Absolute top of our list of exhibition highlights from across the north this summer has to be the 10th anniversary edition of Liverpool Biennial, Beautiful world, where are you?, which opens on Saturday and runs until 28 October. The free festival is the largest of its kind in the UK and this year takes place in over 20 galleries, public spaces and unusual locations throughout the city. Explore our full guide here.
But that’s not all. We’re also incredibly excited for S1 Artspace’s official re-opening and inaugural exhibition, Love Among the Ruins, at its new home: the iconic Park Hill estate in Sheffield. (Find more Steel City gallery recommendations here.) While, back in Manchester, CFCCA has just launched Seasons for Change; a pioneering new series of exhibitions and debates designed to encourage discussion around some of the biggest environmental issues facing the world today, starting with water scarcity. And BiblioTECH, presented at Manchester’s magnificent neoclassical Portico Library, asks: with digital archives, virtual libraries and palm-sized electronic devices carrying near limitless amounts of reading material, what role will books play in the future?
Finally; we also urge you to head further up the country this summer to Newcastle and Gateshead where the Great Exhibition of the North explores the nature and essence of northern identity in 21st century Britain. Surely a somewhat timely concern in the context of increasingly devolution.
Here are our picks
Liverpool Biennial 2018, 14 July–28 October 2018, free entry - Visit now
If there’s one thing you do this summer, we strongly recommend you hop on a train and make your way over to the 10th edition of the ever-popular Liverpool Biennial – Beautiful world, where are you? – a city-wide festival of new and exciting contemporary art from around the world.
It will have escaped few people’s attention that the UK is currently in the grip of an unprecedented housing crisis. Against this backdrop, A Romance for the Near Future – S1 Artspace’s inaugural exhibition at its new Park Hill premises – couldn’t be more perfectly, nor boldly conceived.
Explore the work of four of the most celebrated figures in art photography – Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Oscar Rejlander, and Clementina Hawarden – with a major new exhibition, which arrives directly from the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Though water covers 70% of our planet and sea levels are rising, access to clean, fresh supplies is becoming a growing problem around the world. Aquatopia forms the first of a season of new exhibitions and debates at CFCCA designed to encourage discussion around some of the biggest environmental issues facing the world today.
Do you prefer to hold a Kindle in your hands or a book? BiblioTECH: From bookshelf to big data at The Portico Library uses art to examine the opportunities and challenges that arise when we adapt to new technological formats for storing and sharing information.
An 80-day celebration of art, culture, design and innovation from across the north, in what will be the largest event of its kind happening in England during 2018. We’re particularly excited about the –not one, but ten – exhibitions that will unfold throughout BALTIC.
A heady mix of science fiction, anthropology, and feminist and queer theory featuring a Neanderthal and ‘Woman on the Edge of Time’ – Semiramis by Tai Shani at The Tetley is a powerful, multi-layered experience that will leave you disorientated and invigorated in equal measure.
‘Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong’ at HOME brings together three politically charged works by the Turner-Prize nominated artist Phil Collins who returned Engels to Manchester in 2017.
The result of a five-year collaboration between father and son, Natural Selection by contemporary artist Andy Holden and ornithologist Peter Holden offers visitors to Leeds Art Gallery a fascinating journey through the lives of birds.
Art Against War at Millennium Gallery in Sheffield draws together over 100 artworks by one of Britain’s leading political artists, Peter Kennard – best known for darkly satirical depiction of Tony Blair taking a selfie in front of an oilfield explosion in Iraq.
Catch a glimpse of the creative face of tomorrow with the work of five up-and-coming young makers, currently on show at Manchester Craft & Design Centre as part of Materialise.
Don’t worry, you haven’t OD’ed on contemporary art. The dapperly dressed mole and skittish prickle of hedgehogs playing brass bells are part of YSP’s new exhibition; The Wishing Post by Etsy-celeb, Mister Finch.
Capturing a unique period of intense creativity that fundamentally shaped the course of western art history, it’s fair to say that we’re more than a tad excited for the opening of ‘A Dutch Golden Age: Painters, Places and People in the 17th Century’ at Cannon Hall in Barnsley.
A free new display made up of works by towering post-war American artists including Mark Rothko, Hedda Sterne and Andy Warhol.
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.
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.
The Whitworth presents an exhibition of work by one of Britain’s foremost sculptors, Alison Wilding, including a new piece that has never previously been publicly shown.
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.
Visit this exhibition celebrating the close relationship between art, games and play then let loose in YSP’s incredible parkland.
Exchanges at The Whitworth sets art and artists together, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in opposition – always with insight and intention.
Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves is the most recent in a series of major moving image acquisitions by The Whitworth, and was supported through Art Fund’s Moving Image Fund.
This latest exhibition uses the Whitworth’s extensive and significant wallpaper collection to focus on how Imperial attitudes to people are reflected in wallpaper.
Despite the traditional summer break of many of our favourite nights, there’s still plenty of poetry and prose to catch, from indie publisher fairs and national magazine launches to a brand-new series of relaxed lectures and an exhibition dedicated to banned books. And if you don’t like sitting still for too long, there’s even a literature trail or two to check out…