Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester After Hours / Museums at Night

In January 2018, Hylas and the Nymphs by JW Waterhouse was temporarily removed as part of a gallery takeover by gallery staff, users and artists. This was part of a project with artist Sonia Boyce and also was part of the making of an artwork, Six Acts, showing in Boyce’s exhibition until 22 July. The painting was replaced by a series of questions to open debate about issues of gender, race and sexuality representation and ask questions about who decides what is shown and what stories are told in a public gallery.

This is the first in a series of free public events in response to the huge debate this action stimulated.

Questioning the gallery


No need to book

Take part in this informal group discussion about our relationships with our galleries and collections, with the questions that temporarily replaced the painting as a starting point.

Artists, curators and the public: who decides what goes on display?


Tickets limited, please book on Eventbrite.  Please note this event will be live-streamed and recorded.

Dr David Dibosa, Curating and Collections course leader at Chelsea College of Art and Black Artists and Modernism researcher, writer and curator Ellen Mara De Wachter, and members of the Manchester Art Gallery team present their thoughts on the inherited problems that exist in gallery collections and displays and discuss who might get to to decide how gallery exhibitions might be made differently.

Roll Up for Family Gorgeous


No need to book

Drag artists Family Gorgeous host this takeover of the gallery’s Victorian spaces.

Following their performances at the takeover which became the new film work, Six Acts by Sonia Boyce, Family Gorgeous were keen to further develop their work at the gallery.  The evening they have in store will be open to everyone and involve performances by six Family Gorgeous members.  In the spirit of a gallery ‘takeover’, it’s the artists who select how they will run their evening, which art works and spaces they will respond to and how they will involve visitors.  Despite the spectacularly playful, humorous and downright cheeky nature of the drag performances, Family Gorgeous explore politics of identity to pinpoint the more uncomfortable tales woven within the celebrated stories on display.

Questioning the gallery


No need to book

Take part in this informal group discussion about our relationships with our galleries and collections, with the questions that temporarily replaced the painting as a starting point.

Guest speakers:

David Dibosa trained as a curator after receiving his first degree from Girton College, University of Cambridge. He was awarded his PhD in Art History from Goldsmiths College, University of London. During the 1990s, he curated public art projects. He is currently Course Leader for MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts. He is also a Researcher in University of the Arts London’s Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation (TrAIN).  David has research interests in spectatorship, exhibitions, museums and curating, migration cultures and is part of Black Artists and Modernism (BAM), a three-year research project led by University of the Arts London (UAL) in partnership with Middlesex University, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). BAM will investigate the artworks of Black-British artists and the works’ relationship to modernism.

Ellen Mara De Wachter is a writer and curator based in London. She is a frequent contributor to Frieze magazine, and her writing has featured in exhibition catalogues and publications such as Mousse, Art Monthly, Art Review, Flash Art International, Garage, Art Quarterly, Elephant, The Quietus, and on BBC Radio 4.

Her book ‘Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration’, published by Phaidon, explores the phenomenon of collaboration in the visual arts and its potential in society at large.

De Wachter is a Visiting Lecturer in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, and has taught at the Royal Academy Schools, Goldsmiths College, Brighton University, Newcastle University among other places.

In 2013-15 she was Curator of Public Collection Development at the Contemporary Art Society, where she was responsible for CAS’s acquisitions scheme for museums across the UK. Prior to that, she worked at various arts organisations in London, including the Barbican Art Gallery and the British Museum.

Her recent Frieze article on galleries and activism references our recent project with Sonia Boyce: after-nymphs-painting- backlash-curatorial-activism- right-or-obligation*

Thinking out loud: Black British Artists and Modernism – postponed

This event will now form part of our Whose Power On Display? series. Please look out for details of future events.

Annie Swynnerton exhibition tour

Join gallery guide John Ward for a tour of our exhibition Painting Light and Hope and discover the art of Annie Swynnerton, the first woman artist ever to be elected to the Royal Academy of Art.


