Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Top of our list of highlights this month, we’re looking forward to the opening of Vivian Suter and Theaster Gates: Amalgam at Tate Liverpool. As winter sets in, Suter’s vibrant paintings, born straight out of the Guatemalan rainforest and displayed as an immersive installation, should provide an uplifting burst of life and energy. Gates, on the other hand, presents a politically charged body of work that addresses issues of race, territory and inequality in America through the little-known, only recently recovered history of Malaga, a small island off the north east state of Maine (USA).

From Liverpool to Leeds, we recommend a visit to Edward Allington: Things Unsaid at the Henry Moore Institute. The late Cumbria-born sculptor, writer and educator was part of a new generation of artists during the 1970s who felt that minimal and conceptual art was losing its edge, and who set out to address this in their work. Allington’s sizeable output is broadly united by a lifetime fascination with the relationship between sense, perception, and objects that we physically experience and touch, resulting in sculptural pieces that have a seductively haptic appeal.

Looking ahead to January, upcoming exhibition Thumbs Up will see four artists transform Castlefield Gallery into a space of enveloping conversation and exchange. Artworks will take the form of a bold series of experiments in scale, materiality and creative production, and demand audiences’ active participation rather than passive presence. We’re also excited for the second edition of MACFEST – Manchester’s award-winning Muslim Arts and Culture Festival. This year’s programme takes place across the city and features over 50 events, spanning literature, art, music, food, history, comedy, film, performance and culture. From creative workshops in Persian carpet design and Indonesian Batik painting, through to an afternoon exploring John Rylands Library’s substantial collection of Islamic miniature paintings and manuscripts, there’s plenty to enjoy.

Finally, as Christmas rolls around, we suggest avoiding the Arndale and heading instead to the Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2019, where you’ll not only find unique handmade presents, but also be able to meet and buy directly from a hand-picked selection of 40 designer-makers. Also check out the Manchester Craft and Design Centre’s festive programme of #GiveHandmade events.

Here are our picks

More in Exhibitions

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.

The Reno at the Whitworth
Exhibitions Until 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 Until 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 Until 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 Until 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.

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.

Li Yuan Chia: His Late Photographs at Whitworth Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 15 December 2019, FREE

Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at the Whitworth

The Whitworth presents a quiet, yet arrestingly beautiful series of hand-coloured photographs taken by China’s first conceptual artist, Li Yuan Chia, nearing the end of his life.

Exhibitions Until 12 January 2020, FREE

Pearl Alcock at the Whitworth

Part of the Windrush generation, artist Pearl Alcock’s series of ‘visions’ and ‘moods’ realised as drawings and paintings go on display at the Whitworth.

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.

Culture Guides

Cinema

We round up the best Christmas movies and new releases this December.

Screening of The Snowman at Bridgewater Hall, part of our family things to do guide

Families

Check out our top picks this Christmas and enjoy some quality family time together in this most magical of seasons.

Poet Jennifer Lee Tsai.

Literature

There are plenty of magical live literature happenings in the run-up to, during and even after the festive season – and lots of book-buying opportunities, perfect for presents for friends and family, or even yourself.

Music

From Irish hip hop to Afrobeat, absurdist punk to post-metal, this month’s music guide is a real melting pot.

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

Soaring aerial theatre, unique filmic performance and our pick of the pantos. Our theatre guide spans the festive season and beyond.

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

Our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and the North. Taking in bars, restaurants and everywhere to go to eat, drink and get merry.

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Get outdoors this winter or retreat into the warmth of a workshop with our December guide of Tours and Activities.