Sunday, 1 May 2011

Task 6 - 31.4.11

Hi Liz: I am going to be moving to the North West area after my residency in June-July in China.  This will be a big change for my partner and I after 6 years of living in London.

What for you are the highlights/strengths of the visual arts scene in the North West, particularly Manchester?

Hi Jenny: There are some key galleries/ art organisations in Manchester and indeed the North West. In terms of main art galleries some of the smaller venues have some really exciting programming developing, obviously there is Chinese Arts Centre, but also Castlefield Gallery is one to visit. Cornerhouse is a larger venue that is well worth a look at, particularly its film programming. Some of the most exciting places for me in Manchester are actually the artist studios, and I imagine the studio rent in Manchester will seem massively cheaper than in London. I am based at Islington Mill Studios - the studios home a huge number of multi-discipline artists, run a residency programme, as well as loads of other events based programming, with two gallery/ project spaces and a club venue. Other artist studios to visit are Rogue Artist Studios, Mirabel and Suite Studios, all of which have something interesting on offer.
Generally as someone who lived the past 6 years in Glasgow, since returning to Manchester I have been made to feel extremely welcome in the arts scene here. There is an enthusiasm to meet with new artists and art pracitioners here, which is something you don't always get in some cities unless you actually studied at the art school there first.

In terms of the North West, I would not miss a chance to visit Liverpool and see FACT (foundation of creative technology - I love some of the work they do there), and also a little further afield is Grizedale Arts in Cumbria, they run a brilliant residency programme there.

And then we are also home to a number of festivals that your work would actually be quite well suited to, in particular Future Everything Festival and AND.

I could go on but there are loads! Hopefully this will give you a good starter into the Manchester arts scene.

Hi Liz: Thanks, this is helpful. Yes, organisations and venues such as CAC, Castlefield and Cornerhouse are what attracted me to the area, alongside an approachable and proactive arts communities. I have been in touch with a few studios about potential, although I had not heard of Suite.  Similarly, Grizedale Arts and the AND festival were new to me.  I am actually presenting a paper at FACT in September, so I am looking forward to visiting it then! Thanks :-) .....

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