Fun & Games: Playtime, Past & Present at The Portico Library and Online

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Fun and Games The Portico Library Joseph Strutt The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England
Image courtesy of The Portico Library

Fun & Games Playtime past & present at The Portico Library, Chinatown and online, 20 November 2020–24 May 2021, free entry - Visit now

Lockdown has brought more free time and a slower pace to some people’s lives, but what do you do with this sudden unfamiliar surplus? Before the dawn of the internet, television, even the radio, and the turbo-speed of modern existence, people often turned to games as a source of entertainment. Rather than dismissing the behaviour as antiquated, belonging to another time, or the bored Sundays of childhood, could there be some value in inviting games back into our everyday?

Fun & Games, The Portico Library’s latest online and IRL exhibition, explores the origins, evolution of, and traditions surrounding games and recreation throughout the ages stretching into the present, asking what makes a game and what benefits do they bring?

Birungi Kawooya

The show features historic texts such as an Elizabethan treatise against the morally-corrupting dangers of ‘Dicing, Dancing, Plays and Interludes’, an encyclopedic inventory of ‘The Sports & Pastimes of the People of England’, and a British Victorian-era book about ‘Child-life in Japan’. It also contains a number of works by contemporary artists, including Bob Bicknell-Knight’s video game-inspired paintings, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley’s archiving of Black Trans experience through digital technologies, and Birungi Kawooya’s mixed-media collages depicting Kiganda and Hiplet dancers.

Hope Strickland

We’re particularly looking forward to watching Hope Strickland’s short film, ‘Hope Soon Come’, which forms part of the artist’s on-going project working with the elderly Caribbean community in South Manchester and touches upon the therapeutic aspect of games and their relationship with memory.

Though games have been largely relegated to the category of idle frippery in our work and productivity obsessed age, Fun & Games at The Portico offers a chance to consider their rich cultural significance and the wider importance of creating a little space for play in our lives.

Fun & Games Playtime past & present at The Portico Library, Chinatown and online

20 November 2020–24 May 2021
Free entry

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Activity Until 3 February 2023, from £30.00

Baumka Conscious Clubbing at Victoria Warehouse

Music Until 16 February 2023, from £9.50

Donna Candy at SOUP

vegan super club
Activity Until 17 February 2023, from £50

Supper Club at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School

Exhibitions Until 18 February 2023, FREE

The Confessional at HOME

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME
Festivals Until 18 February 2023,

PUSH Festival 2023 at HOME

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside
Families Until 19 February 2023, from £14.00

The Singing Mermaid at Waterside CANCELLED

Activity Until 25 February 2023, from £13

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House Tour

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts
Families Until 26 February 2023, from £3.00

Fairy Tales at Z-Arts

Activity Until 6 March 2023, from £6.00

Shake it off: Music Video Dance Class with Girl Gang

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre
Families Until 11 March 2023, from £20.00

The Lion King at the Palace Theatre

Childrens Until 18 March 2023, FREE

Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Activity Until 22 March 2023, FREE

Guided Tours at People’s History Museum