Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Stoke-on-Trent may not come first on a lot of people’s list of top cultural destinations, but this summer the historic six-town-city has given us good reason to rethink. Apart from its abundance of world-class attractions and lesser-known gems, the Potteries (as it’s affectionally nicknamed) is also currently host to an impressive programme of pop-up exhibitions and one-off events, workshops, film screenings, talks and music festivals, as well as Paul Cummins and Tom Piper’s iconic Weeping Window poppies sculpture housed in one of the country’s last active Victorian potteries.

From Stoke to Salford, we explore the city-wide takeover being held to celebrate the Royal Academy’s 250th birthday, and a new exhibition at Imperial War Museums North which examines how the act of ‘remembrance’ has changed and evolved over the last 100 years since the First World War. Over in Sheffield, Graves Gallery sets out on an extraordinary journey to unpick one of the world’s most popular and enduring art genres: the portrait. And Elisabeth Frink: Power and Fragility at Abbot Hall forms the centre of a powerful series of exhibitions in Kendal (Cumbria) dedicated to female artists and the theme of female subjectivity.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Summer in Stoke-on-Trent

    big feast summer in stoke on trent
    Appetite, The Big Feast Festival 2018

    Summer in Stoke-on-Trent, 1 August–30 September 2018, free entry - Visit now

    Home to a wealth of world-class visitor attractions, award-winning museums, exceptional gardens, five Victorian parks and the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever to be found; Stoke-on-Trent (affectionately nicknamed The Potteries) is bursting with an inspired programme of cultural activity this summer.

  • 2. Salford Royal Academy Takeover

    Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford

    Salford Royal Academy Takeover at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester, 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    To mark its 250th birthday, the Royal Academy of Arts in London has launched a nationwide programme of exhibitions, displays, tours, talks and one-off events. Here we take a look at what’s going on in Salford – home of RA LS Lowry and now a growing independent art scene.

  • 3. Lest We Forget? at Imperial War Museum North

    War Horse at the New London Theatre. Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg. Courtesy of IWM North. Lest We Forget
    War Horse at the New London Theatre. Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg. Courtesy of IWM North

    Lest We Forget? at Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Manchester, 27 July 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Lest We Forget marks the first instalment of a major new season of exhibitions, music, dance, talks and events at IWM London and IWM North exploring how the First World War has shaped society today.

  • 4. Heads Roll: An Exhibition Curated by Paul Morrison at Graves Gallery

    Julian Opie, Julian. 2013. Courtesy the artist and Alan Cristea Gallery, London. Heads Roll at Graves Gallery, Sheffield. Curated by Paul Morrison
    Julian Opie, Julian. 2013. Courtesy the artist and Alan Cristea Gallery, London

    Heads Roll: An Exhibition Curated by Paul Morrison at Graves Gallery, City Centre, 11 August–24 November 2018, free entry - Visit now

    Featuring work by over 60 internationally renowned artists spanning 400 years, Heads Roll at Graves Gallery in Sheffield sets out on a remarkable journey to unpick one of the world’s most popular and enduring artistic genres: the portrait.

  • 5. Elisabeth Frink: Fragility and Power at Abbot Hall Art Gallery

    Elisabeth Frink - Walking Madonna- © Frink Estate and Archive executors. Courtesy of The Ingram Collection, Image © JP Bland 2016. Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Fragility and Power, Kendal, Cumbria
    Elisabeth Frink, Walking Madonna © Frink Estate and Archive executors. Courtesy of The Ingram Collection, Image © JP Bland 2016

    Elisabeth Frink: Fragility and Power at Abbot Hall, Cumbria, 22 June–29 September 2018, free entry - Visit now

    Featuring a number of pieces which have never been seen before in public, ‘Elisabeth Frink: Fragility and Power’ at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal delves into the life and work of one of the most widely-loved, exciting and individual sculptors of the 20th century.

  • 6. Personal Feeling is the main thing – Chantal Joffe at The Lowry

    The Squid and the Whale, 2017, Chantal Joffe. Image courtesy of The Lowry
    Lowry

    Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Manchester, 19 May–2 September 2018, free entry - Visit now

    Perhaps one of the most celebrated contemporary British painters today, Chantal Joffe’s first major solo exhibition in the North of England – Personal Feeling is the Main Thing at The Lowry – shines a light on the internal landscape of motherhood, childhood and adolescence with bold honesty.

