Category Archives: Special Features

Manchester weekend coverage

The Manchester Salon Weekend 2012 has now come to an end, with the big highlight being the FutureEverything festival that celebrated new technologies, art, and music.

A summarised coverage of the weekend can be found here

For more insight see Corridor8’s interview with curator Omar Kholeif here


Manchester salon weekend showcases city’s visual arts

Manchester, Saturday 19 to Sunday 20 May 2012

A weekend of artist-led discussion, curator insights, technology and popcorn takes place in Manchester from 19 to 20 May as part of the final North West Visual Arts Open of 2012.

An exciting programme of free public events has been organised by galleries and venues across the city to showcase and promote access to local and international artists and their work.

The North West Visual Arts Open weekends have been organised to encourage artists and people interested in the arts from other towns and cities across the North West to visit new galleries, or places they haven’t been for a while, to experience what the visual arts has to offer and current developments in artist’s practice. Successful weekends have already taken place in Liverpool and Preston in 2012.

Key highlights of the Manchester weekend include:

Saturday 19 May

Chinese Arts Centre

Exhibition: 60 Minute Cinema

10am to 5pm, FREE

Enjoy the latest video art from Mainland China in the second instalment of 60 Minute Cinema at Chinese Arts Centre with free popcorn and Chinese tea; including work by Zhao Liang, Cao Fei, Yang Fudong and Jun Yang. Exhibition continues until 9 June 2012.

1830 Warehouse

Exhibition: Future Everybody

10am to 5pm, FREE

Eighteen international artists from sculptural, video, sound and digital fields display their work in this exhibition, which is part of Future Everything 2012. The exhibition is hosted in the 1830 Warehouse, a Grade 1 listed building which forms part of the Museum of Science and Industry’s site in Castlefield. Exhibition continues until 10 June 2012.

Victoria Baths

Craft fair: Handmade

10am to 5pm, Entry on the door £2

Handmade is an interactive craft fair for artists combining craft and digital technology. Visitors will have the opportunity to create their own DIY artworks. Alongside Handmade there will be a Zine Symposium displaying Manchester ‘zines’  with workshops for visitors to contribute to a Victoria Baths Fanzine. Part of Future Everything 2012.

Castlefield Gallery

Artist talk: Artist-Led Platform #1

6 to 8pm, refreshments from 5.30pm. FREE

For this special event Castlefield Gallery has brought together artist-led projects Rogue Project Space, Blank Media Collective, the Artist Bonfire and the Lionel Dobie Project amongst many others. A series of short presentations on their current activity and future plans will lead to an audience led Q&A. Further discussion may continue until 9pm and then most likely the pub.

Sunday 20 May 

Manchester Art Gallery

Curator Tour and drop-in workshop 

11am to 3pm, FREE

Explore Haroon Mirza’s sculpture A Sleek Dry Yell featuring Richard ‘Kid’ Strange with curator Kate Jesson. Discuss the use of sound in contemporary art and then enjoy a hands-on drop-in workshop, recording your own found sounds to make a musical composition. Suitable for all ages.

Castlefield Gallery

Exhibition: Put Your Money Where Your Eyes Are

1 to 6pm

Castlefield Gallery are having a special open day for this Manchester Salon Weekend, giving visitors an extra chance to see the work in their fundraising auction Put Your Money Where Your Eyes Are. More than 50 donated artworks will be on show from artists and curators including: Pavel Büchler, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Gordon Cheung, Shezad Dawood, Mike Chavez-Dawson, Leo Fitzmaurice, Rachel Goodyear, Naomi Kashiwagi, Mark Leckey, David Mackintosh, Haroon Mirza, Peter Saville, Mit Senoj, David Shrigley and Liam Spencer. Online bidding starts 4 May and works are viewable in the gallery from 11 May by special appointment only. All bids close with the auction at the gallery on 30 May 2012.


Curator Tour:  Subversion

2 to 3pm, FREE

Subversion is a major new socio-political group exhibition curated by Omar Kholeif, who will host this public tour. This event is free however booking is essential via Following the tour meet us in the ground floor foyer to walk round to UHC and the next event.

