Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North – rejoice! If roses and chocolates aren’t your style, maybe we can interest you in an exhibition instead? There are lots of fantastic shows to choose from all around the North.

In Manchester, innovative craft is celebrated with Material Journeys, a display of graduates’ work that breaks the mould of traditional craft techniques. At HOME you’ll find Manchester Open 2024, a joyous showcase of the city’s talent where the work of budding artists under the age of 10 sits next to that of professional creatives.

Seeing Things gathers the work of nine local artists, proving that impressive art doesn’t only happen in big cities. You’ll find Dark Peak Photo Festival in Glossop, with an array of exhibitions, talks and workshops. On the topic of photography, Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery is currently home to LOOK Climate Lab 2024, an exhibition of multiple ecologically minded projects alongside a vast programme of events. 

Our top picks

Manchester Open 2024 at HOME

Manchester Open at HOME Manchester, Manchester, Until 28 April 2024, free entry - Visit now

Manchester Open is back for its 2024 edition! A wonderful showcase of local talent, creativity and artistic experimentation, it’s an unmissable event in the city’s cultural calendar.

Connection by Tinuke Fagbourn
Connection by Tinuke Fagbourn.

Material Journeys at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

Material Journeys Exhibition at Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Manchester, Until 30 March 2024, free entry - Visit now

Three graduates were chosen for the this annual display of young talent at Manchester’s key craft hub. This year, innovative use of traditional materials is what the judges were most impressed by so expect to see some impressive, novel artistry. 

Ceramic Candlestick Holder
Ashley Knight

LOOK Climate Lab 2024 at Open Eye Gallery

LOOK Climate Lab 2024 at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, Liverpool, Until 31 March 2024, free entry - Visit now

Exhibitions, talks, workshops, poetry readings, discussions – you’ll find all of this and more at this year’s edition of the LOOK Climate Lab which asks the big questions about the condition of our planet and how it can be healed.

LOOK Climate Lab 2024
Rob Battersby

Jane Jin Kaisen: ‘Halmang’ at esea contemporary

Jane Jin Kaisen: ‘Halmang’ at esea contemporary, Until 21 April 2024, free entry - Visit now

Jane Jin Kaisen explores Jeju Island off the Korean Peninsula as her birthplace and takes a closer look at its history, spirituality and the island’s female sea divers: the Jeju ‘haenyeo’.

3. Jane Jin Kaisen, 'Halmang', 2023, video still, courtesy of the artist
3. Jane Jin Kaisen, 'Halmang', 2023, video still, courtesy of the artist

Re: Loaded at The Royal Armouries Museum

Re: Loaded - Weapons of Mass Seduction at The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, Leeds, Until 30 June 2024, free entry - Visit now

Should we be making weapons beautiful? If so, why? There may be no obvious answers, but Re:Loaded at the Royal Armouries will not leave you indifferent. 

Abstract photo of a blue and platinum, diamond encrusted revolver. The camera lens used has refracted the image so it appears multiple times in the photo, slightly blurred. Taken on a dark purple background.
Royal Armouries Museum

The Lives of Artists – Babak Ganjei: Thanks For Having Me at the Bluecoat

Babak Ganjei: Thanks For Having Me at Bluecoat, Liverpool, Until 14 April 2024, free entry - Visit now

Fans of dry humour and witty one-liners will love this show by Babak Ganjei where the artist reflects on his life and career so far with his signature directness and deadpan comedy.

Babak Ganjei
Babak Ganjei

40 Years of the Future at Castlefield Gallery

40 Years of the Future at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, 20 2024–30 March 2025, free entry - Find Out More

Manchester’s beloved Castlefield Gallery is turning 40! Check out the exciting programme of events taking place throughout the year

A dynamic painting of colourful shapes arranged to form a cross
Hoyland Studio Ltd

LAND – Photographs by Matthew Conduit at Graves Gallery

LAND – Photographs by Matthew Conduit at Graves Gallery, Sheffield, Until 15 June 2024, free entry

Matthew Conduit has been returning to photograph the same post-industrial sites which have captivated him for three decades now – take a look at the large-scale results of his work at Graves Gallery’s new show.

