Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Top of our pick of exhibitions this month has to be Christina Quarles at The Hepworth Wakefield. The LA-based artist’s first solo presentation outside of America is well overdue given the richness of her bold and vibrantly coloured, post-Surrealist acrylic paintings – and the level of excitement surrounding them. Created in response to “the experience of living in a body rather than looking at a body” (Quarles), they tap into the complex, often messy and unfixed nature of identity in opposition to Western society’s still predominantly heteronormative ideas. The show runs alongside the gallery’s other major autumn/winter exhibition of 2019, Alan Davie & David Hockney: Early Works, making a trip over to Wakefield obligatory.

Back in Manchester, we’re looking forward to an exhibition at the city’s first public contemporary visual art gallery, 35 years after it was established. No Particular Place to Go? at Castlefield Gallery will feature work by 15 sculptors ranging from art historical giants, such as Sir Anthony Caro (Castlefield’s ‘Artist Patron’ until he passed in 2013), through to locally-based early and mid-career artists, like Nicola Ellis and James Ackerley. The show takes its point of departure from a quote by the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke in response to visiting the studio of Auguste Rodin: “His works could not wait; they had to be made. He long foresaw their homelessness” (1910).

Marking another important anniversary, British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent prepares to celebrate its 10th edition with its most ambitious programme of exhibitions, installations and events yet, featuring work by over 300 contemporary artists and spanning six unique locations. Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is also back, with a handpicked selection of over 160 designer-makers from across the UK, and Creative Tourist Cultural Calendar highlights Manchester Art Fair and The Manchester Contemporary return for three characteristically whirlwind days of modern and contemporary art from across the UK and Europe.

Here are our picks

More in Exhibitions

And Breathe... at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 16 March 2018–15 October 2019, FREE

And Breathe… at Manchester Art Gallery

Exploring the relationship between art and mindfulness And Breathe… is an exhibition of artworks from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection that explores the relationship between art, positive mental health and wellbeing.

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.

Activity 3 September 2018–2 September 2019, FREE

Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour

Take a closer look at some of the Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection while gaining a better understanding of the context in which the pieces were created. The free tours run daily from 2 pm.

Visual Arts 20 September 2018–19 September 2019, 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.

Rocket courtesy Science Museum
Exhibitions 25 September 2018–8 September 2019, FREE

Rocket Returns to the Science and Industry Museum

Make tracks for Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum. A one-in-a-lifetime chance to see Stephenson’s Rocket return to the site of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway for the first time in over 180 years.

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.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool
Exhibitions 15 March–26 August 2019, from £2

Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery

Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool present one of the blockbuster exhibitions of 2019, dedicated to the life and work of the Glaswegian artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh – father of the UK’s part in the international Art Nouveau movement.

Culture Guides


Escape to the cinema this month. We round up the best new releases, special one-off screenings and retrospectives showing near you.

Digital Dimensions at Eureka! Children playing in digital dimensions with light pillars


All the most creative experiences for your family; inside, outside and in to space! The best family things to do in Manchester and the North.

Guy Garvey


August is quiet, but the books are back in September with one-off reading events, some much-anticipated launches and the return of the Northern Lights Writers’ Conference as we gear up for Manchester Literature Festival in October.


Get ready for some massive shows in Manchester and the north this summer!

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We’re gearing up for the new theatre season – our guide this month features all the best performances happening now and over the next few weeks.

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.

comedy character

Tours and Activities

Challenge yourself to try something different this summer with our guide of Manchester based Tours and Activities. You’re bound to find something new to do in the city.