Featuring over 80 events across the North West between February and July, the award-winning Muslim Arts and Culture Festival returns with a veritable feast of free and ticketed family-friendly events spanning literature, art, photography, comedy and more in a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the Muslim diaspora communities across the world.

Taking place once again in a hybrid format, MACFEST features both live events in Manchester and beyond and online events hosted from Afghanistan, Albania, Dubai, Hawaii, Indonesia, Pakistan, Scotland, Canada, South Africa and the USA, presented in collaboration with some of the region’s best organisations, including Manchester Lit & Phil, Manchester Histories Festival, Creative Manchester, MOSI, Manchester Museum, Bury MET, Gaskell House, The Lowry, University of Salford, Central Library and more.

Following a series of Youth Festival events across local schools throughout February, MACFEST officially kicks off with a fun-filled Opening Ceremony at the Whitworth on Sat 2 Mar. Running from 10.30am-3pm, the event offers an unmissable selection of art and entertainment including exhibitions by Beena Nouri of Sheba Arts, Asmaa Al-Neama, Venture Arts, Bradford-based illumination artist Ihssen Berrais and Yaran North West, alongside a fascinating array of workshops spanning, Calligraphy, Felting, Mosaic and Silk-Painting and Turkish Illumination Art.

There will also be live performances by a Turkish folk dance group, the Nile Arabic School, singing by Aminah Mohammed and many more, capped off with a welcome address from Diane Hawkins JP, The Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and Qaisra Shahraz MBE, executive director of MACFEST, and speeches broadcast from around the world.

Alongside the diverse events line-up taking place throughout February for the Youth Festival, MACFEST presents a wondrous programme of themed festivals within its schedule, including Women, Ramadan, Environment, Museums, Eid, Libraries and more. Each sub-festival brings its own unmissable selection of highlights, from the Lowry Eid Musical and an Eid Science Extravaganza to special in-conversation events with an illustrious line-up of speakers including writers, academics, photographers, comedians, poets and newsreaders, from celebrated British author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to comedian and actress Ola Labib.

The latest iteration of MACFEST also promises the return of the incredible Muslim Women’s Arts Festival. Part of the Muslim Women’s Art Foundation, a longstanding sister company of MACFEST UK, the Muslim Women’s Arts Festival celebrates the immensely talented Muslim women artists and creators both locally and around the world, with a programme of more than twenty events hosted in the North West, Afghanistan, the USA and beyond, featuring over 75 renowned women artists, from poets and writers to performers and cultural pioneers.

This year, MACFEST also launches its inaugural Arts Awards, showcasing and rewarding the finest work by North-West Muslim artists and hosting their art in a special exhibition at the University of Salford in November, with awards available in Calligraphy, Drawing, Painting and Photography, as well as an Overall Prize Winner. Keep up to date with details and how to enter here.

For more information about MACFEST, click here, and check out their full programme brochure here.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post

Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Mon 15 Jan 2024