Stories of Women, Work and Uncertain Futures

March 8, 2024  -  January 5, 2025

Free Admission

Image: Mark Thomas, Soup Collective

Stories of Women, Work and Uncertain Futures is the third, and concluding, exhibition of Uncertain Futures, an immense collaborative work combining art, research and activism that spans five years. It explores paid and unpaid work by women over 50, focusing on gender, age, race, disability, class and migration. Created by women from Manchester’s diverse communities with the US artist Suzanne Lacy, a pioneer of social practice art and community organising, it aims to create civic change and affect social policy.

A new three channel film highlights the multiple inequalities around work faced by women as they age. Excerpts from 100 interviews undertaken in 2021 are narrated within a theatrical space by a core group of project leaders. The layered voices and accounts verify the universality of these experiences. The film will be shown alongside a project manifesto calling for change, a photograph of the 100 women interviewed and a documentary which outlines the research findings.

Uncertain Futures - Reseach findings. Filmed by Soup Collective.


International recognition for Uncertain Futures

Developed with academics from the University of Manchester: School of Social Sciences, and Manchester Metropolitan University: Faculty of Health and Education, Uncertain Futures is an art and research project where 14 women, all activists and leaders in their communities, constituted an Advisory Group, which met regularly over 4 years and participated in all decisions, research analysis and public events. Working collectively to advocate for policy change, they have identified and made public the many interconnected issues confronting older women and work. The findings of this unique, co-produced art and research project are now available.

Uncertain Futures Report 2023
Seven women from the Uncertain Futures project smiling an holding up copies of the report in the gallery

The Advisory Group is Akhter Azabany, Manchester resident, Erinma Bell, CARISMA Services, Sally Casey, Aquarius Tenants and Residents Association, Atiha Chaudry, GMBAMEN (Greater Manchester Black Asian Minority Ethnic Network), Rohina Ghafoor, MBMEN (Manchester Black Minority Ethnic Network), Marie Greenhalgh, Wythenshawe Good Neighbours, Teodora Ilieva, Manchester resident, Tendayi Madzunzu, ZIWO (Zimbabwe Women’s Organisation), Jila Mozoun, Raha – Women’s Voices, Elayne Redford, Work and Skills Manchester City Council, Nadia Siddiqui, Women’s Voices, Circle Steele, Wai Yin Society, Patricia Williams, Neighbourhood Officer MCC, and Louise Wong, Wai Yin Society

The project is led by Ruth Edson, Learning Manager: Communities, Manchester Art Gallery. The Researchers are Dr Elaine Dewhurst, University of Manchester and Dr Sarah Campbell, Manchester Metropolitan University. The exhibition is curated by Natasha Howes, Senior Curator, Manchester Art Gallery.

Uncertain Futures has been funded by Manchester City Council, Arts Council England, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester, Awards for All Community Fund, University of Southern California and the Evan Cornish Foundation.

The film premiered, along with film and sound components in the two prior exhibitions, were co-created with Manchester filmmaker, Mark Thomas of Soup Co.

Stories of Work, Work and Uncertain Futures has compiled a list of organisations that are available for independent help and advice if you need support following any of the issues raised in Uncertain Futures.

Manchester Art Gallery is not affiliated with any of these organisations nor are responsible for the service they provide.

Download the list here

You can download a large print version of the artwork’s label here.