Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

The first UK solo presentation of work by Vivian Suter at Tate Liverpool absolutely tops our pick of exhibition highlights this month. After a period of almost three decades during which she shunned the attention of the art world, the Guatemalan based Swiss-Argentinian artist is making waves once again with her raw, brightly coloured abstracts that capture the light, heat and intensity of life in the heart of the Central American rainforest.

Elizabeth Price’s 2012 Turner Prize winning film, ‘The Woolworths Choir of 1979’, featuring footage from a tragic fire at the Piccadilly Gardens branch of the department store, will be exhibited in Manchester for the first time this October, alongside a wide selection of other new and acclaimed pieces by the artist. Beautiful and Brutal: 50 Years in the life of Preston Bus Station at the Harris will look back over the fascinating history of Lancashire’s most Marmite piece of Modernist social architecture, the recent renovation of which has been longlisted for the ‘UK’s best new building’ RIBA Stirling prize. And The Hepworth Wakefield prepares to present a major exhibition that refocuses our attention on David Hockney’s early career, presenting key works alongside paintings by fellow post-war artist Alan Davie, who served as a crucial inspiration for the young Yorkshire born and bred artist. This will be paired with the first UK solo presentation of work by the LA-based artist Christina Quarles.

Providing an exciting snapshot of what’s to come in the world of British contemporary art, and having boosted the fledgling careers of many now leading international figures over the decades – including Hockney, as well as Damien Hirst, Derek Jarman and Monster Chetwynd – the annual Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition is not to be missed. Catch this year’s edition at Leeds Art Gallery, and tie in with a visit to Yorkshire Sculpture International before the festival ends later this month.

Lastly, whether you’re a seasoned professional or haven’t touched a paintbrush in over 20 years, there’s still time to apply for the inaugural Manchester Open Exhibition at HOME, operating under the banner, ‘Everyone’s an Artist’.

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.

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.

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.

Things to do in the Lakes this Summer
Exhibitions 15 February–15 October 2019, FREE

Things to do in the Lakes this Summer

Not only one of Britain’s most picturesque national parks, the Lake District is also brimming with culture. Here’s what not miss this summer.

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.

The Reno at the Whitworth
Exhibitions 15 March 2019–1 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 16 March 2019–23 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.

Culture Guides


Indian independent cinema, shadowy film noir, cult queer classics and trip under the sea. Film fans are spoilt for choice this month.

RNCM Young Explorers event. DJ Switch is shown by turntables in front of an orchestra. Included in family things to do guide.


Avoid the post summer holiday blues with our latest top picks of family things to do. Enjoy some quality family time together this autumn.

Artist Dan Berry and writer David Gaffney.


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.


Manchester’s Autumn months are always chock-a-block with great gigs, and this year is no exception.

Theatre in Manchester


The English National Ballet, Emma Rice’s Wise Children, Liverpool’s LEAP Dance Festival and much more feature in our new theatre guide.

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.

Tours and Activities

Tours and Activities

Explore the mindful tours and activities Manchester has to offer in this month’s Tours and Activities guide.

Places to go / stay / shop / eat / drink

Things to do right now

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Yorkshire! Achievement, Grit and Controversy
Exhibitions 5 March–3 November 2019, Normal admission charges apply/free to National Trust members

Yorkshire! Achievement, Grit and Controversy at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens

Graphic Encounters at Shudehill Metrolink Station
Visual Arts 10 September–15 October 2019, FREE

Graphic Encounters at Manchester Metrolink Stations

Digital Dimensions at Eureka! Children playing in digital dimensions with light pillars
Exhibitions 25 May–5 November 2019, from £5.95

Digital Dimensions at Eureka!

Exhibitions 20 July 2019–5 January 2020, from £6

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum