Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Sci-fi holds radical potential as a space for reshaping the ideas of the present through the imagined and speculative futures it puts forward. For this reason, who authors those visions matters a great deal. While the genre has traditionally been dominated by white men (think H.G. Wells, Kubrick and others), there are many creative and talented women, people of colour, and trans and queer people working in the field whose perspectives have been overlooked. Top of our pick of exhibitions this month, Rewriting The Future at Site Gallery in Sheffield seeks to shine a light on some of these, presenting work by four visual artists that are redefining the genre today.

Over in Gateshead, BALTIC exhibits a new body of paintings by rising star Joy Labinjo, whose vibrant portraits of family and friends – based on images from a recently discovered photo album – offer a unique window into her personal experience of growing up as a Black, British and Nigerian woman in the UK during the 1990s and early 2000s. And in Manchester, the first solo presentation of work by recent Slade graduate Sof’ya Shpurova at Holden Gallery draws upon the artist’s Russian heritage and interest in old iconography paintings.

Peer to Peer, presented at Open Eye Gallery and within the vaulted basement of St. George’s Hall, also focuses on fresh talent, showcasing the work of 14 artists based in China and the UK deemed on the verge of major international recognition. The exhibition forms a core part of LOOK Photo Biennial, Liverpool’s biannual photography festival that works with a different exchange country each year. From China to Italy, head over to Barnsley where Cooper Gallery’s latest exhibition explores the depiction of Venice by artists from across the last few centuries, from Canaletto in the 1700s onwards. We also recommend Football is Art at National Football Museum where works by Banksy, Picasso, LS Lowry and John Cocteau reveal a new side to the game.

Here are our picks

More in Exhibitions

Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 6 July 2018–10 November 2019, FREE

Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery

Showcasing furniture, fashion, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery, Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery highlights the superb quality and creativity inherent in design from the region and features pieces from 1930 to the present day.

Holly Hendry, Cenotaph, 2018. Liverpool Biennial Touring Programme 2019
Exhibitions 18 January 2019–3 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.

A World Inside A Book courtesy Suzi Corker
Exhibitions 12 February–26 October 2019, from £6

A World Inside a Book: Gruffalo, Dragons and Other Creatures at Z-arts

The UK’s first immersive exhibition of the much-loved tales of Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. Expect enchanting forests, miniature towns and watery worlds.

Capturing Chambré Hardman – Developing History at the Hardmans' House, Liverpool
Exhibitions 13 March–26 October 2019, FREE

Developing History at the Hardmans’ House

As one of Liverpool’s lesser known gems prepares to reopen its doors for 2019, we look forward to encountering a rare series of photographs only recently discovered by chance in the cluttered darkroom of the Hardmans’ former, perfectly-preserved home.

The Reno at the Whitworth
Exhibitions 15 March 2019–1 March 2020, FREE

The Reno at the Whitworth

Award-winning playwright Linda Brogan and a group of local residents who used to attend the Reno nightclub in the 1970s and 80s prepare to occupy the Whitworth for one year. Located in Moss Side, the Reno was known as a space for young mixed-race Mancunians. This living exhibition will tell the story of the club through art and archive materials.

Exhibitions 16 March 2019–23 February 2020, FREE

A-Z of Salford’s Collections at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Discover how Victorian gentlemen protected their moustaches from tea, which monarch’s pair of stockings reside in Salford, get up close to incredible art and more.

Exhibitions 23 March 2019–1 March 2020, FREE

In A League Of Their Own at Castleford Museum

Rugby League is born and bred in West Yorkshire. From its beginnings in Huddersfield in 1895 to the Super League superstars of today, celebrate over 120 years of blood, sweat and tears.

Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest at People's History Museum
Exhibitions 23 March 2019–23 February 2020, FREE

Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest at People’s History Museum

Marking the 200-year-anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, ‘Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest’ at People’s History Museum takes visitors on a journey through the past, present and future of protest in this country.

Little Moreton Hall
Activity 3 May–3 November 2019, FREE

Summer 2019 at Little Moreton Hall

With its beautifully charming and quirky style, Little Moreton Hall offers an iconic Tudor manor house, moat, manicured knot garden and plenty of fun activities for everyone.

Culture Guides


October sees the launch of Manchester’s newest cinema, some first class new releases and plenty of Halloween fun.

Autumn at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens -with plenty of family things to do.


Check out our latest top picks of family things to do and enjoy some quality time together this autumn.

Author Jenn Ashworth, photo by Chris Thomond.


Autumn enjoys its usual bumper crop of book-related festivals – and as Manchester and Rochdale wind down, Chester Literature Festival is back for a 30th year to help get you through November.


Looking ahead to Manchester’s Autumn gig calendar, our new music guide ranges from contemporary singer-songwriters to pioneers of electronica.

Theatre in Manchester


You’ll find an eclectic fusion of dance, contemporary performance and top-notch new writing in our theatre guide this month.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Discover the best food and drink that the North has to offer in our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and beyond.

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Find alternative nights out, decadent afternoons and fun new ways to explore the city in this month’s guide of things to do in Manchester.

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink