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Open House Events

Open House is a project that connects life lived in front of the wallpaper the 10,000 wall coverings looked after at the Whitworth.

Open House Events

Open House is a project that connects life lived in front of the wallpaper with the 10,000 wall coverings looked after at the Whitworth. From April 2022 to February 2023, we are holding a series of events to help launch the project, hear your stories, gather photographs, and help strengthen these connections.

Find out more about the Open House exhibition here

Where is Home?
A pop-up exhibition, 13 August 2022 – 26 February 2023

We host Where is Home? within Open House. Marking the 75th anniversary of the Indian Partition and the 50th anniversary of expulsion from Uganda, this project shares stories about South Asian migration to the UK and setting up a home in a new place, through interviews, objects, and archive materials. In collaboration with Inspirate.

Closing Celebration
Thursday 23 February 2023
6-8pm Free, booking essential
Click here to book your free place

Join us to mark the end of the project.

Open House Microsite – call for your submissions
Running throughout 2023

Do you have photos and memories of life lived against the backdrop of wallpaper? Share them with us and help build the Open House archive. Selected contributions will go on display in the exhibition, on the project microsite, and in the Open House 'family album' book. Find out more and contribute: #wallpaper

Share with us online:

Visit the microsite here:


Past event | Online Symposium
Open House: Unlocking the Whitworth's wallpaper collection
Thursday 2 February 2023, 12-3.30pm
Free, booking essential

Open House is a collections research project that unlocks the social potential of the Whitworth’s extensive collection of twentieth-century wallpapers, revealing untold stories about home life.

Through 2022 Open House has gradually unfolded through an exhibition; a volunteer project to photograph 5000 of the Whitworth's everyday wallpapers; an extensive programme of public events; and a call out to gather your photos and stories about life lived against the backdrop of wallpaper, which has been displayed in the exhibition and will be collated in a book.

This online symposium is a chance to explore wallpaper designs from the 1950s to the 1990s and their social contexts, and reflect on a year of Open House activity so far, with contributions by researchers, curators, and artists.


Zoe Hendon, Head of Collections at the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA), Middlesex UniversityZoe will introduce key design trends in wallpaper from the 1950s to the 1990s, and how these correspond to changing social contexts.

Rose Sinclair, Lecturer in Design Education, Goldsmiths, University of London
Rose will spotlight Althea McNish’s wallpaper designs and her influence on British home style through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, including the democratisation of interior design thanks to the rise of DIY culture. Rose is the co-curator of Althea McNish: Colour is Mine, currently on view at the Whitworth.

Michael McMillan, Associate Lecturer for Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion, UAL
Michael will reflect on his research for his book The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home (Black Dog Press, 2009) and the process of curating the permanent display, A Front Room, in 1970 at the Museum of the Home.

Joanne Turney, Professor of Fashion and Textiles, University of Southampton
Joanne will focus on pattern, texture, touch, and sensual experience as a new way of experiencing home, and as part of wider post-permissive experiences of the world through consumer goods in the 1970s.

Volunteering opportunities

We recruited volunteers to help photograph and document our collection of 10,000 wallpapers.
Click here and email Fiona Cariss, our Volunteer Manager, to register your interest in future projects.



The Open House collection research project has been developed with the generous support of Arts Council England’s Designation Development Fund.

The exhibition has been made possible through Art Fund Respond and Reimagine.

Image: Open House, Drop-in event, 2022. Photo: David Oates