Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Without banging the diversity drum, Manchester can pride itself on being a highly multicultural city. And this autumn, two major festivals give us the chance to celebrate the fact. Brainchild of the critically-acclaimed author and prize-winning peace activist, Qaisra Shahraz, MACFEST prepares to launch for the first time across multiple venues with ten-days of art, literature, music, film, food and heritage relating to the Muslim diaspora. And Asia Triennial Manchester returns for its fourth edition, shining a spotlight on artists from South Korea, Japan, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka and the UK.

Design Manchester (another of our festival favourites) is also around the corner, this year presenting a bold programme of events intended to ‘DISRUPT!’ – examining how design can be used to alter the status-quo and address some of the biggest political, social and environmental challenges facing us today.

Looking beyond the city’s borders, we’re very excited to travel to Sheffield to catch LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAYSite Gallery‘s inaugural exhibition following a three-year-long major expansion and redevelopment programme. And Liverpool, where Between You and Me and Everything Else at Walker Art Gallery offers an intriguing new angle on one of art’s most enduring genres…

Here are our picks

  • 1. MACFEST 2018 – across Manchester

    MACFEST
    Leila Aboulela, the Sudanese writer, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015. Edinburgh, Scotland. Image courtesy of MACFEST

    MACFEST 2018 at British Muslim Heritage Centre, Manchester, 17–25 November 2018, free entry - Find Out More

    The brainchild of Manchester’s resident critically-acclaimed author and prize-winning peace activist, Qaisra Shahraz; MACFEST is a new 10-day celebration of art, literature, music, film, food and heritage relating to the Muslim diaspora, which will open in venues across the city this November.

  • 2. Asia Triennial Manchester 2018 at HOME

    Asia Triennial Manchester 2018
    Koya Yamashiro

    at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 5–21 October 2018, free entry - Visit now

    Asia Triennial Manchester 2018 opens with a free evening of discussion, performances and art. Here we preview what’s in store on the night, and what else is happening at HOME throughout the city-wide festival’s two week run.

  • 3. LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery

    LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery
    Photo by Waad AlBawardi, The Hidden Life of Crystals, 2018

    LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery, City Centre, 29 September 2018–27 January 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Site Gallery in Sheffield reopens with LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY – a glittering new exhibition that responds to the ‘crystal era’ we now live in.

  • 4. Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else at Walker Art Gallery

    Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else
    Supplicant 101 2008 Milena Dragicevic. c. the artist courtesy Galerie Martin Janda Vienna

    Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else at Walker Art Gallery, City Centre, 29 September 2018–17 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Curated by Newport-born artist Leo Fitzmaurice, ‘Between You and Me Everything Else’ at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool is an invitation to approach the age-old genre of portraiture through fresh, curious eyes.

  • 5. Design Manchester 2018

    design manchester 2018
    Benji Reid - Image courtesy of Design Manchester

    Design Manchester 2018 at The Bridgewater Hall, City Centre, 11–21 October 2018 - Book now

    From street signs to ballot papers, architecture to food packaging; design plays a major, often insidious role in shaping – and altering – our lives. This year, Manchester’s annual design festival explores how the tools of its trade can be used as a force for good.

  • 6. Stability and Survival at Speke Hall

    National Trust

    Stability and Survival at Speke Hall, Liverpool, 26 September 2018–29 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    This autumn, learn about the inspiring life of Miss Adelaide Watt – an independent and powerful Victorian woman who fought the forces of modernity to preserve Speke Hall and all its treasures for generations to come.

  • 7. Site Gallery

    Site Gallery, Sheffield

    Site Gallery, 1 Brown Street, Sheffield, Yorkshire, S1 2BS - Visit now

    After a three-year long £1.7 million expansion and redevelopment project, Sheffield’s leading international contemporary art space reopens this Autumn – and everyone’s very excited to see what the new Site Gallery holds in store.

  • 8. Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall

    Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall
    Photo by Chris Egon Searle

    Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall, Liverpool, 8 September 2018–28 July 2019, free entry - Visit now

    The Bell Tree by award winning contemporary artist Serena Korda responds to England’s alternative history of fairy-tale folklore, the ancient forest at Speke Hall and the legacy of hidden rebellion that surrounds the historic Tudor home.

  • 9. SUBI 수비 at Castlefield Gallery

    URWOTUEAT, 2017 – John Powell Jones. Part of SUBI 수비 at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
    URWOTUEAT (2017) by John Powell Jones. Image courtesy of Castlefield Gallery

    Subi 수비 at Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield, 14 September–4 November 2018, free entry - Visit now

    SUBI 수비 at Castlefield Gallery explores the long process of cultural and generational exchange that underpins the art of pottery and ceramics – one of the world’s oldest crafts – as an integral part of the way that humans create and communicate the world in which we live.

  • 10. William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitworth

    William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitworth
    William Kentridge, in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh and Peter Gibson. The Refusal of Time, 2012. Film Still. 5-channel video projection, colour, sound, megaphones, breathing machines. 30 minutes. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery

    William Kentridge: Thick Time at The Whitworth, Manchester, 21 September 2018–3 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Thick Time by South African artist William Kentridge at the Whitworth should prove to be both fascinating and mind-boggling in equal measure.

