Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester After Hours / Museums at Night

An evening of performance and discussion as part of the Whose Power on Display? series at Manchester Art Gallery. 

Manchester Art Gallery
Thursday 17 May 2018, 5pm–9pm

Free, booking required for some parts of the evening

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 filmed.

Writer and curator Ellen Mara De Wachter, Manchester Art Gallery and Whitworth Director Alistair Hudson and members of the 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.

Please note, due to unforeseen circumstances, David Dibosa will no longer be on the panel.

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