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Wednesday Talks

Wednesday Talks invites leading artists, thinkers and curators to explore the driving forces, influences and sources of inspiration within contemporary art.

Wednesday 24 January - Paul Moss

(12:30-2pm, Free)

Paul Moss studied fine art at Newcastle University where he met Miles Thurlow and in 2002 the two artists founded Workplace in Gateshead. Initially an artist-led group, in 2005 Workplace became a gallery focused on developing the international careers of artists from the region, one of the most economically deprived areas of the UK. The gallery quickly established its presence on the international art fairs circuit and in 2013 opened a second venue in Mayfair, London. Its stable of artists ranges from recent graduates to such established names as Eric Bainbridge, Marcus Coates and Matt Stokes and its programme has become an important part of the cultural life in the North of England. In 2017 Workplace expanded its activities further and set up Workplace Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting and exhibiting emerging and under-represented talent and countering the lack of opportunity that exists outside London.

Wednesday 31 January - Dora García

(12:30-2pm, Free)

The collaborative performances, participatory situations or installations and  various forms of interactive works of the renowned Barcelona artist Dora García, alongside her texts, films, drawings, photographs and books, comprise a unique artistic position on the margin of the conventional production, presentation and reception of art. Borrowing from the radical art of the past, artistic or political subcultures, psychoanalysis, popular literature, theatre and film, her work is dedicated to the exploration of a fluid relationship between the author, actor, the audience and the public, and between artistic experience and everyday life. She often takes the place of an outside observer while her collaborators, historical figures, literary characters and fictional personas, and the viewers themselves, become protagonists in open-ended scenarios resisting closure through feedback and intervention. García represented Spain at the 54th Venice Biennale and participated in documenta 13 and many other important exhibitions. Her first institutional solo show in the UK, These books were alive; they spoke to me!, took place at The Tetley, Leeds, last year.

Wednesday 7 February - John Davies

(12:30-2pm, Free)

The work of John Davies, one of the foremost British photographers in the landscape tradition, is distinguished as much by its sensitive exploration of the abstract qualities of light and a sense of space as by its rigorous analysis of the complex interaction of the forces of nature, culture, economy, human enterprise, politics and history. Since the early 1980s, Davis has produced an astonishing body of work documenting the transformation of rural and urban industrial and post-industrial Britain and especially the North West of England. He has published more than twenty books and his work has been shown in some of the world's most important galleries, such as Museum of Modern Art, New York, Pompidou Centre, Paris, the Royal Academy of Art and the V&A in London. In recent years, Davis has also become involved as an environmental activist in his home city of Liverpool.


Wednesday 14 February - Ben Cain

Ben Cain's work with sculpture, installation, video, print and performance poses questions of the viewer's role in cultural production and occasionally involves elements of audience participation. He often uses the form of the poster, either to complement his installations or as a work in its own right, to articulate a key theme, which he sees as 'addressing the reader as one who might belong to a potentially effective group, gently urging them to consider the implications of their status as a member of the public.' Cain was born in Leeds and studied at Manchester Metropolitan University in the late 1990s and completed his studies at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. His work was seen last year in Manchester at the Castlefield Gallery's temporary space The Great Medical Disaster. He lives in London.


Wednesday 21 February - Fabian Schöneich

(12:30-2pm, Free)

Until the end of 2017 Fabian Schöneich was the curator of Portikus, an independent gallery connected to the renowned Städelschule Academy of Fine Arts in Frankfurt. He was previously the assistant curator at the Kunsthalle Basel and at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. For the last two years he has been advising Frieze Art Fair on the selection of younger and emerging galleries from Europe, Africa and Asia and on the pioneering programme of performance and participatory art, Live, and in 2013 and 2014 he curated the Performance Project of LISTE, the young artist's art fair in Basel. During his career Schöneich has worked with artists such as Stan Douglas, Michael Dean, Simon Denny and Anne Imhof among many others.


Wednesday - 28 February - Richard Wright

(12:30-2pm, Free)

Richard Wright is one of the celebrated generation of artists that emerged from Glasgow in the mid-1990s. He is best known for his elaborate temporary paintings produced in response to the architecture directly on the walls of the space. Their intricate patterns and imagery, meticulously executed in paint or metal leaf, are derived from sources ranging from baroque ornaments to modern decorative arts or medieval Illuminations to gothic graphics and in their complex references demonstrate Wright's subtle understanding of art and cultural history. Alongside these, Wright makes drawings, watercolours and prints on paper and has recently expanded into site-specific installations using leaded glass windows. Wright won the Turner Prize in 2009 and has shown in major exhibitions and institutions worldwide. He is currently working on a large-scale commission for the new Tottenham Court Road station in London opening this year. He lives in Glasgow.


Wednesday 7 March - Sonia Boyce

(12:30-2pm, Free)

Sonia Boyce is an artist and educator whose practice relies on an open process of collaboration and participation. Since the 1990s, her work has developed from drawing and collage as the means with which she explored her position as a British-born Afro-Caribbean artist to a form of art as a social practice that originates in the spontaneity of live collective improvisation. The resulting works in photography, installation, video and sound often reflect her deep interest in music, its history and its relation to memory and the sense of cultural identity.  In 2007 Boyce was awarded an MBE for services to the arts and is Professor of Black Art and Design at University of the Arts London. She had a solo exhibition at Cornerhouse in 1998 as a culmination of a year as artist-in-residence at the University of Manchester and is currently preparing for her first retrospective to open at Manchester Art Gallery on 27 March.


