The Holden Gallery has a fully curated exhibitions programme that focuses exclusively on recent developments in international contemporary visual art. The programme combines early to mid-career artist solo exhibitions interspersed with the experimental, ephemeral Interruptions series of performances and events. The Holden Gallery is situated at the centre of Manchester School of Art, and housed in the original building which was built in 1880. The gallery space has remained an exhibition space since its initial purpose as the Textile Court, and retains many of its original architectural features. The exhibitions programme showcases significant artists at a pivotal point in their career by supporting the production and presentation of new commissions and a survey of work. Recent exhibitions include Simeon Barclay, Sof’yaShpurova and Yelena Popova. The Holden Gallery has gained national attention through press coverage in newspapers and art magazines including reviews in The Guardian and Art Monthly, and featuring regularly the Guardian Guide supplement.
Interruptions is a programme of one-off live art performances, workshops, and film screenings that takes place in the main gallery when it is empty between exhibitions, but also has the capacity to expand to digital platforms. Its format enables an experimental platform for presenting ideas, activating the gallery space in a different and ephemeral way. This programme nurtures and supports early career artists and recognises a need to test and deliver new or in-development projects to a live audience. The recent shift to a delivery of Interruptions projects online makes it possible to reach wider audiences and work with artists across the country and internationally, without the need to travel.
The short-term format of Interruptions allows the gallery to work with a large number of artists and partner organisations, but this has the potential to develop into more substantial, long-term working relationships. This fits with the Holden Gallery’s aim to expand digitally and externally, developing meaningful connections and initiating projects with partners and institutions internationally and enabling wider exposure for the artists we work with. Manchester Metropolitan University is a key member of the Manchester Network for Creative and Cultural Collaboration with China and therefore already has strong links with organisations in China. This is a fantastic opportunity to build on this and initiate a connection with a partner in China.
Collaboration Idea with China
We are looking for a contemporary visual arts gallery partner in Wuhan who share a similar purpose, vision and ambition. We want to build a fruitful partnership where we collaboratively build a supportive environment for artists in both the UK and China through a cross cultural exchange. Our Interruptions programme offers a flexible model for delivering art events, and I would welcome a collaborative curatorial approach with a curatorial team in a partner organisation to develop an ongoing project that supports the development and delivery of work by emerging artists on an international platform. This could include inviting a partner gallery’s represented artists being invited to participate in virtual residencies and participate in presenting work through Interruptions, and fostering collaborations.
The Holden Gallery also has the potential to tour projects from its programme of solo exhibitions to a partner venue in Wuhan, or likewise receive touring exhibitions from such a venue. This could be taken further to include the Holden Gallery and our Wuhan/China gallery partner co-curating projects together, enabling meaningful collaboration between the two organisations on a long-term basis. In either situation, it would provide a significant career milestone for UK-based artists to exhibit in China for the first time, and likewise for China-based artist to exhibit in the UK.
Manchester School of Art Team
Zoe Watson, Curator
Tim Brennan, Head of Art at Manchester School of Art and Holden Gallery Committee member
Andrew Hunt, Professor of Fine Art and Curating, at Manchester School of Art and Holden Gallery Committee member
Please find further info via the Holden Gallery website.