  • 11. Beautiful world, where are you? around Liverpool

    Holly Hendry, Cenotaph, 2018. Image courtesy of Liverpool Biennial. Beautiful world, where are you? at Exchange Flags
    Courtesy of Liverpool Biennial

    Beautiful world, where are you? at Exchange Flags, 14 July–28 October 2018, free entry - Visit now

    Before the summer draws to a close, make sure you get out and explore Liverpool Biennial’s ever-popular programme of outdoor public art commissions and works presented in unusual spaces throughout the city.

  • 12. LS Lowry: The Art and the Artist – An introduction to LS Lowry’s life and work at Salford Museum & Art Gallery

    LS Lowry: The Art and the Artist – An introduction to LS Lowry’s life and work at Salford Museum and Art Gallery
    SMAG

    LS Lowry: The Art and the Artist at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester, 16 January 2019, from £10 - Book now

    Head to Salford Art Gallery and Museum to find out more about the fascinating life of the somewhat-reclusive, Stretford-born artist and rent collector LS Lowry.

  • 13. The Hardmans’ House

    The Hardmans' House, Liverpool

    The Hardmans’ House, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 9EX - Visit now

    We revisit one of Liverpool’s best kept secrets.

  • 14. Beautiful world, where are you? at Tate Liverpool

    Brian Jungen, Warrior 3, 2018. Beautiful world, where are you? at Tate Liverpool, Liverpool Biennial 2018

    Beautiful world, where are you? at Tate Liverpool, Waterfront, 14 July–28 October 2018, free entry - Visit now

    Part of Liverpool Biennial 2018, Beautiful world, where are you? at Tate Liverpool presents work by a group of artists predominantly originating from America, Australia and Canada, dealing with issues of indigenous identity and the often-violent legacies of colonialism.

More in Exhibitions

Annual Banner Changeover 2018, courtesy of the People's History Museum
Education 20 January 2018–6 January 2019, FREE

Annual Banner Changeover 2018 at the People’s History Museum

Explore the story of democracy through a special display of banners that were integral to the women’s suffrage movement, as well as other campaigns for representation at the People’s History Museum.

China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors. World Museum, Liverpool
Exhibitions 9 February–28 October 2018, from £5.50

China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors at World Museum Liverpool

Encounter objects from one of the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries, spanning almost 1,000 years of Chinese history, at China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors.

Exhibitions 23 February 2018–6 January 2019, FREE

Annie Swynnerton: Painting Light and Hope at Manchester Art Gallery

The first major retrospective of work by the radical Manchester artist and feminist campaigner, Annie Swynnerton, opens in nearly 100 years at Manchester Art Gallery.

Exhibitions 24 March 2018–7 April 2019, FREE

Exchanges at The Whitworth

Exchanges at The Whitworth sets art and artists together, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in opposition – always with insight and intention.

Bodies of Colour: Breaking with Stereotypes in the Wallpaper Collection at The Whitworth Art Gallery
Exhibitions 4 May 2018–19 May 2019, FREE

Bodies of Colour: Breaking with Stereotypes in the Wallpaper Collection at The Whitworth

This latest exhibition uses the Whitworth’s extensive and significant wallpaper collection to focus on how Imperial attitudes to people are reflected in wallpaper.

Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 25 May 2018–22 April 2019, FREE

Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at Manchester Art Gallery

What do public museums collect and why? Which works become highlights, and which lie forgotten in storage? Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at Manchester Art Gallery considers how public museums reflect and shape our collective imagination.

Exhibitions 2 June 2018–3 February 2019, FREE

Represent! Voices 100 Years On at People’s History Museum

As the national museum of democracy, the People’s History Museum’s headline 2018 exhibition, Represent! Voices 100 Years On, will be guided and informed by the notion of representation itself.

Liverpool Biennial and BALTIC presents: We Are Where We Are
Exhibitions 15 June–21 October 2018, FREE

Liverpool Biennial and BALTIC presents: We Are Where We Are at BALTIC 39

Part of the Great Exhibition of the North 2018, We Are Where We Are is an exhibition of new and existing works by Liverpool Biennial Associate Artists.

Exhibitions 16 June–25 November 2018, from £5.25

Fusion: Adventures in Digital Art at Eureka!

Step into a digital waterful, human-sized scanner and more in a major new exhibition of digital art created by the Lumen Prize.

Culture Guides

Tours and Activities

In this month’s top picks of Tours and Activities in Manchester, we are featuring the guides who take you into the darker underbelly of the city, as well as some of the more macabre activities.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

For this month’s eclectic theatre guide we’ve hunted out exclusive dance events, durational performance and some hair-raising Halloween hijinks.

Cinema

It’s October, and the cinemas of Manchester and the North are taking the opportunity to host all manner of spooky screenings.

Liverpool's Dream Giant Spectacular courtesy Culture Liverpool

Families

See giants in Liverpool, spaghettify yourself in a black hole at Manchester Science Festival, experience spectaculars at the Dashehra Diwali Mela in Manchester and Winter Droving in Penrith. There’s a LOT to do folks.

Writer Eley Williams.

Literature

More spoken word nights are emerging to join our favourite regulars, there are lots of launches and one-offs and workshops and conferences and even walking tours, and tickets are selling like hot cakes for Manchester Literature Festival, the Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival and Chester Literature Festival.

Music

This month’s music guide features cutting-edge jazz, joyous disco, and singular voices in rock.