The Whitworth Wednesday Talks: Update


Below is a fuller schedule of The Wednesday Whitworth Talks. The talks are funded by The Department of Art in partnership with The Whitworth Gallery. They form a key aspect of our vertical teaching offer – an opportunity for students and staff to engage with international visitors about contemporary art. I would encourage everyone to go.

Wednesday, 7 February, 12:30-2pm, Free – John Davies
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, Davies 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, Davies 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,12:30-2pm, Free – Fabian Schöneich
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, 12:30-2pm, Free – Richard Wright
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, 12:30-2pm, Free – Sonia Boyce
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 the 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, 12:30-2pm, Free – Alistair Hudson
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.

You can listen to a selection of previous talks in the series here:

Tim Brennan
Professor of Art
Head of Department of Art
Manchester School of Art

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

Wednesday 17 January – Peter Hill
In the spirit of his long-term project examining the relationship between installation art and literary fiction, Peter Hill describes himself as Assistant Press Officer for New York’s Museum of Contemporary Ideas. The non-existent institution is Hill’s own invention, one of his ‘superfictions’ that blur the lines between fictional creation and reality. Hill, who was born in Glasgow, worked briefly as a lighthouse keeper and spent most of his working life teaching at the excellent art school in Hobart, Tasmania, has written extensively about the use of fictitious identities and false evidence in contemporary art and has lectured on the subject around the world. He has now extended the topic ‘to look’, in his words, ‘at the terrible work of Donald Trump and to show that fake news is not as new as Trump thinks it is.’

You can also listen to many of the previous lectures here:

I am awaiting to hear details of the rest of the programme for this term and I will update you once I know more. Please let everyone know and encourage colleagues and students to go along as this is a critical aspect of our vertical pedagogy.

Tim Brennan
Professor of Art

Head of Department of Art
Manchester School of Art