One-day Festival Across Manchester Announced – Art Assembly 2022


    • Art Assembly 2022, with the theme of City as Art School will take place across multiple venues and in the streets of Manchester city centre on Saturday 18 June
    • A series of new works co-created between ten Greater Manchester artists and student groups, some located in surprising spaces, will explore places of creative learning beyond the art school walls
    • A major new project reimagines Manchester 8000 years into the future
    • New paid opportunities for young people in the Student Art Pass network to work as Art Assembly Coordinators in Manchester
    • A live podcast event at HOME will kick off the celebration.


On Saturday 18 June, Art Fund with a collective of Manchester’s leading arts organisations will present the one-day festival, Art Assembly 2022 – City as Art School. The event celebrates the idea of the city as an art school and champions culture as part of educational experiences for all people.

The festival advocating art and creativity is organised by Art Fund with Castlefield Gallery, HOME, Manchester Art Gallery, the Whitworth and The Manchester College. It will present newly co-commissioned and co-created artworks and installations across the city, from established arts venues, busy squares and streets to billboards, pavements and more.

Eight new art works by ten Greater Manchester artists, developed and produced in collaboration with students and learners plus a major project with artist David Blandy and young artists at Venture Arts will be situated throughout the city to explore how everywhere has the potential to become a place of creative learning. Their work encompasses a broad range of media, from film and painting, to textiles, installation, performance and music.

Art Assembly takes place during Our Year which celebrates Manchester’s children and young people with a whole-city approach to help them shape a future that’s safe, happy, healthy and successful. It’s a year of action, together, to create more activities, opportunities, experiences and support.

There will be a live recording of Art Fund’s award-winning podcast Meet Me at the Museum in front of an audience at HOME. Meet Me at the Museum first launched in 2018 and offers insights into the vast cultural offer across the country, taking listeners to places that provide inspiration, spark conversation, and enrich lives.

Meet Me at Art Assembly: Live Podcast with Russell Kane

11.00, Sat 18 June at HOME

Book Now

Manchester Art Gallery will be the hub of the festival, hosting several of the new works including Respawn by artist Olivia Glasser, featuring videos of children from Plymouth Grove Primary School re-enacting actions that are important to them in childhood and exploring what they’re not allowed to do now that they want to do when adults!

Parham Ghalamdar is collaborating with Art and Design students from The Manchester College to produce large scale paintings on canvas as well as A.I. generated animations and projections that have been inspired by an exploration of the city’s art scene and its hidden gems.

Trails and the opportunity to explore the city with a fresh perspective is a feature of several of the new commissions. David McFarlane and Raheel Khan are working with young people from Manchester Secondary Pupil Referral Unit to map ‘personal geographies’ and experiment with augmented reality, bringing the maps to life.

Maya Chowdhry is working with students studying MA Fine Art and MPhil courses from Manchester School of Art to explore ‘space as a gift’ by creating pop-up plinth installations inside Manchester Art Gallery and in St Peter’s Square as platforms for performance art. The plinths will also act as an art material exchange, where the plinth becomes the space for a ‘free exchange’ of donated, scavenged or gathered materials.

Stencilled botanical designs will decorate the streets in the city centre, inspired by the 18th and 19th century working-class botanist societies in Manchester where members would meet in pubs to discuss their latest plant finds, as part of a collaboration between fashion students from The Manchester College and artists Anna FC Smith and Helen Mather. The artists and student spent time researching at Chetham’s library before embarking on their design work.

Poster designs exploring climate emergency, created by students from Abraham Moss Community School with artist Sam Owen Hall will feature on outdoor sites between the school and the city centre. The group have devised their own typography to indicate both their hope and despair about the current crisis.

