Enjoy free pop-up exhibitions across the city centre as the Unit X Festival celebrates the next generation of artists. Manchester School of Art students bring collaborative works to numerous venues for a week of creativity, with venues taking part including Manchester Art Gallery, the Craft and Design Centre, Soup Kitchen and Caustic Coastal. The festival is the result of coursework from Unit X, a series of projects and placements that sees students working alongside the city’s leading academics and industry professionals. The festival crosses all aspects of art, and you should check out these highlights:

Film & animation: Inspired by Ceremony / NEO
Filmmakers were challenged to respond to Ceremony, the Engels-themed project for Manchester International Festival by Turner Prize-nominated artist Phil Collins. The result will be 30 super short films on large digital screens at Bruntwood’s NEO Building. Bruntwood have also given an open brief. There will be a public launch on Tues 9 May (6-8pm), and the films will run until Friday. During the week, Unit X participants will be working on the furniture design for Festival Square, which is the hub at the heart of Manchester International Festival ahead of the festival launch at the end of June. Whet your appetite for all things MIF by checking out the festival’s furniture designs as part of an Unit X showcase at Plant, NOMA.

Art & design: Identity
The futuristic world of 3D printing meets interior design as Unit X artists create a range of pieces to be displayed in Manchester’s quirkiest independent bookshop, Chapter One on Lever Street. Chapter One has already made a name for itself with excellent cakes and an eye-catching fountain. The art objects will be placed around the bookshop and aim to inspire conversations on its title theme, Identity. There’s is a public preview (Wed 10 May 6-8pm) following by general opening from 10am on Thursday 11 May.

Textiles: Punk Project
Malcolm Garrett, co-founder of Design Manchester, has worked with Buzzcocks, Magazine and Simple Minds. For Unit X, he came together with students to explore the punk movement and attitudes to fashion for older people. The results of this stylistic Punk Project will be on display at Manchester independent art store Cass Art. There will be a preview on Wed 10 May (6pm-9pm) which is open to all, with the main exhibition running from 10am the following day (Thurs 11 May). If you can’t make this event, clothing will also be explored at MIAO and Rebel Tartan (Fri 12 May, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Arts), which compares and clashes the two ancient worlds of Miao embroidery and blue heart tartan.

Dance & movement: Creativity in Motion
Lovers of dance will enjoy the inspirations behind the artwork and films on display at the Deaf Institute on Grosvenor Street (Thu 11 May, 6-9pm). Unit X designers, directors and interactive artists have created work based around body movements, including those of dancers from the Northern Ballet School, Manchester’s centre for classical ballet and musical theatre. From minimalist architecture to arts activism, there are many free events on which to feast your eyes at the Unit X Festival. Check the website for full listings, and don’t forget the free launch exhibition Future Intelligence at Manchester School of Art itself (Mon 8 May, 5-8pm).

Mon 8 May – Fri 12 May, various venues and times, FREE, www.art.mmu.ac.uk


Mon 8 May - Fri 12 May
Fat Roland
Published on:
Thu 11 May 2017