  • 7. Liverpool Biennial 2018 – Beautiful world, where are you?

    Paul Elliman, QUERTY_PE, 2012. Courtesy of the artist

    Liverpool Biennial 2018, 14 July–28 October 2018, free entry - Visit now

    If there’s one thing you do this summer, we strongly recommend you hop on a train and make your way over to the 10th edition of the ever-popular Liverpool Biennial – Beautiful world, where are you? – a city-wide festival of new and exciting contemporary art from around the world.

  • 8. Love Among the Ruins: A Romance of the Near Future at S1 Artspace, Sheffield

    Bill Stephenson, 'Tony the Ton' and Martin age 8, outside the Pop In Centre. Hyde Park Flats, Sheffield, 1988 © Bill Stephenson. Love Among the Ruins: A Romance of the Near Future at S1 Artspace, Sheffield
    Bill Stephenson, 'Tony the Ton' and Martin age 8, outside the Pop In Centre. Hyde Park Flats, Sheffield, 1988 © Bill Stephenson

    Love Among the Ruins: A Romance of the Near Future at S1 Artspace in Sheffield, Sheffield, 20 July–15 September 2018, free entry - Visit now

    It will have escaped few people’s attention that the UK is currently in the grip of an unprecedented housing crisis. Against this backdrop, A Romance for the Near Future – S1 Artspace’s inaugural exhibition at its new Park Hill premises – couldn’t be more perfectly, nor boldly conceived.

  • 9. Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

    Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
    Lewis Carroll, Edith, Ina and Alice Liddell, 1858. Image © National Portrait Gallery, London

    Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography at Millennium Gallery, City Centre, 30 June–23 September 2018, free entry - Visit now

    Explore the work of four of the most celebrated figures in art photography – Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Oscar Rejlander, and Clementina Hawarden – with a major new exhibition, which arrives directly from the National Portrait Gallery in London.

  • 10. Aquatopia at CFCCA

    陈秋林 Chen Qiulin 空的城 The Empty City 数码艺术微喷印刷. Part of Aquatopia at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), Manchester
    Courtesy of CFCCA

    Aquatopia at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, 6 July–7 October 2018, free entry - Visit now

    Though water covers 70% of our planet and sea levels are rising, access to clean, fresh supplies is becoming a growing problem around the world. Aquatopia forms the first of a season of new exhibitions and debates at CFCCA designed to encourage discussion around some of the biggest environmental issues facing the world today.

  • 11. Great Exhibition of the North at BALTIC, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

    Michael Dean, Portikus 2017. Great Exhibition of the North, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead

    Great Exhibition of the North 2018 at Baltic, 22 June–9 September 2018, free entry - Visit now

    An 80-day celebration of art, culture, design and innovation from across the north, in what will be the largest event of its kind happening in England during 2018. We’re particularly excited about the –not one, but ten – exhibitions that will unfold throughout BALTIC.

  • 12. Tai Shani: Semiramis at The Tetley, Leeds

    Exhibitions in Manchester and the North
    Commissioned by Glasgow International 2018 and The Tetley. Image Keith Hunter

    Tai Shani: Semiramis at The Tetley, 20 July–14 October 2018, free entry - Visit now

    A heady mix of science fiction, anthropology, and feminist and queer theory featuring a Neanderthal and ‘Woman on the Edge of Time’ – Semiramis by Tai Shani at The Tetley is a powerful, multi-layered experience that will leave you disorientated and invigorated in equal measure.

  • 13. Phil Collins: Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong at HOME

    Phil Collins: Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong at HOME, Manchester

    Phil Collins: Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 7 July–16 September 2018, free entry - Visit now

    ‘Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong’ at HOME brings together three politically charged works by the Turner-Prize nominated artist Phil Collins who returned Engels to Manchester in 2017.

