Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor

With autumn in full swing, we may be missing the daylight but there are plenty of fantastic exhibitions this month to indulge your senses, and even distract you from the inevitable thoughts of Christmas shopping!

Many of us know and love the work of Vincent van Gogh but have you ever had a chance to step inside his paintings? Dispel the seasonal darkness with the magical experience that is Van Gogh Alive at MediaCityUK, a multi-media immersive installation featuring the Dutch master’s most famous and lesser known work. If you fancy spending some time in a room full of sunflowers (in winter!) then this one’s for you. It’s a great option for younger audiences as well as seasoned art lovers.

In a similarly energetic vein, Mark Hearld’s exhibition Raucous Invention: The Joy of Making at Yorkshire Sculpture Park is another display that’s sure to put a smile on your face. Interested in the flora and fauna of the country, Hearld’s mischievous animal imagery is combined with an appreciation for the wonderful variety of natural forms. The artist’s colourful prints and collages seem so full of energy that they are barely contained by their frames, while the display also features textiles and ceramics.

At Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre you will find Yuen Fong Ling’s project TOWARDS MEMORIAL and his reimagining of the museum’s permanent collection in MO(NU)MENTARIES. The pieces on display were informed by the life and work of Edward Carpenter, poet and activist concerned with LGBT+ issues, who also popularised sandal-wearing with his very own design. Through his artistic exploration, Yuen Fong Ling asks whether public memorials and the desire to fight for a cause can materialise in new forms.

While the events of the past two years are not something we’d like to repeat, they’ve provided some valuable lessons that artists are quick to pick up on. Sumuyya Khader’s exhibition Always Black: Never Blue at Liverpool’s Bluecoat alludes to this time, highlighting the significance of caring for the people around you in times of difficulty and focusing on the Black lived experience and identity. If you’re visiting Liverpool this month, be sure to take a look.

Also concerned with people’s experiences throughout the pandemic is the show Class, Covid and Cumbria at Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House. Featuring a large-scale tapestry from Grayson Perry, a community-inspired textile project from Rosie Galloway-Smith and the work of two celebrated local photographers, the show is a realisation of an authentic collaboration between the artists and the residents of Cumbria.

Here are our picks

More in Exhibitions

Damien Hirst at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions Until 31 May 2023, FREE

Damien Hirst at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Experience YBA artist Damien Hirst’s towering and provocative outdoor sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

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.

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2022, FREE

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike

A collaborative project that takes inspiration from the history of the Leigh Female Reformers of 1819 and the monstrous representations of them in the media of the time.

Joana Vasconcelos exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions Until 9 January 2022, FREE

Joana Vasconcelos at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents the monumental work of celebrated Portuguese sculptor Joana Vasconcelos.

sounds of our city online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 31 December 2021,

Sounds of Our City Online Exhibition

The Sounds of Our City Online Exhibition gives you a chance to visit the current exhibition at Abbey House Museum virtually. Find out how the different musical styles and venues of Leeds interact.

What is Manchester Art Gallery?
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2023, FREE

What is Manchester Art Gallery? at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery reopens with a thought-provoking new exhibition that delves into the history of the public institution and its role within the city.

Thwaite at 30 online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 1 December 2021,

Thwaite at 30 at Thwaite Watermill

In the Thwaite at 30 online exhibition, uncover the fascinating story of Thwaite Watermill as it celebrates its 30th year as a museum.

Hardeep Sahota: Bhangra Lexicon – Online
Dance Until 1 April 2022, FREE

Hardeep Sahota: Bhangra Lexicon – Online

The world’s first ‘visual dictionary’ of movements found within Bhangra, compiled by World Bhangra Day founder, Hardeep Sahota.

Ad Minoliti at BALTIC in Gateshead
Exhibitions Until 13 March 2022, FREE

Ad Minoliti at BALTIC in Gateshead

Argentinian artist Ad Minoliti’s immersive exhibition draws upon queer and feminist theory to offer new understandings of the world around us.

Culture Guides


Manchester Animation Festival, classic Japanese cinema and a Mike Leigh retrospective all feature in this month’s cinema guide.

Magical Father Christmas Experience at Wythenshawe Hall


Christmas is just around the corner and we can almost smell those delicious mince pies, as we round up some of the best family activities and fun days out taking place across Manchester and the North throughout the festive season. 

Writer and musician Anthony Joseph. Image: Bunny Bread/@icreatenotdestroy


There are plenty of writerly launches, open mics, literature festivals, pre-Christmas book fairs and festive readings to pop into your diary, some online, some in person – and some both.

BC Camplight


Manchester’s music scene in on glorious form as we head into winter, with artists and audiences reconnecting in ecstatic style. Here are our highlights from the city’s chock-a-block gig calendar.

Theatre in Manchester


Alongside a brilliant selection of ballet, opera and new writing, our theatre guide has a distinctly festive feel about it. Christmas is on its way.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

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

Embankment Kitchen

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

We’re cramming two seasons of festive cheer into one as we present our top Christmas menus and cocktail lists in Manchester and the North.

Tours and Activities

There is plenty to make, see and do in the winter months. This month’s top picks include soul-warming folk clubs, clay workshops and jewellery making.