MACFEST 2020 – across Manchester

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor
Abdullah Afzal

MACFEST 2020 at British Muslim Heritage Centre, Manchester 11 — 26 January 2020 Entrance is free

Following the huge success of its launch in 2018, the second edition of Manchester’s award-winning Muslim Arts and Culture Festival is about to take place across the city and wider north west region, with over 50 events spread across 16 days. The largely-free programme features literature, art, music, food, history, comedy, film, performance and culture, celebrating the diversity and richness of Muslim heritage in the UK. MACFEST is led by the prize-winning author and peace activist Qaisra Shahraz FRSA, who has dedicated her life to fighting Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination.

Make sure you catch the opening weekend (11-12 Jan), held at the British Muslim Heritage Centre (itself a striking, Grade II listed early Gothic Revival building) in Whalley Range. Highlights will include stand-up comedy from Tez lIyas (of Channel 4’s ‘The Tez O’Clock Show’), and a series of talks and panel discussions exploring themes such as the experiences of Muslim women, the relationship between faith and science, and the representation of Muslim people within the British media. These events will run alongside several film screenings and exhibitions over the course of the two days, plus creative workshops covering Persian carpet design, papercutting, mandala patterns, Indonesian Batik painting, calligraphy and more.

Turning to the rest of the festival, an afternoon exploring John Rylands Library’s substantial collection of Islamic miniature paintings and manuscripts with curator and archivist Elizabeth Gow makes the top of our list (16 Jan, book ahead). We’re also looking forward to a special lecture on Islamic Geometric Design delivered by artist Eric Brough at Manchester Art Gallery (18 Jan); an evening of poetry by Manchester-based writers of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Iranian and Somali backgrounds at Manchester Central Library (21 Jan); and an exploration of the mis/representation of Western and Eastern culture through The Portico Library’s ‘Voyages and Travels’ collection, led by Professor Zahia Smail Salhi (24 Jan).

Finally, head to Whitworth Art Gallery for the closing event of MACFEST 2020, featuring live music performed by artists from different Muslim communities around the world, including SOAS SILK Road Collective and the Iranian Classical Moulana Music Band (26 Jan). Altogether, the festival is intended to bring Muslim and non-Muslim communities together – and in this spirit, everybody is welcome.

MACFEST 2020 at British Muslim Heritage Centre, Manchester 11 — 26 January 2020 Entrance is free

Where to go near MACFEST 2020 – across Manchester

Manchester
Music venue
The Carlton Club

The Carlton Club is a social club with a fully licensed bar, snooker tables and dance floor in the South Manchester suburb of Whalley Range.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Hillary Step

A great little pub which is also a microbrewery. Much loved by locals, it has a great selection of beer and plays great music, with live jazz at the weekends.

Manchester
Restaurant
Thirsty Korean

The Thirsty Korean in Chorlton is a delightful restaurant. Not only serving delicious and authentic food but cultivating an authentically warm atmosphere.

Chorlton
Shop
Unicorn Grocery

An ever popular food cooperative in Chorlton who stock a wide-range of locally and ethically sourced organic, fruit, veg and fair trade products.

Chorlton
Bar or Pub
The Font Chorlton

The Font is a popular bar in Chorlton which serves up a great selection of beers and cocktails as well as an ever changing food menu.

Chorlton
Restaurant
Mary & Archie Chorlton

The Chorlton branch of Mary & Archie is a popular bar in the South Manchester suburb, with a sun-trap beer garden that’s hard to beat in this area.

CBD Manchester
Chorlton
Café or Coffee Shop
CBD Manchester

CBD Manchester is a charming cafe in the centre of Chorlton, serving up a range of food and drinks, with the added option of CBD.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Henry C

Henry C is an intimate neighbourhood bar in Chorlton, serving up superb quality drinks.

Chorlton
Shop
Barbakan Delicatessen

Barbakan Deli is an award-winning, continental bakery in Chorlton, named after the historic gateway leading into the Old Town of Kraków in Poland.

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