Ultimate Holding Company

UHC roundtable discussion: Art, Design, Activism and Occasional Property Development

3:30 to 4:30pm, FREE

Ultimate Holding Company (UHC) is a group of creative pioneers and provocateurs operating at the junction of contemporary visual art, engaged design practice and social activism. Recently UHC began working in partnership with property developers ASK on a series of conversations on the areas surrounding Manchester City Council’s new cultural development at First St. This round table will bring together members of UHC with invited guests to interrogate how artists and activists can build effective and ethical relationships with the private sector, and utilise the constraints of the economic downturn to create the space for risk and adventure. Following the discussion, join us for a brief walk to Castlefield Gallery, to view their fundraising auction exhibition Put Your Money Where Your Eyes Are.

Join the conversation on Twitter #nwopen

Acetate Steps Image Gallery

Acetate Steps, a special event featuring Carol Ramsay and Pamela Sullivan’s site-specific installation with sound by Iain Yell, celebrated the joy of the mix tape on the first day of Liverpool’s North West Visual Arts Open. If you missed it, then check out the beautiful images we have from the evening.

Take a peek inside the full gallery slideshow by clicking the image below:

Cracking The Curatorial Video

Cracking the Curatorial was the first seminar held at FACT as part of the Open CuRate It initiative which continues throughout the next three months.

Creative programming and ways of curating were discussed in a room full of  people from all walks of the arts world, from young students to retired programmers. This helped generating a very rich and informal exchange of ideas which led to a rise in enthusiasm with the constructed notion that curating a meaningful creative programming is accessible to anyone who is willing to network and make the best use out of their passions.

Speakers included Abigail Christenson from Tate Liverpool, with a back story on institutional investment in community collaboration; Nina Edge on using participatory media for art and activism and why institutions need to be more open; Neil Morrin on his work with Defnet Media; Jennifer Welch on her mediated garden project; and Wolstenholme Creative Space on the struggles of running a community based arts organization.

Watch the full seminar video stream by clicking the link above.

Enter Dialogues with Natalie Hughes

My Five New Friends private view and talk at The Royal Standard will be one of the focal points on Saturday, March 3 – the second day of the NorthWest Visual Arts Open 2012.

The event starts at 2pm and promises discussion around the highlights of the exhibition – the loneliness and isolation created by social networking sites – and on artist Oliver Braid’s general studio practice. Audience participation will also play a role – the aim is to get “as much input as possible” while promoting a vivid bilateral discussion. Present will be artist Oliver Braid; writer Stephen O’Toole, who will be giving a live reading of his interpretation on the exhibition’s texts; and an art-psychotherapist, who will contribute with conceptual background for the discussion.

We got in touch with Natalie Hughes, one of The Royal Standard’s directors, who tells us more about the private view and talk, and also shares her expressed concerns and positive thoughts on the North West region’s arts scene.

What should visitors expect from the Talk?

Braid’s talk for Critical Mass / Dialogues will begin with a short talk outlining his general studio practice and research followed by a more specific introduction to the exhibition itself.

Braid has been working with Stephen O’Toole, one of the writers who guest edited the online version of My Five New Friends ( He will be bringing him to the presentation to give a live reading of his interpretation of the website texts. Braid has also invited an art-psychotherapist to give a live reading of the entire project. The art-psychotherapist has already been granted access to the exhibition and online archive in preparation for her ‘assessment’ of the situation, which will be delivered to Braid, ‘live’, in front of the audience.

Considering that this will be the final day of My Five New Friends, what is your opinion on the public response to the overall exhibition?

I think that the exhibition has divided opinion somewhat. Braid’s ethics and working methods have been called into question by some, but this is what I feel makes the show so interesting. In the age of Facebook, where anyone and everyone who is part of its extensive network can be found, stalked, contacted, or not contacted, ‘added’, ‘unfriended’, admired from a far, have their photos used without their knowledge etc, My Five New Friends makes us ask the questions we often avoid when considering social media. It highlights the loneliness and isolation created by social networking sites as well as examining what it means to put yourself on show for all the world to see.

What role does this initiative play in the NorthWest Visual Arts Open?

