Manchester Art Gallery

Dan Dubowitz and Alan Ward: Citizen Manchester

An artwork by Dan Dubowitz and Alan Ward which embedded 40 large-scale interventions within the fabric of Manchester Central Library and Manchester Art Gallery.

Manchester Art Gallery
Saturday 22 March 2014–Sunday 22 June 2014


Manchester Central Library reopened to the public following a four-year transformation project on Saturday 22 March 2014.

Unusually for a public project of this scale, the builders Laing O’Rourke commissioned the artists not to showcase or document the building work but to explore the meaning to Manchester of the buildings’ transformation. Through photographs, recording tales and research into the city archives over a period of 18 months, they captured the moment when the city’s populace had been locked out and the spaces reduced to their merest shells. These glimpses into the buildings’ soul reveal quite unexpected stories.

The artwork provided insights on the reciprocal relationship between people and place, revealing how the refurbishment of a building can go far beyond physical refurbishment and questioning the relationships between a city, its citizens and place.

The exhibition and the accompanying book, published by Manchester University Press, explored the relationship between a city’s civic buildings and its citizens.


Dan Dubowitz is a British-born artist based in the UK and Italy. An architect by training, since 2002 Dubowitz’s practice has focused on photography and the transformation of post-industrial society. Recent works include, Wastelands and Fascismo Abbandonato, Dewi Lewis Publishing.

Alan Ward is based in Manchester, UK and is well-known for his book design and publishing collaborations with artists. He has previously developed several series of photographic works based around the subject of ‘place’.

Dubowitz and Ward have also collaborated on the critically acclaimed The Peeps, published by Manchester University Press in 2011.