Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Have you ever visited an exhibition that also offers introductory wrestling workshops? If not, that’s all the more reason to head over to Site Gallery in Sheffield where Welsh artist Phoebe Davies’ first solo exhibition, Points of Rupture, explores how contact sports such as boxing and rugby can serve as sites of compassion, tenderness, touch and connection.

Over in Leeds, The High Dam at The Tetley explores the sense of ‘inherited nostalgia’ artist Emii Alrai feels for a place she has never visited before, as a result of growing up in Scotland as part of an Iraqi family. The show features a series of ‘invented artefacts’ of the Middle East presented in a display vessel based on the ‘demon lures’ used in Ancient Akkadian gravesites to trap and distract demons from pillaging graves, and spans outward into an incisive critique of western appropriation of cultural objects, artefact and language.

Another strong female solo show also opens at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. Amy Romer’s photographic series The Dark Figure* confronts visitors with the pervasive though often overlooked presence of modern slavery in the UK, revealing the issue to extend far beyond nail bars, carwash forecourts and factory floors, into residential settings and potentially even neighbouring homes.

Back in Manchester, Other Transmissions: Conversations with Outsider Art at the Whitworth explores the theme of ‘Outsider Art’ from the perspective of six learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists, raising a series of thought-provoking questions around labeling, categorisation and the power dynamics of the art world. And lastly, Mark Making at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre offers a focused look at one of the most primary and universal building blocks of visual art, drawing upon example from around the world and opening up fascinating new perspectives on humanity’s innate drive to leave its mark.

Here are our picks

More in Exhibitions

Visual Arts Until 30 September 2020, FREE

Manchester Art Gallery Highlights Tour

Take a tour around select artworks from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection. Lead by different guides every day, each tour is personal to their taste. Tours start at 2 pm from Thursday to Sunday.

Holly Hendry, Cenotaph, 2018. Liverpool Biennial Touring Programme 2019
Exhibitions Until 3 May 2020, FREE

Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour

Whether Liverpool Biennial 2018 passed you by or you diligently ticked-off every last one of its multiple offerings (if so; bravo), the Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour seems unlikely to disappoint.

Exhibitions Until 15 May 2020, FREE

Poulsen Arc Dream Radio at Storyhouse in Chester

What does it mean to be transported into another person’s memories? Step into a new digital art commission at Storyhouse in Chester to find out.

Exhibitions Until 20 April 2020, FREE

Louise Giovanelli at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery prepares to present a series of new paintings by artist Louise Giovanelli, alongside rarely-seen early Renaissance panel paintings.

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley, Liverpool Biennial 2019 touring programme
Exhibitions Until 3 May 2020, FREE

Holly Hendry / Taus Makhacheva at The Tetley

As part of the Liverpool Biennial touring programme, The Tetley is hosting works by artists Holly Hendry and Taus Makhacheva.

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields
Exhibitions Until 20 July 2020, FREE

Maddi Nicholson: a place lived at Hardman Square in Spinningfields

‘a place lived’ by Maddi Nicholson is a new public artwork that delves into the near-forgotten history of Manchester’s thriving financial district.

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth
Exhibitions Until 5 July 2020, FREE

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth

Unreformed: Wallpaper and Design Diversity at the Whitworth examines the powerful the voices of the Design Reform movement.

Animalesque / Art Across Species and Beings at Baltic, Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 19 April 2020, FREE

Animalesque / Art Across Species and Beings at BALTIC, Gateshead

‘Animalesque / Art Across Species and Beings’ at BALTIC in Gateshead invites visitors to rethink the human position in the world.

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives – exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 14 December 2021, FREE

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives at Manchester Art Gallery

Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.

Culture Guides


Cinemas might be closed but independent venues and distributors need any help they can get. We look at some films you can stream and places to donate.

The elves and the shoemaker. Two green puppets with a male and female actor either side of them.


Need some inspiration for fun and creative family days out? Look no further than our top picks for families across Manchester and the north.

Carcanet exhibition: Carcanet poets Michael Schmidt and Michael Symmons Roberts.


News of books just out and books worth revisiting, even if you can’t get to the events yourself. Plus a fabulous new exhibition about independent publisher Carcanet, on for the next six months…


Discover the best live music coming up in Manchester and the north this spring and, dare we say it, summer!

Theatre in Manchester


Bringing opera, dance, fierce experimental performance and new writing, there’s much to enjoy in our guide to the best theatre in Manchester and the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s time to find the best restaurants for the weeks ahead. Here’s our guide to the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Expect thrills, informative discussion, politically charged tours and wobbly towns in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.

Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.

Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.

Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.