Oliver’s Braid’s talk on Saturday 3rd March is a free event, open to the public. Along with the Reactor Micro-Project, happening at the Bluecoat on the same day, it will mark the start of The Royal Standard’s new ‘Dialogues’ programme. This is a year-long artists’ professional development programme, which will provide opportunities for the Northwest’s Creative community to discuss, develop and examine their artistic practice through a series of talks, workshops, seminars, open forums and commissioned works. This programme has been developed in response to the professional needs of practicing artists in the area. It has been designed to be open, rather than didactic, by offering opportunities after each event to discuss ways to further develop the themes explored. Dialogues has been designed to allow its audience as much input as possible, letting them shape the programme’s direction.

So where does Braid’s talk, Reactor Micro Projects and Dialogues fit in with the Northwest Visual Arts Open? Well, on one level it offers the public an insight into the creative practices of young, contemporary artists in the UK and on another level it offers people the opportunity to get more directly involved by contributing to Dialogues and be part of a regional art-scene that is continuing to grow in significance and ambition.

In your opinion what is the relevance of an event like the NorthWest Open?

It is an opportunity for the region to become better integrated. Improving links between the creative individuals and organisations is very important. There’s so much going on in the region but I feel that there is little communication between its art-scenes, and all the good stuff that happens rarely comes close to reaching its potential audience, this needs to be improved.

A Tribute to the Mix Tape or Acetate Steps and DJ Nick Power on Re-discovering the Joy of Tape

This Friday, following the much-anticipated seminar Cracking the Curatorial at FACT, all the attention will be drawn to Acetate Steps and its open-to-all aftershow party – an accumulation of events to celebrate the joys of tape recording and the original ‘mix tape’. 

Beginning at 7pm, Arena Gallery will open its doors for visitors to view and experience Acetate Steps, a collaborative site-specific installation by Arena artists Pamella Sullivan and Carol Ramsay with a sound piece by Iain Yell. When the 8pm bell rings, it’s time to move to Camp and Furnace 9 for the after party, featuring an exclusive DJ set by Nick Power from famous Liverpudlian band The Coral.

What does Nick have in mind for the event?

He told us that “good tunes” from the 70’s and 80’s are guaranteed, with highlights on “70’s CBGB’s, Soul, 60’s Psych” and other “alternative sounds from that era”.

When asked what people can expect from the party, Nick said: “I won’t be there to educate anyone…. just to play good tunes! Some will be recognisable, some may not. Hopefully it will be enjoyable though!”

As usual, entry to both events is free, and everyone is invited, so there’s no excuse for missing out on the nostalgic fun to be had on the first day of NorthWest Visual Arts Open 2012.

Boo Chapple on Cracking the Curatorial

This Friday, March 2nd, FACT is the host to Cracking the Curatorial, a one-off seminar and discussion on curating as an important form of public meaning making. More on the event here

Cracking the Curatorial is also the launch event for Open Curate It, a three month programme of events and an online participation space designed to experiment with new models of curation and institutional engagement through emerging forms of media. We caught up with Boo Chapple, project leader for Open Curate It, who tells us more about the seminar, its aims and its role in NorthWest Visual Arts Open…

What is Open Curate It and its aims?

Open Curate It is a FACT led programme of events, workshops, classes, seminars, a discussion forum and online open ‘wall space’ designed to engage with the curatorial function of playlist culture. We all curate stories, images, and our lists of the best stuff. We publish our interests to social media sites and suggest what others might find meaningful. Over the course of the programme we will be talking about and experimenting with how these practices might be better engaged by arts organisations such as FACT and help us to be more connected to our community.

What should people expect of the opening seminar Cracking the Curatorial?

The focus of the seminar will be on discussing the question of institutional-community collaboration with respect to the popular function of curation in social media culture. What is the role of an arts institution in providing a framework for this kind of meaning making, what are the institutional agendas at play, and how can organisations become better connected to their communities through participatory media?

There will be presentations from Abigail Christenson (Tate Liverpool), Nina Edge (artist and community activist), Neil Morrin (Defnet Media), Caroline Smith and Priya Sharma (Wolstenholme Creative Space), Jennifer Welch ( and an open space for participants to pitch a 5 minute presentation on their angle on institutional collaboration.

What role does this initiative play in the Northwest Visual Arts Open 2012?

It’s all about the question of ‘Open’. It’s a chance for visual arts professionals and community to come together and engage in some robust discussion about what being ‘open’ means.