Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Bringing together the iconic, darkly satirical images of one of Britain’s leading political artists (responsible for the infamous photomontage of Tony Blair taking a selfie in front of an oilfield explosion in Iraq), Art Against War: Peter Kennard at Millennium Gallery in Sheffield is high among our pick of exhibition highlights this month. That and the equally incisive political commentary of Phil Collins, whose work takes centre stage once again at HOME this summer following the ‘homecoming celebration’ that the Turner-nominee artist orchestrated for Fredrich Engels on the closing night of MIF 2017, almost exactly one year ago.

Combining a heady mix of science fiction, anthropology, and feminist and queer theory, we’re also extremely excited to catch Tai Shani’s mesmerising and immersive installation – Semiramis – at The Tetley in Leeds, arriving fresh from Glasgow International Festival 2018 where it met with widespread acclaim. Combine this with a visit to Leeds Art Gallery where contemporary artist Andy Holden and his ornithologist father Peter Holden (once affectionately known to many as ‘the bird man’ on Blue Peter) will lead you on a fascinating journey through the secret lives of birds and the darker side of collecting. Then, continuing with the nature theme, head over to the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park where Etsy-celeb, Mister Finch, brings a touch of the surreal to the woodland realm.

Finally, don’t miss Materialise at Manchester Craft & Design Centre featuring an inspiring body of new work by five talented young designers carving out the creative face of tomorrow; chisel, needle and wet lumps of clay in hand.

Here are our picks

More in Exhibitions

Exhibitions 15 May–8 August 2018, FREE

Women Behind the Football Lens at National Football Museum

Stuart Roy Clarke, as part of his exhibition ‘The Game’, is putting some of his favourite female photographers at the heart of the show for the summer months.

FDN X KNOT COLLECTIVE, Federation Coffee House, Manchester
Exhibitions 9 June–11 August 2018, FREE

FDN X KNOT COLLECTIVE at Foundation Coffee House

Foundation Coffee House presents a display of hand-woven art rugs by The Knott Collective.

PRINT UnLtd. at Salford University and Art Gallery
Exhibitions 26 May–14 October 2018, FREE

PRINT UnLtd. at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

A pop-up exhibition of works celebrating, challenging and questioning printmaking, catch PRINT UnLtd. at Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

BLANK LIONS, Bankley Gallery, Levenshulme
Exhibitions 15–30 June 2018, FREE

BLANK LIONS at Bankley Gallery

Bankley Gallery in Levenshulme presents BLANK LIONS; a groups exhibition featuring four UK-based artists working in sculpture and painting. Interested in the ‘Un’ within ‘Un-knowing’, the works play with a reversal of known processes and the undoing of learned knowledge, questioning clarity and the pre-meditated.

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
Exhibitions 30 June–23 September 2018, FREE

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

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, ‘Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography’, coming to Millennium Gallery, Sheffield.

Nick Jordan: Mental State Signs, at Paradise Works, Manchester
Exhibitions 1–24 June 2018, FREE

Nick Jordan: Mental State Signs at Paradise Works

Paradise Works presents Mental State Signs, a solo exhibition by artist Nick Jordan. Titled from a clinical term used for assessing mental health disorders, the exhibition explores themes of psychosis and surveillance.

A Great Enchanted Garden: Can AI Give Us Back Our Sense of Wonder? – Ryan Avent. Part of Liverpool Biennial 2018
Exhibitions 11 October 2018,

A Great Enchanted Garden: Can AI Give Us Back Our Sense of Wonder? – Ryan Avent at LJMU Exhibition Research Lab

With cars that drive themselves and robots that walk among us, it is easy to imagine how AI could all turn out to be ugly and dystopian, but ‘A Great Enchanted Garden: Can AI Give Us Back Our Sense of Wonder?’ by Ryan Avent will suggest that there are perhaps ways to make it beautiful and affirming too.

The Fabric of the Planetary Surface – Jussi Parikka. Part of Liverpool Biennial 2018
Exhibitions 27 September 2018,

The Fabric of the Planetary Surface – Jussi Parikka at LJMU Exhibition Research Lab

‘The Fabric of the Planetary Surface’ by Jussi Parikka at LJMU Exhibition Research Lab will address those planetary infrastructures that deliver beautiful things – namely, the factories, production facilities, routes, networks and logistics that make up the fashion industry.

Climate Grief and the Visible Horizon – Meehan Crist. Part of Liverpool Biennial 2018
Exhibitions 26 July 2018,

Climate Grief and the Visible Horizon – Meehan Crist at LJMU Exhibition Research Lab

‘Climate Grief and the Visible Horizon’ is a talk by Meehan Crist that will first explore how traditional notions of grief have become obsolete in the age of anthropogenic climate change, then try to imagine new ways to live with loss in our rapidly changing world.

Culture Guides



Who says summer is a quiet time for theatre? We’ve got open-air performances, free interactive family events, a ten-day summer festival and much more in our theatre guide.


Salford-born actor, Albert Finney is celebrated with a career retrospective at HOME, whilst director Stanley Kubrick gets the same treatment at FACT. Elsewhere there are one off screenings of classics, both new and old.

Manchester Day


It’s family festival fever. The National Trust Children’s Book Festival, University of Manchester Community Festival, Manchester Histories Festival and that’s just for starters.

Author Holly Ringland.


Despite the traditional summer break, there’s still plenty of poetry and prose to catch, book and magazine launches, birthday parties, and even an exhibition dedicated to libraries. And if you don’t like sitting still for too long, there’s even a literature trail or two to check out…


While this summer’s festivals – including bluedot, The Good Life Experience and Festival No. 6 – provide a welcome distraction, the likes of the RNCM and The Stoller Hall continue to provide adventurous programming.