A natural scene focusing on a dense, tall hedgerow. Photographed in high definition at close range so that the twigs and branches form a pattern. There are plastic wrappers and bags in the foreground.
© Matthew Conduit

Phlegm: Pandemic Diary at Millennium Gallery

Phlegm: Pandemic Diary at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, Until 7 July 2024, free entry - Visit now

Phlegm’s signature mural work is significantly scaled down in Pandemic Diary, where the artist uses his fantastical visions to share his experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A pen and ink drawing of a bird-like figure sitting down and hugging 3 human-like figures
Phlegm, Mother bird (Pandemic Diary series, no.66) © the artist

City of Rivers at Weston Park Museum

City of Rivers at Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, Until 3 November 2024, free entry - Visit now

Sheffield is undoubtedly a water city and this part of its identity is being highlighted in City of Rivers at Weston Park Museum, with artworks, local river finds, music and maps.

14. R Hudson, Brook Scene, Endcliffe Woods. Image © Sheffield Museums

Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery at The Whitworth

Material Power: Palestinian Embroidery at The Whitworth, Manchester, Until 7 April 2024, free entry - Visit now

Discover stories gathered in thread at the Whitworth, showcasing beautiful Palestinian textiles and celebrating exquisite local craft.

© The Whitworth, The University of Manchester. Photo: Ruth Wedgbury.

Ruby Tingle: Afterlife at The Whitaker

Ruby Tingle Afterlife at The Whitaker, Until 10 March 2024, free entry - Visit now

Ruby Tingle brings The Whitaker’s collection of taxidermy to life with a new installation alongside music, scent and works on paper – all with the artist’s signature dreamlike aesthetic.

Lewis Lafond

Jo Lathwood: Making Up at The Lowry

Jo Lathwood: Making Up at The Lowry, Manchester, Until 3 March 2024, free entry - Visit now

See Jo Lathwood hard at work at the Lowry’s new residency and exhibition which focuses on the artist’s process, materials and the importance of sustainability.

Image © Jo Lathwood. Photographer: Paul Blakemore

Yevonde: Life and Colour at Laing Art Gallery

Yevonde: Life and Colour at Laing Art Gallery, North East, Until 20 April 2024, from £7.00 - Book now

Yevonde’s colour photographs are finally getting the recognition they deserve with a new show in Newcastle that has travelled from the National Portrait Gallery, securing her place in history as a pioneer of the medium.

Mask (Rosemary Chance) by Yevonde (1938, printed 2022-3), purchased with support from the Portrait Fund, 2021 © National Portrait Gallery, London

2024 Exhibition Highlights at the Whitworth

Exhibition Highlights 2024 at The Whitworth, Manchester, Until 31 December 2024, free entry - Visit now

Mark these art dates in your diary – The Whitworth prepares for a new year of fantastic exhibitions with work from Shirley Craven, John Lyons, Ayo Akingbade and Barbara Walker.

Colourful figures painted in oil paint on cavas background
Shirley Craven for Hull Traders, Five (detail), 1966-67. Screen-printed furnishing textile. The Whitworth, the University of Manchester (T.12298.2). Photo: Michael Pollard.

Andrew Cranston: What made you stop here? at the Hepworth Wakefield

Andrew Cranston: What made you stop here? at The Hepworth Wakefield, West Yorkshire, Until 2 June 2024, from £0.00 - Book now

Andrew Cranston’s compositions blend reality and fantasy encased in layers of paint and colour in the Hepworth Wakefield’s new show, the artist’s first ever public gallery solo exhibition.

Andrew Cranston, cat and cheeseboard, 2018. © Andrew Cranston. On loan from a private collection. Courtesy of the artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh. Photo: Andy Keate

Stepping Softly on the Earth at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Stepping Softly on the Earth at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, North East, Until 14 April 2024, free entry - Visit now

Baltic’s new group exhibition probes the depths of human’s relationship with nature, Indigenous wisdom and ancestral traditions through art in its various forms. 

Naomi Rincón Gallardo, Eclipse (2023). Video HD. Photo-documentation: Claudia López Terroso

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Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

HOME Manchester
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HOME Manchester

Now back open with a packed schedule of events and things to do, HOME Manchester is one of the city’s leading hubs for arts and culture.

The Hepworth Wakefield
Wakefield
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The Hepworth Wakefield

Winner of the 2017 Art Fund Museum of the Year Award, The Hepworth in Wakefield is easily one of the leading cultural highlights of the North.

The Whitworth
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The Whitworth

This much-loved gallery-in-a-park is open for business, showcasing some of the city’s finest contemporary and historic exhibitions.

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It’s a discotheque for the senses, an incredible collection of artefacts and memorabilia, audio guides, music and stories. There are iconic costumes worn by David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Dusty Springfield, the Spice Girls and Adam Ant, and musical instruments played by some of the world’s most renowned artists from Noel Gallagher to the Sex Pistols.

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