The event is free but please reserve a space on Eventbrite.

Pop up poetry

Join us for an evening of poetry performed by Manchester Art Gallery’s Age Friendly Collective in front of some of their favourite paintings.

No need to book, just meet in the atrium.

Proud and Loud Arts: Affirmations

Some labels are given special treatment and a glass of champagne, some are put in a safe place where no one can find them. Others are hung out for everyone to see, as an example of what happens to normality when it wanders off the path.

Affirmations by Proud and Loud Arts, is an interactive, Live Art installation created by artists living with disability labels. The work offers a perspective on the impact of social stigma and personal identity from the uniqueness of each artist’s own life experiences.  This exhibition offers a thought provoking and creative glimpse into extraordinary perspectives on the stigma associated with being different.

Affirmations is an addition to 2016’s performance of Cells – a body of work developed in direct response to a Manchester Evening News article describing a 140 percent rise in reported hate crimes against people with disabilities. This exhibition offers a thought provoking and creative glimpse into extraordinary perspectives on the stigma associated with being different. To make the work, members have collaborated with a team of highly experienced local Artists: Director – Tom Hogan; Movement Director – Susan Swanton; Designer – Nerissa Cargill Thompson

See What I See

See What I See presents moving image works by contemporary visual artists Feral Practice (Fiona Macdonald), Julie del’Hopital, Maeve Rendle, Nicola Dale & Matylda Wierietielny and Victoria Lucas. For each artist, moving image is employed as a way of seeing that both complements and reaches beyond their work with sculpture, drawing, photography and/or writing. From the scripted to the chance encounter, these previously unscreened works take in animation, performance and documentary, inviting you to see what the artists see when they lend their gaze to the camera. A Q&A with the artists will follow the screenings.

This event is FREE but please click here to book your seat.



Wonder Women 2018 Feminist takeover and festival launch

Led by Instigate Arts, the event is inspired by the work of the radical, Manchester-born artist and feminist campaigner Annie Swynnerton (1844–1933), whose first retrospective in over a century is on display. Swynnerton had a profound impact on the status of female artists in her home city, and actively challenged conventional notions of female beauty in her work. Her vivid canvases represent women of all ages and backgrounds, and capture the burgeoning sense of female power, strength and hope that marked the turn of the 20th century – a time when women’s roles and opportunities were beginning to change.

Instigate Arts is the Manchester-based progressive social change organisation that co-curated Wonder Women 2017’s Whose Festival is it Anyway?; a powerful panel discussion that asked whether feminist festivals are an act of disruptive activism in their own right?

Free, no need to book.

Burns night whisky tasting

Join Fine Art Curator Hannah Williamson and Trustee Robert Moss in our Scottish Gallery for an entertaining evening full of Highland art, Scottish canapés and an opportunity to sample 5 single malt whiskys from across Scotland, raising a glass to Rabbie Burns.

Cost £35. Limited to 25 spaces. Early booking essential.


Tel: 0161 235 8873

Talk and Q&A with Joe Hartley and Sam Buckley

Castlefield Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery invite you to join Manchester-based artist-maker Joe Hartley, and the innovative chef Sam Buckley of Stockport restaurant Where The Light Gets In for a talk & Q&A about their recent visit to South Korea.

In August 2017, as part of the UK-Korea Cultural Season, a group of Korea’s top craftspeople – Living National Treasures (in waiting), as they are known in their home country, or Masters, visited the North West of England as part of a year-long cultural exchange programme called Treasure, between artists and master craftspeople in South Korea and artist / makers in the region.

Whilst exploring Manchester, including Manchester Art Gallery’s collections, and the ‘treasures of Cumbria’, the Korean Masters, Shin Gyung-Kyun, Lim Gae-Hwa and Choe Seon-Hui specialists in black bamboo, pottery (in particular the venerated Moon Vase) and cookery, were introduced to Joe Hartley, Sam Buckley, and Cumbrian furniture-maker and designer Tom Philipson. The artists and makers came together and began a process of exchanging skills and ideas, with an ambition to collaboratively conceive and produce ‘useful’ products that ‘anyone’ can make. Members of the public in Cumbria and Manchester had opportunity to meet, learn, exchange and make alongside the group.