Taking as its starting point the bobbin, Sally Gilford’s commission with the University of Salford’s School of Art, Media & Creative Technology students tackles women’s issues not often discussed within the curriculum. Linked to the area’s previous life in textile production and used as a shorthand for something that is rubbish or nothing, large-scale bobbin installations in art supplies shop Fred Aldous will spill out towards the Outhouse referencing women’s stories such as the First in the Fight suffragette banner first unfurled in the Square on 20 June 1908. Fred Aldous originally produced the baskets for transporting bobbins and is now a place outside art school walls where a strong creative community exists while the Outhouse on Stevenson Square was a place where historically people gathered to protest.

A guerrilla photography exhibition will grow throughout the day long festival and displayed on construction site hoardings as part of Robert Parkinson’s collaboration with The Manchester College photography students. Using a portable Xerox printer transported on an all-terrain cart, the group will print their photographs that relate to each display location.

Through a series of online workshops, artist David Blandy and young artists from the Venture Arts’ studio have been reimagining Manchester 8000 years from now, resulting in a zine Lost Eons: Three Worlds. For Art Assembly, David and the young artists Niamh, Raven and George, will be transforming their collaborative work into an immersive installation at Manchester Art Gallery. They will be inviting the public to join them in speculative world building, to share and create their own vision for Manchester far into the future.

A series of film testimonies by pupils at eight Manchester schools, about how and why all arts disciplines are valued within the curriculum, will form part of the project City as Arts Schools, jointly realised through Curious Minds and Manchester’s local cultural education partnership MADE.  The films will be shown throughout the day on screens at Manchester Art Gallery as well as having a life after the festival online.


As part of Art Assembly 2022, Art Fund has also committed a £10K Student Opportunities grant to fund four new paid opportunities for young people in the Student Art Pass network to work as Art Assembly Coordinators. These four roles will support the Marketing, Production, Front of House and Evaluation of the festival, and promise an exciting, short-term, paid opportunity for each student to gain relevant knowledge, skills and experience of working in the arts and cultural sector.

Art Fund believes all young people have a right to culturally rich activity through the UK’s brilliant museums, galleries and historic houses. At a time of unprecedented financial difficulty, museums’ future resilience relies on reaching new audiences and serving their local communities more meaningfully than ever.  In November 2021, Art Fund launched a public campaign, Energise Young Minds, to enable them to spend £1 million to help museums and galleries across the UK to inspire children and young people. Projects like Art Assembly are only possible thanks to the generosity of those who responded to this campaign, and Art Fund’s members, supporters and legacy donors who are vital to all aspects of their work.

Art Assembly 2022 is a one-day festival championing art and creativity, brought to audiences by Art Fund with some of Manchester’s leading arts organisations including Castlefield Gallery, HOME, Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth and The Manchester College.

Art Assembly 2022 is funded by Art Fund, Arts Council England, Manchester City Council, The University of Manchester and The Granada Foundation

For further details and how to book tickets for the events and podcast, visit

For downloadable press images, please go to:


Art Assembly 2022
Saturday 18 June 2022
Various venues and locations, Manchester FREE


Media enquiries: Please contact


Notes to editors:

Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. It provides millions of pounds every year to help museums to acquire and share works of art across the UK, further the professional development of their curators, and inspire more people to visit and enjoy their public programmes. In response to Covid-19 Art Fund made £3.6 million in urgent funding available to support museums through reopening and beyond, including Respond and Reimagine grants to help meet immediate need and reimagine future ways of working.  A further £2million has been made available for the 2021 Reimagine grant programme. Art Fund is independently funded, supported by the 130,000 members who buy the National Art Pass, who enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic places, 50% off major exhibitions, and receive Art Quarterly magazine. Art Fund also supports museums through its annual prize, Art Fund Museum of the Year. The winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021 is Firstsite in Colchester.

