Featuring delightful winter light trails, interactive football game installations and the final chance to journey through Ancient Egypt, Manchester’s December exhibition schedule features some of the most insightful, engaging creative work in the country.

Here are the top eight exhibitions around the city in December.

Check out the best exhibitions around Manchester in 2023 here.

And Then A Sudden Sun Explodes | Saan1 | Northern Quarter | Thu 7 - Sun 10 Dec

From Thu 7 to Sun 10 Dec, Northern Quarter arts space Saan1 hosts a profoundly compelling exploration of Tim Copsey’s arresting pottery. Inspired in the abstract by the diverse seasonal landscapes of the Peak District, and augmented by Japanese techniques and prehistoric ceramics, works like Waterfall tread the conceptual line between function and sculpture as an end in itself, producing a playful, elemental blend of beauty and aesthetic surprise.

5 Kelvin St, Manchester M4 1ET
Batteries Not Included | The National Football Museum | Wed 12 Jul - Sun 25 Feb 2024 | £0-£13 (Admission)

Perfect for footie-loving families on a summer holiday afternoon, Batteries Not Included charts the history and development of football toys and games, their profound influence on our core childhood memories and formative years, and our abstract conceptions of the beautiful game. Featuring seventeen interactive games and exhibits including updated classic pastimes, a variety of arcade games and the generation-bridging tabletop nostalgia of Subbuteo, the National Football Museum’s latest exhibition transports visitors from the Victorian Era to the present day through the evolution of football-based games and the cultural influences which shaped them throughout.

Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, M4 3BG, Tel: 0161 605 8200
Lightwaves | Salford Quays | Thu 7 Dec - Sun 10 Dec | FREE

One of many enchanting light trails around Manchester this winter, Lightwaves festival returns to Salford Quays on Thu 7 Dec and features work from a diverse assortment of established and emerging artists, both local and national. Visitors of all ages can enjoy a series of captivating installations which transform the waterside area every year.

Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3UB
Operation Ouch! | The Science and Industry Museum | Fri 21 Jul - Jun 2024 | From £9

Open now in the Special Exhibitions Gallery, the ‘world premiere blockbuster exhibition’ based on the BBC Children’s TV series series Operation Ouch! invites guests to head into the digestive system for an gleefully immersive journey through super-sized science, where visitors can finally experience the POV of poo.

Featuring interactive experiences, a variety of fascinating items from the Science Museum Group’s collection and digital assistance from Dr. Xand, Dr. Chris and Dr. Ronx, the exhibition combines silliness and science to provide a unique insight into the complex odyssey undertaken by everything we eat. Visitors will travel through various tracts and tubes in an exploration of food as fuel, our inner ‘poo-duction line’ and the ways in which our systems fight bacteria, while embracing our funniest bodily functions and the ‘glorious grossness’ inside us all.

The Science and Industry Museum, Liverpool Rd, Manchester, M3 4FP
Traces of Displacement | The Whitworth | Fri 7 Apr - Sun 7 Jan 2024 | FREE

Utilising The Whitworth Gallery’s extensive collection as a revelatory anthropological blueprint, Traces of Displacement gathers a fragmented yet existentially connected set of stories which collectively explore themes of persecution and resilience, alongside the lived experiences of the artists who, displaced in their homelands, have defiantly thrived in exile.

Artists from the collection include Raisa Kabir, Tibor Reich, Bashir Makhoul, Otti Berger, Cornelia Parker, Cecily Brown, Ana Maria Pacheco, Frank Auerbach, Max Ernst, Dusan Kusmic, William Holman Hunt, James Mcbey, Francesco Simetti, Frank Brangwyn, Edward Ardizzone, Edward Bawden and Theodore De Bry, Clare Leighton Hope, Ian Rawlinson, and Oskar Kokoschka amongst others.

The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER, Tel: 0161 275 7450
Golden Mummies of Egypt | Manchester Museum | Sat 18 Feb - Sun 31 Dec | FREE

Located in Manchester Museum’s new exhibition hall, a space dedicated to hosting ambitious installations which examine past, present and future, the immensely popular Golden Mummies of Egypt continues to introduce visitors of all ages to the fathomless wonder of Ancient Egypt with over a hundred artefacts and eight immaculately preserved sarcophagi, each of aids in providing fascinating insights into the unique perspectives on the afterlife held during the little-known Graeco-Roman period.

Stop by Manchester Museum to enjoy ancient history brought to life before the exhibition closes for good on New Year’s Eve.

Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9PL, Tel: 0161 275 2648
Collaborative Prints | The Stoller Hall | Until Mon 1 Jan | FREE

On display until New Year’s Day, The Stoller Hall’s Jeremy Haworth Gallery showcases large prints produced by artists Jasper Howard and Isaac Jordan, who explore the limitless potential of the form in search of a new visual vocabulary, while hoping to establish a connection between art and music through their common terminology – rhythm, chance, motifs, texture, structure – and a presence in their temporary home.

The Stoller Hall, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1DA, Tel: 0333 130 0967
Fri 1 Dec - Sun 31 Dec
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Tue 12 Dec 2023