Manchester has long been a poster child for innovation, from its canals and railways to the iconic counterculture that helped it evolve from its industrial past — and now the city is embracing a flurry of openings and makeovers to guide its post-lockdown future. Chief among them is the revamp of the Manchester Jewish Museum, which has doubled in size thanks to an extension that’s been two years in the making. There’s a new gallery, learning studio and cafe, while the restored, 19th-century onsite synagogue plays host to an immersive installation by Turner Prize-winning artist Laure Prouvost until the beginning of October. The Science and Industry Museum, meanwhile, has unveiled a new Special Exhibitions Gallery — the first stride in a long-term renovation plan that will see improved connections with the city and a goal of achieving net-zero emissions.
Building on Manchester’s credentials as a UNESCO City of Literature is the Manchester Poetry Library, set to open later this year at Manchester Metropolitan University. It’ll be the shining new beacon on a literary trail that also includes Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, now complete with a recently unveiled bedroom. Meanwhile, having toured 70 cities in the past 10 years, the immersive, multi-sensory Van Gogh Alive experience is set to pitch camp at Manchester’s MediaCity this October. The travelling exhibition will fill a 17,500sq ft venue with 360-degree screens, a sunflower-flanked trail and a walk-in reconstruction of Bedroom in Arles, bringing the Dutch master’s work to life with spectacular style.
Further ahead, all eyes will be on The Factory, a new cultural space scheduled for completion in late 2022. The venue will act as an avant-garde home to the team behind the biennial Manchester International Festival, and its year-round programme of events will cover the full artistic gamut, from visual exhibitions and large-scale installations to dance, music and theatre performances. Ahead of the official opening, a series of online artworks inspired by the project’s architecture, people and history — and foreshadowing its digital ambition — is available at virtual-factory.co.uk.
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