Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

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

More in Exhibitions

Damien Hirst at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions Until 31 May 2023, FREE

Damien Hirst at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Experience YBA artist Damien Hirst’s towering and provocative outdoor sculptures at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives – exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 14 December 2021, FREE

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives at Manchester Art Gallery

Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2022, FREE

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike

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.

Joana Vasconcelos exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Exhibitions Until 9 January 2022, FREE

Joana Vasconcelos at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents the monumental work of celebrated Portuguese sculptor Joana Vasconcelos.

Below the Salt Online Exhibition
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2021,

Below the Salt Online Exhibition

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.

sounds of our city online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 31 December 2021,

Sounds of Our City Online Exhibition

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.

What is Manchester Art Gallery?
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2023, FREE

What is Manchester Art Gallery? at Manchester Art Gallery

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
Exhibitions Until 31 October 2021, FREE

#WELCOME? at the People’s History Museum

#WELCOME? at the People’s History Museum explores the wider impact of media coverage and changing immigration controls.

Thwaite at 30 online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 1 December 2021,

Thwaite at 30 at Thwaite Watermill

In the Thwaite at 30 online exhibition, uncover the fascinating story of Thwaite Watermill as it celebrates its 30th year as a museum.

Culture Guides

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Tours and Activities

Resist the urge to hibernate this autumn; our latest selection of tours and activities will have you out and about, making the most of what’s on offer in Manchester and the North.