  • 14. Andy Holden & Peter Holden: Natural Selection at Leeds Art Gallery

    Andy Holden & Peter Holden: Natural Selection at Leeds Art Gallery
    Andy Holden and Peter Holden, Natural Selection, 2017. An Artangel commission. Photograph: Jazbo Gross.

    Andy Holden & Peter Holden: Natural Selection at Leeds Art Gallery, 8 June–2 September 2018, free entry - Visit now

    The result of a five-year collaboration between father and son, Natural Selection by contemporary artist Andy Holden and ornithologist Peter Holden offers visitors to Leeds Art Gallery a fascinating journey through the lives of birds.

More in Exhibitions

Exhibitions 3 April 2017–2 September 2018, FREE

Constellations: Refiguring American Abstraction at Tate Liverpool

A free new display made up of works by towering post-war American artists including Mark Rothko, Hedda Sterne and Andy Warhol.

Annual Banner Changeover 2018, courtesy of the People's History Museum
Education 20 January 2018–6 January 2019, FREE

Annual Banner Changeover 2018 at the People’s History Museum

Explore the story of democracy through a special display of banners that were integral to the women’s suffrage movement, as well as other campaigns for representation at the People’s History Museum.

China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors. World Museum, Liverpool
Exhibitions 9 February–28 October 2018, from £5.50

China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors at World Museum Liverpool

Encounter objects from one of the world’s greatest archaeological discoveries, spanning almost 1,000 years of Chinese history, at China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors.

Exhibitions 23 February 2018–6 January 2019, FREE

Annie Swynnerton: Painting Light and Hope at Manchester Art Gallery

The first major retrospective of work by the radical Manchester artist and feminist campaigner, Annie Swynnerton, opens in nearly 100 years at Manchester Art Gallery.

Exhibitions 24 March–2 September 2018, FREE

Art, Games and Play: Don Pavey and other Collections at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Visit this exhibition celebrating the close relationship between art, games and play then let loose in YSP’s incredible parkland.

Exhibitions 24 March 2018–7 April 2019, FREE

Exchanges at The Whitworth

Exchanges at The Whitworth sets art and artists together, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in opposition – always with insight and intention.

Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves at The Whitworth, Manchester
Exhibitions 30 March–28 August 2018, FREE

Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves at The Whitworth

Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves is the most recent in a series of major moving image acquisitions by The Whitworth, and was supported through Art Fund’s Moving Image Fund.

Bodies of Colour: Breaking with Stereotypes in the Wallpaper Collection at The Whitworth Art Gallery
Exhibitions 4 May 2018–19 May 2019, FREE

Bodies of Colour: Breaking with Stereotypes in the Wallpaper Collection at The Whitworth

This latest exhibition uses the Whitworth’s extensive and significant wallpaper collection to focus on how Imperial attitudes to people are reflected in wallpaper.

© Egon Schiele, Standing male figure (self-portrait) 1914. Photograph © National Gallery in Prague 2017. Life in Motion: Egon Schiele/Francesca Woodman at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions 24 May–23 September 2018, from £12.50

Life in Motion: Egon Schiele/Francesca Woodman at Tate Liverpool

Life in Motion at Tate Liverpool highlights the expressive nature of the human body, seen through the eyes of two influential and innovative artists: Egon Schiele and Francesca Woodman.

Culture Guides

Theatre guide Figs in Wigs: Often Onstage at HOME

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Everything has been a little sedate in Theatreland over the summer…but now it’s time to yawn and stretch and get ready for the eclectic new season. Make a brew and check out our packed guide to performance in the North.

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Danny Moran.

Literature

We have our sights on the top-notch prose on the horizon, poetry is popping up all over the place from bars to galleries, and Manchester Literature Festival is making announcements. Hurry – events have been selling out!

Music

This month’s music guide features some of the country’s most exciting jazz artists, as well as a cutting-edge events series wherein music, art and science collide.

Cinema

Pop-up cinemas, outdoor screenings and essential retrospectives — we’ve got it all this summer.

Just So Festivalgoers courtesy Teneight

Families

Wild Worlds, Lost Castles, Journeys of the Imagination, ALL the best festivals. We’ve got this folks.

Things to do right now

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