Women and Children; and Loitering Men at Manchester Art Gallery

Polly Checkland Harding
Shirley Baker, Hulme, 1965. © Shirley Baker Estate. Courtesy of the Shirley Baker Estate.

Women and Children; and Loitering Men at Manchester Art Gallery, City Centre 19 May — 28 August 2017 Entrance is free

In an interview with the Guardian in 2012, British photographer Shirley Baker recalls the urban clearances in Manchester and Salford that became the focus of her work from the 1960s onwards: “There was so much destruction: a street would be half pulled down and the remnants set on fire while people were still living in the area.” The photographs that resulted might have focused on the architectural upheaval of the time – the rubble heaps and broken buildings with coal black bricks – and some did, but Baker mainly chose to use this as a backdrop for the social aspect of what was happening, turning her lens on the people the clearances were impacting. Capturing scenes of poverty, but also resilience, Baker documented the values and experiences of working class communities in photographs that were meticulously-timed responses to spontaneous moments.

Women and Children; and Loitering Men is an exhibition of Baker’s work at Manchester Art Gallery (previously at The Photographers’ Gallery in London): organised in narrative and thematic strands, the photographs are set to a specially commissioned soundscore of noises from the streets alongside Baker’s voice from a 1922 interview, arranged by Derek Nisbet. The exhibition also includes a series of colour photographs that have never before been exhibited, having remained unprinted in Baker’s archive since they were taken in 1965; displayed in a separate gallery, the images depict children playing on a rubble heap, an elderly couple picking their way across a post-clearance landscape. They evidence Baker’s experimentation with colour married with her ambition to document “the mundane, even trivial aspects of life not being recorded by anyone else” – to stunning effect.

Women and Children; and Loitering Men at Manchester Art Gallery, City Centre 19 May — 28 August 2017 Entrance is free

What's on at Manchester Art Gallery

Where to go near Women and Children; and Loitering Men at Manchester Art Gallery

Salut Wines
Chinatown
Bar or Pub
Salut Wines

Salut wines pride themselves in offering “wider horizons beyond the safe choices.” With 42 wines by the glass and a regularly changing selection of bottles in their Enomatic wine preservation machines (or  “wine jukebox,” as they’re colloquially known), this is one of be best bars in Manchester for exploring new vintages.

St Peters Square Manchester
City Centre
St Peter’s Square

St Peter’s Square is a public space in Manchester – home to the city’s iconic library, town hall, Pankhurst statue, art gallery and famous Midland Hotel.

Manchester Central Library
Manchester
Library
Manchester Central Library

The stunning Manchester Central Library is now back open for all visitors who wish to browse the enormous collection or simply relax in this magnificent building.

Chinatown
Restaurant
Manchester Art Gallery Cafe

Summery bakes, seasonal salads and fresh light meals at Manchester Art Gallery’s in-house café, courtesy of highly-regarded Head Chef Matthew Taylor.

Chinatown
Hotel
The Alan

This high-end city-centre restaurant has an excellent afternoon tea option that more than matches up to the superb main menu.

Chinatown
Restaurant
1847

1847 Manchester is an excellent vegetarian restaurant in the centre of town.

Contemporary Six, art gallery in Manchester
City Centre
Gallery
Contemporary Six

Contemporary Six is an independent commercial art gallery in Manchester city centre, set up by Alex Reuben in 2010.

King Street Town House Hotel in Manchester
City Centre
Hotel
King Street Townhouse Hotel

Boasting Manchester’s first rooftop infinity pool, the King Street Townhouse Hotel offers visitors panoramic views across the city. And, with so much to choose from, all Manchester needs now is a little sunshine…

Manchester
Shop
Siam Smiles

Now based at the Great Northern, Siam Smiles is a food stop that’s hot on everyone’s lips.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.

Two Japanese girls lean their heads on their hands looking out of a window, bored.
Cinema in Manchester and the North

This month's film picks include 90s action flicks, contemporary Japanese independent cinema, and a festival curated by the next generation of film programmers.