taking our culture forward

Culture Vannin 40

2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the Manx Heritage Foundation Act, which created the Manx Heritage Foundation charity that is known as Culture Vannin today. We've always been proud to support, promote and celebrate contemporary Manx culture, drawing on our cultural heritage to help shape an exciting future. Throughout the year we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary with a series of special releases, projects and events.

January sees the launch of a special 40th anniversary grants scheme, which will award an additional £40,000 in grants for larger projects in Manx culture, history, architecture, ecology, etc.

During the year, more archive films will be released, offering a window onto often secret worlds. We’ll be setting a 40 Manx things challenge, collecting 40 voices from the 1980s through oral history interviews, and launching events, projects and exciting new awards.

For those who have always been interested in learning some Manx, a four week online taster course will introduce you to the language, everyday phrases, its role in place names, and much more. The course starts on Wednesday 26th January at 1.20pm - contact our Manx Language Development Officer if you would like to sign up.

The year will be an extra-special celebration of Manx culture and all those who create, practise and enjoy it, and who have done so for decades.

 

How the Manx Heritage Foundation Act came into being

Forty years ago, Manx culture was full of excitement and energy, but was perhaps somewhat disparate – people were speaking and teaching Manx, musicians were discovering old tunes and songs in the archives, dance groups were representing the Island internationally at festivals, books were being published, and artists, writers and historians were hard at work. In many ways, though, Manx culture didn’t have a home or a central focus, and, it certainly didn’t have the support it deserved and now demanded.

Former art teacher and crafts expert, Sheila Tarr, recognised all this and more. She was well-known for her work in organising the arts and crafts displays and competition alongside Janet Craine as part of Yn Chruinnaght, doing so much to encourage young people and their families to become part of the festival. She knew first-hand what talent and dedication volunteer-driven organisations and groups displayed, and had seen the benefit of cultural centres in other countries. She felt that those involved in Manx culture deserved more support and recognition as they told the story of the Isle of Man nationally and internationally.

In July 1980, she presented a petition for redress to Tynwald, calling for a permanent centre for the Island’s art, culture, craft, language, literature, festivals, and so much more. She had a vision for a space which could be used by different cultural groups for conferences, meetings, performances, archives, and even to be used as a youth hostel. The petition received support in principle from Tynwald, a Select Committee was appointed with Clare Christian MHK as Chair, and their report recommended that the Manx Heritage Foundation be established, with the Manx Heritage Foundation Act 1982 agreed by Tynwald.

Under the name of the Manx Heritage Foundation for many decades, or the more recent trading name of Culture Vannin, the organisation has worked to support and promote Manx culture by partnering with the community, Government agencies and business in order to fulfil the objects of the founding legislation. Communication, education and accessibility are key to this remit, and development work for Manx language, Manx music and dance, and online and educational resources makes sure that is possible. The charity also supports grassroots projects through an annual grants scheme, knowing that the time, knowledge, skill and enthusiasm of those involved with Manx culture applies a multiplier effect to what are often modest awards.