When exploring Manchester Art Gallery’s collections, Master Moon-Vase-maker Shin Gyung-Kyun, was particularly excited by the gallery’s Moon Vase – believing it is particularly special due to its origins and its decorative features which he found to be overwhelming playful.

In November 2017 Sam and Joe traveled together to Busan in South Korea to spend time learning from the Masters, and then onto Gwangju to spend time with emerging contemporary artists based there and associated with artist residency organisation Barim.

Join Joe and Sam at Manchester Art Gallery to hear them reflect on their experience, ask them questions and discover more about Treasure as it will unfold over 2018.

Joe Hartley

Artist-maker Joe Hartley worked as a butcher, a cook and a baker (among other jobs) before studying 3-D Design as a mature student, graduating from Manchester School of Art in 2012. Having started to work with ceramics at the age of ten, his high levels of skill have provided a bedrock for his exploration of clay and other materials. Joe uses objects, and the process of making them, to communicate ideas; the ideas and use dictate the form of what he makes. In 2016 Joe project-managed the building and fitting out of the Pilcrow Pub in Manchester city centre, working with groups from various communities to design and make the fittings for the pubs, in so doing engendering a sense of ownership and belonging. He then co-founded OH OK LTD based around a shared belief that places work better when everybody is involved with building them; OH OK LTD have launched a public fabrication workshop, created large scale public artwork, delivered a number of city centre events, and are overseeing the creation of public events and market space within NOMA.

Sam Buckley

Sam Buckley is chef/proprietor of the Stockport restaurant – Where the Light Gets In. It is here that Sam and the team explore nature and our connection to it through a ‘no choice menu’ often spanning 16 courses. Sam’s food is concerned with bringing the diner closer to the idea that beauty and intimacy are first found in the natural state of the produce itself. Sam studied with renowned chefs Simon Rogan at Enclume and Paul Kitching at Juniper. In between stints in the kitchen time was spent traveling throughout Europe and Asia watching closely how a community engages with their food culture to create strong community links and healthy bodies and minds.


The event is free, but booking is advised. Book now at Eventbrite.

The programme, Treasure, is a collaboration between Castlefield Gallery and Grizedale Arts in Cumbria, supported by the Arts Council Korea and Arts Council England. Castlefield Gallery are delighted to be among the 21 performing and visual arts projects in England and South Korea to receive awards from the joint-fund. The Arts Council England–Arts Council Korea co-investment sits alongside and complements the UK/Korea 2017–18 season, jointly organised by the British Council and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea.

BALTIC in the North East of England are leading a consortium of English organisations including Castlefield Gallery, FACT, Grizedale Arts, New Art Exchange, Site Gallery, Spike Island and Wysing Arts Centre that are working with Korean partners and artists to develop an Artists’ Residency Exchange Programme for emerging artists based in the UK and Korea.

Introduction to modern art: Impressionism to Surrealism

Interested in Modern Art? Then this course could be for you!

Through visual presentations and discussion, we will identify the major developments in Modern Art, from around 1870 with Impressionism, through all the major developments in art up to the Second World War. We will also compare cultural activity in places such as Paris and Moscow.

Course title: Introduction to Modern Art: Impressionism to Surrealism Part 1
Code: C3841253
Venue: Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL
Start date: 18:00 – 20:00 Thursday 11/01/2018
End Date: 08/02/2018 (5 sessions)
Tutor: Ian Irvine
Cost: £31.00 or free*

To enrol call 0300 303 3464

*If you receive certain benefits you may be entitled to a free course. Contact 0300 303 3464 for more details.

This event is delivered in partnership with the Workers Education Association (WEA).