Art Manchester The city

Manchester International Festival: 1-18 July 2021

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MIF is just around the corner, the biennial event which brings a huge line-up of art, music, dance, theatre and much more to our community. If you’re staying in Manchester this summer, or are looking for an excuse to visit, this is the perfect way to explore the city and get a much-needed culture fix.

The festival spans across Manchester with events taking place in both traditional arts venues and some more unexpected spots around the city. Full-time students are able to access discounted tickets to the hottest events, but many others are free to enjoy. There are also a number of online events if you’re not able to or don’t feel comfortable travelling into the city – there really is something for everyone!

Here is just a selection of what’s on offer in the coming weeks…

Festival Square – free entry/no ticket required

The Festival Square is the heart of the festival and opens daily at Cathedral Gardens. No tickets are required, but you can expect fantastic food and drink, live music, DJs, tours and more across three brand new stages. After such a tough year, unwind with your friends for an afternoon of fun in the sun – weather not guaranteed!

Arlo Parks

In collaboration with a string section from the Royal Northern College of Music, Arlo Parks will be here in Manchester for one night to perform her hit debut album which has won her three Brit Award nominations and a sell-out US tour. This is definitely not one to miss!

Portrait of Black Britain – free/no ticket required

‘Portrait of Black Britain is me taking control of my narrative – asking other Black people to join me in the reintroduction of our presence and stories in the 21st century.’
Cephas Williams

This poignant exhibition will highlight a range of Black people living in the UK today, the contributions they make and the roles they play in society. Hosted at the Arndale alongside an online showcase, the work centres Black voices and is the first phase of a project that will ultimately produce the largest collection of photographic portraits of Black British people to date.

Captioning the City – free/no ticket required

What do we notice when we walk through a city? And what does it trigger within us – memories, emotions, sensations?

This incredible instillation will make you stop and see Manchester in a new light. As you stroll around the city, either following or stumbling across new captions, consider what Manchester means to you.

Postcards from Now – free/no ticket required

Although many of the events offer an escape from the ongoing pandemic, some pause to reflect on both our communal and individual experiences over the past year. Postcards from Now presents five distinct perspectives from leading international artists, coming together as a 5 part film series for you to enjoy from home in your own time.

All of This Unreal Time

If you’ve missed Tommy Shelby on your screens, check out this new film and immersive instillation, premiering on 1 July but available to watch on-demand thereafter.

It is so great to see culture in Manchester make a huge comeback this summer. See the full list of events here, and as always, remember to stay safe and have fun. If you need more inspiration for things to do in the upcoming months, see our recommendations of what’s on in Manchester this summer.

Image credits: Shaun Bloodworth, Charlie J Watts, MIF Festival Square

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