Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

We rely upon the energy provided by the Sun as our primary life source and have worshipped it across cultures throughout history. Yet, as record heatwaves swept through Europe last month, following episodes of extreme heat in Australia, India, Pakistan and parts of the Middle East in 2019, the dangers it poses as a result of global warming are also becoming increasingly apparent. A new blockbuster exhibition at Science and Industry Museum shines a light on humanity’s complex relationship with our solar system’s central star, featuring objects of ancient religious significance through to ground-breaking technology designed to harness its energy in less damaging ways.

Continuing to examine the role of technology in relation to our environment, Future Cities: Technolpolis & Everyday Life at CFCCA will consider the ways in which our cities are being redesigned and envisioned in accordance with the Digital Revolution. Meanwhile, a new commission by Cumbia-based artist Maddi Nicholson sited in Spinningfields looks back in time, peeling away layers of neat corporate identity to reveal the brutal reality of life in the district during the Industrial Revolution.

In a lighter twist, the Lowry’s summer exhibition, Expect the Unexpected, celebrates the role of chance within contemporary art, featuring playful and important works by major artists including Yoko Ono, Gillian Wearing and Keith Tyson. And we look forward to the inaugural edition of British Textile Biennial, which boasts an impressive programme of new work by contemporary artists, designers and makers exploring the central role that textiles have played in shaping the north’s identity over the past 200 years.

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.

Activity 3 September 2018–2 September 2019, FREE

Whitworth Art Gallery Daily Tour

Take a closer look at some of the Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection while gaining a better understanding of the context in which the pieces were created. The free tours run daily from 2 pm.

Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall
Exhibitions 8 September 2018–28 July 2019, FREE

Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall

The Bell Tree by award winning contemporary artist Serena Korda responds to England’s alternative history of fairy-tale folklore, the ancient forest at Speke Hall and the legacy of hidden rebellion that surrounds the historic Tudor home.

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.

Rocket courtesy Science Museum
Exhibitions 25 September 2018–8 September 2019, FREE

Rocket Returns to the Science and Industry Museum

Make tracks for Manchester’s Science and Industry Museum. A one-in-a-lifetime chance to see Stephenson’s Rocket return to the site of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway for the first time in over 180 years.

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.

Zig Zag Atelier Bebop at Common Bar, Manchester
Exhibitions 28 February–31 July 2019, FREE

Zig Zag Atelier Bebop at Common Bar

Expect big things and colourful shapes at ZIG ZAG, a new exhibition by Atelier Bebop at Common Bar in the Northern Quarter.

Culture Guides

BSL Led Gallery Tour: David Lynch My Head is Disconnected

Cinema

It’s all about David Lynch this month, as the cult artist and filmmaker brings his inimitable brand of surreal menace to Manchester as part of MIF19.

Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade

Families

We can smell the summer and have sniffed out the best family things to do in Manchester and across the North.

Literature

We’re in full festival swing with both Manchester International Festival and Refract festival’s first focus on live literature, the welcome return of some old favourites, and plenty of poetry and prose.

Music

Some of the world’s most exciting producers are heading to Manchester and the north in the coming months. Read about them here.

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

You’ll find award-winning adaptations, experimental pieces and outstanding open-air performance in our theatre guide this month.

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

Challenge yourself to try something different this summer with our guide of Manchester based tours and activities. You’re bound to find something new to do in the city.