6th - 22nd October 2017

Manchester Art Gallery

Imtiaz DharkerChris Bull

Author Deborah Levy in front of mannequins at the Manchester Art Gallery exhibition Fashion and Freedom in 2016Jon Parker Lee

Image of Ned BeaumanBenjamin McMahon

Author Kamila Shamsie reads her 2014 Commisison at Manchester Art GalleryJon Parker Lee

headshot of Jen Hadfield infront of landscape painting

  • Imtiaz Dharker
  • Author Deborah Levy in front of mannequins at the Manchester Art Gallery exhibition Fashion and Freedom in 2016
  • Image of Ned Beauman
  • Author Kamila Shamsie reads her 2014 Commisison at Manchester Art Gallery
  • headshot of Jen Hadfield infront of landscape painting

Imtiaz Dharker – Six Poems North and South
Imtiaz Dharker was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Art Gallery to create a sequence of new poems responding to the New North and South programme of exhibitions celebrating the shared heritage of South Asia and the North of England. The work was performed in the galleries on Friday 20th October as part of the 2017 Manchester Literature Festival. You can read the resulting work by clicking on the link above. You can also hear Imtiaz reading her poems here.

Deborah Levy – Fashion and Freedom
Deborah Levy was commissioned by the Festival to write a piece responding to the exhibition Fashion & Freedom at Manchester Art Gallery (13 May to 27 November 2016). Co-commissioned with the National 1914-NOW programme, the exhibition explored the impact of WW1 on women's fashion and featured the work of designers including Vivienne Westwood, Roksanda and J JS Lee. You can read Deborah's resulting work, 'Fashion and Freedom', by clicking on the link above, or here on the Fashion & Freedom site

Hear an audio recording of Deborah reading her commissioned work for the first time at the event by clicking here.

Ned Beauman – An Oral History of the Nov Lik
Ned Beauman was commissioned by the Festival to write a piece responding to the exhibition Matthew Darbyshire: An Exhibition for Modern Living at Manchester Art Gallery (25 September 2015 to 10 January 2016). The artist’s largest solo show to date, it brought together sculptural environments with new works and investigated the links between collections, objects and identity. You can read Ned's resulting work, 'An Oral History of the Nov Lik and its Legacy (Some Names Redacted)', above.

Kamila Shamsie – The Sensory War
Kamila Shamsie was commissioned by the Festival to write work responding to “The Sensory War: 1914-2014” exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. The exhibition, which ran 11 October 2014 – Sunday 22 February 2015, explored how artists have communicated the impact of war on the body, mind, environment and human senses across the century. You can download her resulting short fiction works, “War Stories, Mostly Not Mine,” above.

Jen Hadfield – A Highland Romance
Jen Hadfield was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival to write a sequence of poems responding to A Highland Romance: Victorian View of Scottishness exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, showing 20 September 2013 – 1 September 2014. The resulting wok was performed at a special event in the Gallery on 10 October 2013. You can download a copy of the poems above and you can hear Jen reading her poems here.

Jean Sprackland – Work
Jean Sprackland was commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival to produce a series of poems responding to the exhibition Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer at Manchester Art Gallery. The resulting poems WORK, ETC were performed at a special event as part of Manchester Literature Festival at Manchester Art Gallery on Tuesday 18th October 2011. You can download the texts of the poems above and listen to podcasts here.

John Siddique – Lustre
John Siddique was jointly commissioned by Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Art Gallery to respond to the exhibition Exporting Beauty: Pilkington’s Pottery and Tiles, featuring over 100 pots and tiles made by the world famous Pilkington’s Tile and Pottery Company between 1893 and 1938. The resulting poems draw inspiration from the exhibits and the craftsmen and craftswomen who lovingly fashioned them; channelling nature in all its glory, from the elements that forged the clay to the animals at Belle Vue Zoo which one of the artists used to visit as part of his observational process.

You can download a PDF version of John's commisisoned poems Lustre above, and watch a film produced by Littlestar Media Productions below.