From the House of Ghetto to Lucienne Day, here's our pick of Manchester's best exhibitions over the next two months

Below you'll find ten of the best theatre and comedy shows in and around Manchester throughout March and April. Not your bag? Well then how about the Top 10 Theatre & Comedy or Top 10 Gigs & Concerts  

RE-CONNECTED SPACE | GK Gallery | Until 23 March

Since opening last year with but a murmur, GK Gallery is now a popular Chapel Street fixture - known for both its tearoom offering and six-weekly exhibitions which showcase talented local artists. One of owner Gina’s greatest motivations is providing a space for emerging artists; the latest being acclaimed textile graduate Sophie Horrocks, whose ethereal fabric sculptures reference human anatomy and the environment.  

GK Gallery, 272 Chapel Street, Salford, M3 5JZ (9am-6pm Tues-Fri, 10am-5pm Sat-Sun; free). 

AFTER THE BEES | Manchester Museum | Until July

‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left.’ Albert Einstein prophecy is an alarming one, illustrating that the humble worker bee’s importance as more than just a Manchester emblem. Artist, photographer and filmmaker Megan Powell explores the haunting consequences of an imagined world bereft of pollinators in this surprising exhibition - informed by research at the University of Manchester.

Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL (10am-5pm; free). 

20170301 Artexmcr 2

THE BIG BIG CAMERA | Gallery Oldham | 21 January - 22 April

Forget the smartphones and lightweight SLRs, the camera in this exhibition is more like the size of a doll’s house. Having long been part of Gallery Oldham’s collections, the industrial relic - designed for 20 square-inch negatives - has been lovingly restored to its former glory by artist and photographer Ian Beesley, and used to create a series of large scale photos that will make you think twice about the whole process of taking a picture.  

Gallery Oldham, Greaves Street, Oldham, OL1 1AL (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; free). 

THE HOMELESS LIBRARY | Central Library | 31 January - 31 March

Amidst all the negative press surrounding homelessness, this innovative exhibition presents a refreshing side to the issue: ‘an untold chronicle that exists off the pages of official history books.’ With many rough sleepers living and dying as ‘invisibles,’ those affected in Greater Manchester have handmade the first history of British homelessness through narratives, interviews, artworks and poems; often recycling and customising second-hand books. This is the project’s third stop, following the Houses of Parliament and the Southbank Festival of Love. 

Central Library, St Peter's Square, M2 5PD (Mon-Thurs 9am-8pm, Fri-Sat 9am-5pm; free).

20170301 Artexmcr 3

DIARY DRAWINGS | Bury Art Museum | 4 February - 13 May

2017 marks the 50>span class="s2"> anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexual acts in England and Wales - signifying a gradual shift in attitudes towards LGBT+ rights in 1967 - while recent events have included the passing of the Alan Turing law and the announcement of Manchester’s first LGBT older person’s community. But the breakthroughs were a long time coming. Reflecting People History Museum’s Never Going Underground, Jez Dolan’s Diary Drawings explores the life of George Cecil Ives, who founded the world’s first secret homosexual society in 1891.  

Bury Art Museum, Moss Street, Bury, BL9 0DR (Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-4.30pm; free). 

SAUL HAY GALLERY AT THE PORTICO LIBRARY | The Portico Library | 17 February - 18 March

>span class="s1">TWO: Northern Abstracts, opened last month with a bustling bubbly-fuelled event and their launch was attended by the likes of Mayor Carl Austin-Behan. Now, Manchester’s newest gallery is making more arty waves with a temporary showcase at the Portico Library. Presenting the Saul Hay’s first roster of artists, the exhibition spans Mandy Payne’s spray-painted concrete works to the delicate leaf carvings of Omid Asadi. 

The Portico, 57 Mosley Street, M2 3HY (various times; free). 

20170301 Artexmcr 4

EDIT 01: PADDY HARTLEY | The Lowry | 1 April - 14 May

As part of The Lowry’s new Edits series, which offer a series of artist residencies, Paddy Hartley will create a constantly evolving installation that involves the excavating and moulding of clay into artworks inspired by battlefield archaeology. Like much of his other work, such as poppies created entirely from lambs’ heart tissue and horse hair, these are doomed to decay; part of an oeuvre that centres on themes of remembrance.  

The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ (Sun-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat 10am-5pm; free). 


House of Ghetto reveals the lesser known side of the term we normally associate with the longstanding fashion mag in this visual extravaganza. ‘Vogue’ is also a form of stylised dance and ‘performative posture,’ characterised by model-like poses that arose from the Harlem ballroom scene of the late twentieth century by often poor and disenfranchised LGBT African American communities - explored here through a centrepiece of six striking portraits. 

HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN (Tues-Sat 12-8pm, Sun-12-6pm; free)

20170301 Artexmcr 1


At first glance, Leahy-Clark’s depictions look possibly animal or human - on closer inspection, however, they morph into forms of a more otherworldly nature. Poetic rather than polished, the whimsical works reflect an intuitive ‘hands-on’ process; accidental drips, fingerprints, bubbles; ‘referencing the Freudian idea and surrealist practice of ‘free association.’ 

PAPER, Unit 12, Mirabel Studios, 14-20 Mirabel Street, M3 1PJ (Sat 11am-5pm). 

LUCIENNE DAY | The Whitworth | 14 April - 11 June

Part of The Whitworth’s GROW project, which promotes the benefits of horticultural activities to improve mental wellbeing, this celebration of the twentieth century designer and avid gardener will showcase some of the gallery’s extensive archive of Lucienne Day designs - as chosen by GROW participants. The textile exhibition also marks 100 years since Day’s birth as part of a year-long centenary programme

The Whitworth, Oxford Road, M15 6ER (Fri-Wed 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-5pm; free). 

20170301 Artexmcr 5