The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER – Visit Now
So, the Whitworth’s on a roll – fresh from winning an award last week, it’s just been nominated for Museum of the Year.
There’s no let up at the Whitworth. With close on 130,000 visitors since it reopened on Valentine’s Day, and a RIBA North West “Building of the Year” award to tuck under its terribly artistic hat, it’s safe to say that the gallery is doing pretty well. So well, in fact, that it has been shortlisted for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2015.
The Whitworth is on a shortlist of six, among them the ever-lovely Dunham Massey (nominated for its recreation of the WWI field hospital that once took over the country house) and London’s Imperial War Museum. There’s also the Tower of London, whose massive, poppy-based installation last year made it an Insta-hit, Belfast’s live art venue, The MAC, and Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
The winner of the £100,000 prize is always hard to call. Smaller venues are in with just as much of a chance as bigger ones, as evidenced when the diminutive William Morris Gallery won in 2013; it was up against both the Hepworth and the BALTIC. And last year our friends at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, who had been nominated alongside the Hayward Gallery and Tate Britain, walked off with the award.
Make your feelings heard via social media
So, will the Whitworth win? Whether it does or not appears to be down to two things: a public display of affection (the gallery is asking its visitors to use the #museumoftheyear hashtag to tell people why they love it) and what the judges think of the place. Those judges include the artist Michael Landy and director of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Axel Rüger; their visit to the gallery over the summer will, we imagine, seal its fate. There’s also a public photography competition. Judged by Martin Parr and with the chance of a holiday to Berlin on offer, it’s worth entering – you just need to submit your own pictures of any of the nominated venues using the hashtag #motyphoto.
And that’s it. The winner will be announced on 1 July. Clearly, we really, really want the Whitworth to win. We’ve spent so much time there we’ve more or less moved in. But whether it does or not depends on what happens next – whether you make your feelings heard via social media, and whether the judges like what they see.
Services and FacilitiesCafe, Shop, lockers, bike stands
AccessibilityEntrances, ramps, lifts, wheelchairs, spoken tours, guide dogs welcome, large print guides
Commercial and hire servicesRooms for hire, private events, weddings