Meet Our Founder | Paul Wright
"My journey into archiving began with a deep appreciation for photography and a desire to preserve the often overlooked aspects of British culture. Recognising the power of images to tell stories, I embarked on a mission to create an archive that goes beyond the mainstream, delving into everyday moments that encapsulate British society and culture that I recognised from my own experiences." - Paul Wright.
Photo © Richard Davis.
Paul Wright (b.1978) is a self-taught archivist, curator and the founder of British Culture Archive.
“My first job was working as a messenger boy for the Manchester Evening News/City Life Magazine at the age of 16. This was in the mid-1990s. It gave me access to the vast photography library before it all went digital. It was an incredible archive going back years and a real source of inspiration. I left the job when the opportunity to work and travel across Europe came up. When I came back to home to Manchester, I spent far too many years living for the weekend, drifting from job to job – though I was still dabbling in photography and always immersed in music, politics, and culture, which continues to strongly influence my work today.
After settling down and having children, I was working in an office job at the end of my thirties. Uninspired and unfulfilled in my work life, I needed a creative outlet. I started a personal project, digging out and searching for photography that I could resonate with, initially in and around Manchester. During this time, I discovered some incredible photography and made connections with photographers who shared their archive with me, most of which hadn’t seen the light of day. That’s when I got the idea to start a dedicated resource with a strong emphasis on giving a platform to working-class voices and predominantly unseen or overlooked work.
Since I founded BCA in 2017, we have featured and uncovered some socially important and powerful work. Our touring exhibitions have been a major success and as we continue to grow, we hope to take our exhibitions to as many places as possible, ultimately setting up a permanent home for British Culture Archive. Making photography accessible is a significant part of what BCA is about. I know from my own experiences that you can feel intimidated or out of place in a large art gallery or institution. Having world-class photography exhibited in an accessible and welcoming space is something I personally strive to do.”