However much we may think we’ve moved on from a time of straight-laced, ‘do not touch’ exhibitions and reverently silent gallery spaces, these conventions still linger on throughout the contemporary art world. As such, Material Environments at The Tetley and OPAVIVARÁ!: Utupya at Tate Liverpool both look set to offer a welcome change; inviting a fresh approach to the way we traditionally engage with and behave around art, and encouraging moments of genuine play and connection.
Castlefield Gallery’s upcoming show also departs from an overly cerebral approach to curating, instead simply presenting the work of several early career artists from Manchester and Prague, and inviting viewers to find their own points of connections using the tools of imagination and intuition.
Elsewhere, we look forward to the opening of one of our top cultural highlights of 2018; Viviane Sassen: Hot Mirror at The Hepworth, where the explosive colours, bold geometric shapes and surrealism of the Dutch artist’s work will provide a compelling combination (couple with a trip to see Chiharu Shiota: Beyond Time at the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park). And to Leeds International Festival 2018, featuring an eclectic range of exhibitions, performance, music, talks, one-off film screenings and more.
Here are our picks
Renowned fashion photographer and contemporary visual artist, Viviane Sassen’s upcoming exhibition Hot Mirror at the Hepworth promises to be one of the absolute highlights of this year’s cultural calendar.
The practical act of DIY, hands-on making is full of benefits, and rapidly becoming a growing trend. Head to The National Festival of Making in Blackburn to unlock your hidden talents and discover your untapped creative potential.
Leeds International Festival, the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation, is back for its second year, this time featuring more than 50 events and 40 speakers over 15 days.
With a mouthful of a title, Castlefield Gallery’s upcoming exhibition – Oh, it is easy to be clever if one does not know all these questions – initiates a conversation between early career artists in Manchester and Prague.
Part of Leeds International Festival 2018, Digital Natives is a unique exploration into the way in which indigenous communities in north east Brazil have been using digital technology to fight prejudice, lobby for rights, increase cultural visibility and provide a means of creative expression.
Helen Sharman CMG OBE shares her experiences of being the first Briton to travel into space, aged 27, and Bas Lansdorp sets out Mars Ones’ plans to settle the first human colony on Mars in 2032. Part of ‘Astronaut wanted, no experience necessary’ at Leeds International Festival 2018.
Liverpool Biennial 2018, 14 July–28 October 2018, free entry - Find Out More
The 10th edition of the UK’s largest festival of international contemporary art, Liverpool Biennial 2018 (14 July – 28 October), is drawing ever closer, and the newly announced programme suggests there’ll be little to disappoint.
Renowned for her monumental installations using thread, which completely takeover whatever space they inhabit, experience the immersive work of Japanese born artist Chiharu Shiota at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
A giant, fluorescent pink and orange striped inflatable, a shoal of Ice Age fish, and a VR encounter with the depths of the earth; six contemporary artists explore the less commonly-observed wonders of the Lake District.
Since 1989, photographer Stuart Roy Clarke has been on a mission of epic proportions. Its goal: to capture the very heart, soul, sweat and tears of British football.
Manchester drag artist group Family Gorgeous prepare to takeover Manchester Art Gallery’s Victorian spaces as part of Manchester After Hours 2018.
As part of Manchester After Hours 2018, head to CFCCA for a one-off performance and talk by Chinese artist, activist and drag king Whiskey Chow (Xiaoxuan Zhou).
Accompany Psappha orchestra on a special, after hours tour of The Whitworth and experience the gallery’s collection in a whole new light (and sound) as part Manchester After Hours 2018.
Experience the late-Victorian, neo-Gothic splendour of The John Rylands Library lit-up by a dazzling array of colours and dance inspired by the ancient Indian illuminated manuscripts featured within its hugely popular current exhibition: The Alchemy of Colour.
Part of the UK-wide ‘Lates’ festival for the culturally curious, Manchester After Hours returns this year with an exciting one-night programme of post 5pm activity spread across many of the city’s most loved venues.
Who was Manchester’s first paid female curator? What are the experiences of Manchester’s female curators today? Bertha: Seen & Heard at The Horsfall is an exhibition and event programme that aims to ‘turn up’ the conversation about Manchester’s female curators.
Inspired by Conrad Gessner’s 16th century encyclopaedia of actual and imaginary animals, Beautiful Monsters at The Portico examines the idea of the monstrous within the context of history, mythology and 21st century life.
Bankley Studios and Gallery presents That Sinking Feeling; a lyrical consideration of the relationship between ecology and psychology in the 21st century.