The experiences of revellers who would attend acid house raves in Blackburn in the late eighties make up an enthralling archive.

The Flashback project was the work of artist Jamie Holman and producer Alex Zawadski and was the final part of the British Textile Biennial in 2019. 

The archive covers the period from the first parties in 1989 to 1991 when there was crackdown. It contains more than seven hours of oral histories, exclusive photographs and flyers in the model of the short films of Mitchell and Kenyon which created a time capsule of 1890s Northern England. 

The Flashback website says: “As a decade of decadence ended, and the 1980s limped towards the finish line; in post-industrial Blackburn, a generation of disenfranchised and discarded young people were left with the greatest hangover of all.

“Unemployment, empty mills, football hooliganism and racial segregation were the hallmarks of many Northern towns. But Blackburn hit back.

"From the late 80s to the early 90s an underground movement emerged steadily but rapidly until its sudden crash and burn in 1991, with a single manifesto; Come together….and dance.

“Breaking and entering into the empty mills and factory spaces, Blackburn’s youth illegally gathered in numbers that are reported to have reached 10,000 and beyond; to find the party, get in the party and not let the police stop the party.

"Throw in some class A drugs and an emerging music style called Acid House, and you have the story of one of Blackburn’s greatest working class revolutions, interchangeably known as Acid House, Raves or most commonly to the locals; ‘The Parties.’

Lancashire Telegraph: The experiences of revellers who would attend acid house raves in Blackburn in the late eighties

The archive says 10,000 people were a part of Blackburn’s Acid House era and the project invited ‘ravers, DJs, the organisers, the police and politicians to tell their story’. 

Uncultured Creatives extended this research in collaboration with Rough Trade Books and designer Craig Oldham, through a publication that was released during the 2021 British Textile Biennial. 

The British Textile Biennial said it invited writers to respond to the Flashback archive. The publication also features a collaboration with design studio ‘Dorothy’ which produced a limited edition print mapping the location of Blackburn parties.

Most recently, artist Jamie Holman’s show at The Second Act, ‘24 Hands’ was an offshoot of the research conducted during this time.

Some of the photographs used as references for the painted horses in this show were taken by a police photographer who was interviewed as part of the Flashback archive.

You can view all the videos and images at