This year sees the return of the British Textile Biennial, taking place across Lancashire – the birthplace of the cotton industry. Now in its second edition, the month-long festival will feature contributions from an impressive list of headliners, including Turner Prize winner Lubaina Himid, actor Maxine Peake, fashion historian Amber Butchart, and fashion designer Patrick Grant, as well as a number of exciting early-career artists. Together, the broad range of commissions will investigate the global nature of textiles, and the thick and fibrous web of transatlantic connections engendered by their production, past and present.
From Lancashire to Yorkshire, we’re also looking forward to Annie Morris’ first major UK solo exhibition, When A Happy Thing Falls, at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The artist will fill the beautiful, light-flooded Weston Gallery with her iconic ‘Stacks’ – towering sculptures made of precariously balanced, luminous, boulder-like forms, which respond to themes of both grief and fragility, and hopeful affirmation.
Over in Merseyside, Liverpool-based artist Emily Speed’s major new commission, Flatland, at Tate Liverpool, explores flattened hierarchies and close-knit community structures. The film-installation responds to the English theologian Edwin A. Abbott’s famous 1884 novella, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, which satirised Victorian society and the role of women within it, inspiring generations of artists and scientists alike.
Closer to home, we’re delighted that The Pankhurst Centre – the country’s only museum dedicated to female suffrage – has reopened following a period of restoration works with a brand-new permanent display. At Home with the Pankhurst Family offers an intimate portrait of the people behind the Pankhurst name, and promises to reveal more about the Pankhursts as a family than has ever been previously explored in an exhibition.
Lastly, Counter-flow – a new exhibition at People’s History Museum by second-generation British/Hungarian artist Eva Mileusnic – leads visitors of all ages on a colourful and creative metaphorical journey around the world, examining the demographic shifts that take place between cultures. Accompanied by an associated series of free, weekly, artist-led workshops, if you’re looking for something to both inspire young minds and fill the school holidays, this is the ticket.
Here are our picks
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.
Florence Nightingale Bicentenary: Inspiration to Genius is an online exhibition exploring the life of Florence Nightingale and her connection to Lotherton Hall.
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.