Wednesday 14 March - Alistair Hudson

(12:30-2pm, Free)

Alistair Hudson, a native of Manchester, returns to the city as the new director of the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery. He has a strong record as a passionate advocate of the democratisation of art as a tool for effective social change and, in his words, looks forward to working 'on projects that have real impact in people’s lives.' In his previous post at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art his vision has helped to establish the institution as an accessible community-based 'useful museum' while also attracting international attention for its exhibitions programme and collections. Between 2004 and 2014, Hudson was Deputy Director of Grizedale Arts in the Lake District, which gained critical acclaim for its approach to linking artists' residencies to the place and local population. He was a jury member of the 2015 Turner Prize and chairs Culture Forum North, a network of partnerships between higher education and cultural institutions.


Listen to Graham Eatough's Wednesday Talk from 1 November




Hear our previous 'Tuesday Talks' and other audio recordings on the Whitworth's Soundcloud stream



D'Arts Festival

A one night only, city wide social. A mix of odd couplings and unexpected partnerships. A chance for you to get into places and spaces not normally open after hours. It’s Museums at Night, It’s Manchester After Hours.

D’Arts Festival hits the cultural bulls-eye at the Whitworth for Manchester After Hours

Visual arts meets Darts on Thursday May 12th when these two vastly contrasting worlds come together for one night only for an original and unexpected cultural fusion – D’Arts Festival - as part of the annual citywide and nocturnal arts extravaganza - Manchester After Hours.

Produced by Engine Productions in collaboration with the Whitworth, part of the University of Manchester, A180 Darts, top Manchester beer Manchester Pale Ale (MPA), Creative Tourist and Culture24 – this dynamic D’Arts Festival brings together local darts teams and leading artists for a one of a kind darts tournament right from heart of this award-winning and internationally acclaimed gallery.

Enhancing this bespoke fusion of darts meets arts are specially commissioned, never seen before oches on which the competitors will play. Designed by four professional local artists: Mary Griffiths, Jai Redman and Joe Hartley (in collaboration with) Rob Bailey, each oche has been created as a response to their grand setting, with all four artists seeking inspiration for their sporting creations from the Whitworth’s vast and eclectic collection.

The brainchild of artist and Engine co-founder Jai Redman, the D’arts Festival has come about from the desire to challenge notions of “value” in the art world. By inviting the public to literally throw darts at these brand new creations, situated amongst some of the city’s finest treasures, he is opening up the debate around “preciousness” and how and why we save and preserve art.

As Redman comments: "There has always been a lively debate about art’s worth. We all have our own views about what constitutes a national treasure. You’ll get politely asked to step away from a Grand Master’s painting in any gallery if you get too close, but you’ll also get in trouble if you try to bounce on Tracy Emin’s bed. I love that we all enjoy the debate, even if we don’t always appreciate the object. It’s a small step from there to having a proper darts competition in an art gallery."

This one off tournament takes place for Manchester After Hours at the Whitworth from 7pm (doors open at 6pm) with the grand finale at 10pm.  Limited places are still available for local and interested darts teams (made up of 5 players). The competition will run along the 501 ‘Best of 3’ format.  Entry is £20 per team – and free to non competitors and spectators.  Details of how to enter: 

For the winning team there will be a cash prize of £500 and £250 for the runner up.  The beer, Manchester Pale Ale and the bar for the evening will be supplied by Manchester brewery, JW Lees.  Alongside the main event is a host of pub themed activities taking place within the rest of the Whitworth’s gallery spaces for the enjoyment of competitors and spectators alike. There will also be a live screening of the darts finale from 10pm to ensure everybody catches the winning throw!

Manchester After Hours - noted for its unique and dynamic creative couplings - forms part of the national Museums At Night celebrations taking place across the UK in May. This innovative pairing of darts and arts epitomises the spirit of both Manchester After Hours and Museums At Night - which aim to offer one off and exciting collaborations and cultural partnerships between venues and city-wide spaces that would not otherwise come together or open their doors after dark.

This D’Arts Festival is one of a number of similarly unique and exciting events taking place across the city for Manchester After Hours on May 12th. Most events are free and will bring the city’s vibrant arts scene together and to life at dusk. Full MAH listings are available here:

Maria Balshaw from The Whitworth comments:” The Whitworth is delighted to work with the dynamic team at Engine on D'arts Festival for Museums at Night. It's almost twelve months since we won the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year prize for our engagement with local communities while closed for redevelopment, and we continue to look for bold and challenging ways of engaging new, diverse audiences. In this spirit, we look forward to welcoming the darts teams, fans and Manchester artists to our Grand Hall in May for this exciting collaboration. “

William Lees-Jones, Managing Director, JW Lees adds "We love the off the wall concept behind this D'Arts Festival and are excited to be helping bring together the unique, lively culture of Manchester arts, the historic Manchester Dartboards and locally brewed Manchester Pale ale. The Manchester After Hours event looks set to be a huge success and we can’t wait to see everyone enjoying a pint of MPA in the gallery.”


Listings Info:

D’Arts Festival as part of Manchester After  Hours

Thursday 12th May

The Whitworth

250 Oxford Rd., Manchester M15 6ER

Doors Open to the public: 6pm

Darts Competition begins: 7pm.

Grand Finale: 10pm


Please note spaces are limited in the Grand Hall for watching the actual tournament and entrance to spectators will be on a first come served basis.

Admission is free to spectators