From captivating scientific wonder to stirring explorations of the human spirit, the change of season brings with it an unmissable set of exhibitions in Manchester and beyond.

As the region reinforces its reputation as a national hub for creativity, here are five incredible exhibitions to see in the North West…

Suki Chan: CONSCIOUS | The Bluecoat

Using photography, sculpture, virtual reality and three short films, critically-acclaimed artist Suki Chan creates a stunningly diverse study on human consciousness, the subjectivity of perception and how we consider reality itself in her exhibition at the Bluecoat Arts Centre, running until Sun 12 Jun.

In her film Memory, Chan juxtaposes the human lifespan with chasmic geological time-frames, while in Hallucinations she contemplates the nature of perception through the experiences of people living with dementia. Her latest of the three, Fog In My Head, expands upon the condition’s disorientating sense of isolation while weaving together abstract scientific material and real-life imagery. 

8 School Ln, Liverpool L1 3BX
Suzanne Lacy: Uncertain Futures & Cleaning Conditions | Manchester Art Gallery

Open at Manchester Art Gallery until Sun 1 May, Uncertain Futures and Cleaning Conditions are two community-oriented projects by LA-based intersectional artist Suzanne Lacy, who transforms the gallery area into an art and conversation space for Mancunians to discuss urgent social questions about labour and its relationship with class, race, gender and migration status.

Uncertain Futures confronts complexities around access to work, work itself and life after labour for local women over 50. Featuring workshops, talks and presentations, Lacy uses the space to signal-boost voices and experiences which are traditionally marginalised in discussions regarding labour. The exhibition features a film of her 2013 project Cleaning Conditions, which involved a group of volunteer ‘sweepers’ from community organisations across the city cleaning the gallery floors while discussing work conditions for cleaners across England.

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL
Suzanne Bethell: Lucky Dip | The Granada Galleries

Across the first and second floors of HOME from Fri 2 Apr-Sun 22 May, artist Suzanne Bethell presents a dizzyingly vibrant body of work featuring paintings, screen prints and assemblages to celebrate the raw power of colour.

Created at the beginning of lockdown, Lucky Dip’s deliberately garish journey begins on the first floor, which brims with large abstract paintings full of energetic markings and ‘flow state’ creations made as instinctive, unbridled reflections on joy and freedom. The second floor features a neon whirlwind of urban-themed screen prints and canvases, inspired by the architecture of Ancoats and New Islington.

2 Tony Wilson Pl, Manchester M15 4FN
Migration: A Human Story | People's History Museum

Running at the People’s History Museum until Sun 5 Jun, Migration is a compelling interactive exhibition that aims to challenge public preconceptions about migrants and their stories. Visitors will embark on a metaphorical migration, beginning with the ‘passport trail’, during which their journeys are beyond their control, with every next move decided by the spin of a wheel. Three poignant animations of migration stories will show throughout the gallery, alongside many more personal stories of contemporary voyages and a visual display of how universal voter enfranchisement became reality.

Left Bank, Manchester M3 3ER
Manchester School of Art’s Quartet | The Holden Gallery

Following on from two staggering shows at Manchester’s Holden Gallery, the second pair of the Quartet programme showcases the meteoric talent arising from Manchester School of Art across four creative disciplines. Open until Mon 11 Apr, the Architecture strand of the exhibition celebrates inventive landscape and building design from students at the Manchester School of Architecture—now ranked 11th worldwide. Design follows from Mon 25 Apr-Sun 8 May, and will spotlight every aspect of the field: textiles, graphics, illustration, animation and even interior design.

Grosvenor Building, Metropolitan University, Cavendish St, Manchester M15 6BR
Fri 1 Apr - Sat 30 Apr
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Fri 1 Apr 2022