Curator’s Tour: Grayson’s Art Club

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor
Manchester Art Gallery

4 April — 30 June 2021 Entrance is free — Visit now

Our galleries and museums may not be allowed to open their doors just yet, but for those craving a cultural hit, curators have stepped up and become more hands on with bringing their exhibits to the public. One recent and particularly enjoyable example of a curator’s tour is Manchester Art Gallery’s look at the personal, wonderful and collaborational collection in Grayson’s Art Club.

Grayson Perry, along with his wife Phillipa, has been championing the power of flexing that creative muscle

The sense of release, space for self expression and playfulness of making art is a perfect antidote to the lockdown blues. In the highly successful Channel 4 series Grayson Perry, along with his wife Phillipa, has been championing the power of flexing that creative muscle, regardless of your skill level and experience. In his weekly shows, celebrity guests and members of the public submitted works based on a poignant theme, a handful of these personal and thoughtful pieces were then selected to be part of a now touring exhibition.

We were gutted to find out that this inspiring collection of works, that perfectly sums up a shared experience, are on display at manchester art gallery at the same time as we are yet again, in the midst of a full lockdown. It does mean that the show has thankfully made a second series, but for those who were eagerly awaiting the chance to see these pieces in the flesh, we’ll have to wait till later in the year. However, Natasha Howes and Fiona Corridan, two of Manchester Art Gallery’s excellent curators, have produced a video tour of the pieces, which can be found on the Manchester Art Gallery Youtube channel.

Fiona and Natasha focus on the works which weren’t as heavily featured in the T.V. show. The curator’s tour gives you an insight into the technique and stories of pieces that go beyond the shallowness of zoom interviews. Each piece has such a strong sense of personal lived experience and the curation manages to sum up the breadth of british society, deftly expressing how every person has had a totally unique experience of the past year.

Manchester Art Gallery has a strong belief that art is part of a healthy society and it’s the responsibility of institutions to encourage anybody and everybody to bring the benefit of art into their lives. Throughout the tour, both curators explain how the materials in the pieces have been used and acquired, usually from household items or found objects, it makes art feel very accessible. The Gallery has also set up their own art club, where you can submit works for an online gallery. Check out the website for weekly themes and how to submit.

4 April — 30 June 2021 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Curator’s Tour: Grayson’s Art Club

Fairfield Social Club

Launching in spring 2024, Fairfield Social Club is a multi-purpose site next to Angel Meadows Park in the Green Quarter.

The Coro

Nestled in the heart of Ulverston, a rural market town on the fringes of the Lake District, stands The Coro —an esteemed historic hub for arts, culture, and entertainment

Sam Read Bookseller

Award-winning small bookshop in the Lake District. Est. by Sam Read in 1887. Run by Will Smith and Polly Atkin.


Capri serves up homely, family-style Italian food in North Yorkshire.

Manchester Wine Tours

Manchester Wine Tours is a relaxed, fun wine tour, taking in four or five venues across three hours, plus six high-quality glasses of wine.

Juno Books

Friendly local queer and intersectional feminist bookshop in Sheffield. Visit for interesting fiction and non fiction books.

The Dusty Miller

Family friendly pub situated in the beautiful village of Mytholmroyd.

What's on: Activity

Eat The City – Scranchester Tours

Satisfy your hunger for knowledge as well as lunch with Scranchester’s food tours of the city centre. You may discover a new favourite hidden gem or learn a bit more about the cultural or historical significance of the food you eat all the time.

from £60
DJ Gym at Hatch

Learn some DJ and production skills with DJ Gym Manchester, based in the culturally infused surrounds of Hatch.

from £269
life drawing
Life Drawing Manchester

Whether you have never put pencil to paper or have been honing your artistic skills for years, Bee Creative studio runs life drawing sessions for people of all abilities.

from £10
vegan super club
Supper Club at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School

For those eager to expand their Vegan culinary repertoire the Vegetarian Society Cookery School’s new Vegan Supper Club is a must. With easy to follow instructions from expert tutors you can create sumptuous vegan meals which are then enjoyed as a group.

from £50
Sí Manchester Daily Tour

Sí Manchester’s daily tour is a brilliant way to get an overview of the city with tours running in both English and Spanish.

free entry
Old Dock Tours, Liverpool

The Old Dock tour is a treat for younger and older visitors alike, fans of Liverpool’s maritime past, and anybody curious about local history.

£8.50 with concessions
ActivityCity Centre
Derbyshire Bird Tours

Join Stewart and Derbyshire Bird Tours for a calm, friendly and relaxing experience getting close to nature.

from £20.00

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Spotlighting global artists who all, in one way or another, break the mould, we preview the best gigs happening this side of Christmas and beyond.