At Castlefield Gallery (Est. 1984), we make new art possible. We are dedicated to the advancement of contemporary visual art. We are artist facing. We work with artists and creatives in Greater Manchester and beyond, at all career stages. We support them to develop their practice and careers, and to find ways not just to make art, but to make a living. We do this through our gallery, and its free exhibitions and events that are open to all; through tailored career and practice development support; through our 200-strong artist Associates scheme; through the provision of low-cost studio and project space; through commissions and co-commissions; and through collaboration with universities, including annual graduate programmes that provide mentoring, coaching and more. For 35 years, we have supported young and older artists, new graduates right through to established artists, connecting them to each other, and to our international network of curators, arts organisations, artists and collectors. Castlefield Gallery’s international work is focused on exchange between artists in the North West of England, and the rest of the world. We have an established track record in public art commissioning and public realm animation and activation. We are a female led organisation and a registered charity. Castlefield Gallery is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and Manchester City Council Cultural Partner. Our Artist Patron is the celebrated Ryan Gander, OBE.

HOME is Manchester’s centre for international contemporary culture. Since opening in May 2015, HOME has welcomed over three million visitors to its two theatres, five cinemas, art gallery, book shop and restaurants. HOME works with international and UK artists to produce extraordinary theatrical experiences, producing an exciting mix of thought-provoking drama, dance, and festivals, with a strong focus on international work, new commissions and talent development.  HOME’s ambition is to push the boundaries of form and technology, to experiment, have fun, take risks and share great new art with the widest possible audience. The patrons of HOME are Danny Boyle, actress Suranne Jones, playwright and poet Jackie Kay CBE, artists Rosa Barba and Phil Collins, filmmaker Asif Kapadia, and actress and author Meera Syal CBE. | Twitter @HOME_mcr | Facebook HOMEmcr | Instagram @homemcr


The Manchester College is one of the largest general further education college in the UK, and together with UCEN Manchester (LTE Group’s higher education provider), the number one provider of 16-19 and adult education in Greater Manchester. As the number one college in Greater Manchester for achievement and having been rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted across all areas, we are fully committed to equality of opportunity for all and support more students to go on to university, work or further study than any other institution in Greater Manchester. Collectively, The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester offer technical education, T Levels, work-based learning, foundation learning, adult education, higher education and corporate training, working with leading employers to launch careers for a work-ready Greater Manchester. The Manchester College is part of LTE Group, the first integrated education and skills group of its kind in the UK and the largest social enterprise in the country dedicated to learning, training and employment. The Group employs 5,000 people and provides education, training and employment opportunities to over 100,000 learners.

The Group is made up of specialist organisations – The Manchester College (further education), UCEN Manchester (higher education), Novus, MOL and Total People – all with a shared mission and values.

Manchester Art Gallery is the original useful museum, initiated in 1823 by artists, as an educational institution to ensure that the city and all its people grow with creativity, imagination, health and productivity. The gallery is free and open to all people as a place of civic thinking and public imagination. It promotes art as a means to achieve social change with its origins from the Royal Manchester Institution for the Promotion of Literature, Science and the Arts.  It has been at the centre of city life for nearly 200 years and has been proudly part of Manchester City Council since 1882. The gallery is for and of the people of Manchester. Through its collections, displays and public programmes it works with all our constituents to ensure creativity, care and consideration infect all aspects of the way we live. This is an art school for everybody and for life.

The Whitworth is proudly part of The University of Manchester, operating as a convening space between the University and the people of the city. It was founded in 1889 as The Whitworth Institute and Park in memory of the industrialist Sir Joseph Whitworth for “the perpetual gratification of the people of Manchester” and continues this mission today in new contexts. In 2015 the gallery undertook a £17 million redevelopment by architects MUMA, which doubled the public space, creating new facilities to house the collection of over 55,000 works of art, textiles and wallpaper. Along with expanded gallery spaces, a study centre, learning studio, and collections care centre, the gallery reconnected with its park, with communal gardens and outdoor programmes. The gallery is driven by a mission to work with communities to use art for positive social change, and actively address what matters most in people’s lives. This new vision has been developed as part of an international dialogue about how to evolve and adapt museums to a constantly changing world. This work is underpinned by three key concepts: learning together, through making and doing; creating a place of care, consideration, and community; taking action.