Factory International and WOW have announced details of first-ever WOW Manchester, set to take over Aviva Studios this May.

From Fri 24 May – Sun 26 May the world’s biggest, most comprehensive festival celebrating women, girls and non-binary people, aims to bring people together to find solutions to the pressing issues of gender inequality and celebrate the achievements of women, girls and non-binary people both in the Northwest and globally.

On Fri 24 May, WOW Manchester presents an evening with artist and author, Melanie Brown. Celebrating the launch of her critically acclaimed memoir, Brutally Honest, Mel and journalist and co-author Louise Gannon will sit down for an unfiltered discussion on Mel’s journey from being a Spice Girl and global icon, to Women’s Aid patron and champion for survivors of abuse.

This will be one of WOW Manchester’s headline evening ticketed events, with others to be announced. The event will go on general sale on Fri 16 Feb.

Day Tickets for both Saturday and Sunday will go on general sale on Fri 2 Feb, as well as weekend tickets

Opening the festival with a powerful Moment of Unity, WOW’s founder Jude Kelly will bring everyone together to reflect on the highs and lows of the last five years of progress. Repeated at intervals throughout the festival, these moments will also feature performances, interviews with special guest speakers and more.

Throughout the weekend, household names, local activists and artists will present their big ideas to change the world, whilst inspiring thinkers, activists and renowned speakers will hold frank and lively sessions on everything from the climate, masculinity, menopause myths, reproductive justice, gentrification, divorce, the murky history of the fashion industry, sandwich caring, and orgasms, to urgent conversations around women and conflict with accounts from first hand survivors.

Sessions will also celebrate women and non-binary people in Manchester’s music scene, explore how iconic buildings can shape our cultural landscapes, and discuss football’s ability to transcend boundaries.

In the lead-up to the festival, The WOW Foundation’s custom-built WOW Girls Festival Bus will park up at Aviva Studios on Fri 1 Mar as part of the last leg of its UK-wide tour.

Designed by artist/designer Emma Hardaker working with inspiration from Getaway Girls in Leeds, the WOW Girls Festival Bus is an interactive space created with and for young people. The Manchester stop will include WOW Speed Mentoring for up to 120 young people from the Greater Manchester area and mentors from across the UK, and school visits led by Factory International’s Creative Learning team.

You can find more information about WOW Manchester on the Factory International website, here.

Fri 24 May - Sun 26 May, Factory International,
Aviva Studios, Water Street, Manchester, M3 4JQ
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Fri 2 Feb 2024