publication series on life next to and beneath the Mancunian Way, and a collaborative exhibition and pamphlet, Dreams without Frontiers, for the Manchester City Gallery.

Her experiences in zines and pamphleteering as a means to disseminate research in a spirit of curiosity and collaboration has also led to experiments in several small scale D.I.Y print and digital publications in the field of urbanism and everyday heritagescapes. In 2009 she co-founded and edited the modernist magazine and the Manchester modernist society with jack hale. In 2012 I instigated and co-created the Manchester modernist heroines project - a printed pamphlet, a series of walks and a collaborative call out for present day heroines of the city, for the international women’s day programme of events across the city. 

Since 2016 Maureen has collaborated with the radical architectural collective, Digital Dystopia - a digital journal and collaboration between urbanists in Chile / Leuven / Zaragoza, an experimental project aiming to demystify design and town planning and find new methods of bringing different audiences, professionals and citizens together. 

At the start of the pandemic she foolishly started Shock City, a new independent zine, rootling and peering under the carpet of the Northern Powerhouse, the fastest growing city in the UK. The series is a limited edition of 100 distributed free around the city, or posted further afield for p&p.