With the longer nights drawing in, there’s no denying we’re heading into the darkness of winter. Fear not, however, as a brand-new arrival to Manchester’s festival scene is filling the city with light. Corridor of Light celebrates the immense creativity – past and present – that the Oxford Road Corridor (stretching for one square mile south of Central Library) has long been home to, through a series of specially-commissioned new works by acclaimed international, UK and Manchester-based artists. From nightly algoraves to a giant heart-shaped mirror ball installation that is transforming Manchester’s newest neighbourhood into a fantastical, swirling space; check out our guide.
This year’s Journeys International Festival also features in our latest top picks. The annual programme of events, exhibitions, film screenings and performances explores issues relating to the world’s ongoing refugee crisis, and is created in collaboration with community members and artists with experience of forced migration. Look out in particular for Where There Is Light – an immersive sound and light installation featuring the voices and stories of asylum seekers living in the city, asking searching questions about where we find light in our lives.
That so many people continue to experience forced displacement as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or the climate crisis paints a damning picture of where the world is at. Aptly titled Future Ages Will Wonder, FACT in Liverpool’s upcoming exhibition considers how the stories we tell about our past, present and future shape our sense of identity and belonging, and, by extension, how re-examining these narratives might help us to carve out new possible ways of existing in harmony with each other and the planet.
John Powell-Jones is an artist whose practice has long focused on the degree to which dominant ideologies and power structures influence our perceptions of reality, inviting audiences to consider alternative ways of viewing the world and our part within it. His first major exhibition, presented at Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, does so by transporting visitors to the inhospitable planet of Durt, 1,000 years after the Quantum Crash – a botched experiment that saw the first humanoid quantum teleportation result in a disaster of apocalyptic scale. Employing his signature use of speculative fiction (informed by European folklore, body horror, survival horror and science fiction), CYBERJUNK offers a humorous yet incisive critique of the horrors of Western capitalism and neoliberal ideology.
Finally, Manchester Art Fair, and its sister event, The Manchester Contemporary, return this November, offering visitors the chance to browse a vast selection of modern and contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and editioned prints by artists from around the country. One of the largest and most prestigious art fairs in the UK, this annual whirlwind event is not to be missed.
Here are our picks
Explore the past 50 years of contemporary drawing at the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley, featuring work from Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin and Anish Kapoor.
Art has always been at the beating heart of Manchester International Festival and this year is no different.
Tai Shani: The Neon Hieroglyph – Online with Manchester International Festival Virtual Factory, online, Until 31 March 2022, free entry - Visit now
Turner Prize winning artist Tai Shani takes us on an LSD-inspired hallucinatory journey across time and space. Prepare to have your consciousness expanded.
Experience YBA artist Damien Hirst’s towering and provocative outdoor sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.
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.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents the monumental work of celebrated Portuguese sculptor Joana Vasconcelos.
Below the Salt is an exhibition of new works by Catherine Bertola, shown alongside the first inventory of Temple Newsam House, made on 12 September 1520.
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.
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.
#WELCOME? at the People’s History Museum explores the wider impact of media coverage and changing immigration controls.