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Manchester Open Exhibition 2020: Selection Committee

Meet the Committee

Entries to the Manchester Open Exhibition 2020 will be judged and curated by a selection committee chosen for their unique perspectives and their belief in the power of art to inspire and unite communities.

Jamil Abdulkader is a member of the Age Friendly Manchester Board. He is originally from Tanzania, East Africa and has lived in Manchester for over 48 years. After finishing university he joined a bank where he worked for 30 years before taking well-deserved retirement. Since then, he has worked as a volunteer in the local neighbourhood of South Manchester. He is a Trustee at the Levenshulme Inspire Task Force which has featured in the national news for the work it has done to highlight issues for the older people of Levenshume. As part of the Ambition for Ageing programme, he is a member of the Equalities Board and the GM Older Peoples Network.  He loves being a Culture Champion because he gets plenty of opportunities to visit the theatres and art galleries, his favourite being the Lowry as his own artistic ability only extends to drawing a stickman.  

Monique Jarret is one of the Directors & Co-Founders of TripleC – Creative Confidence Collective; using theatrebased art forms to create confidence for those with disabilities as a collective of disabled and non-disabled artists. TripleC run several projects including a Mental Health Choir and DANC – Disabled Artists Networking Community; bringing both Disabled Artist and the Media Industry together to create change and break down barriers for inclusion. Monique is a National & International Wheelchair Dance Champion, a model with Zebedee Management and works for a special needs school. Monique has been involved with the arts from 14 years of age through projects with Full Circle Arts and Cornerhouse. Since then she has continued this relationship and worked across multiple projects with HOME through both Full Circle Arts and TripleC .

Anne Louise Kershaw is Community & Outreach Programme Producer at HOME. She is a queer feminist independent curator, producer, artist and writer based in Stockport, where she has always lived. She is producer and Curator of Horizons Festival at HOME has worked with Manchester Art Gallery, People’s History Museum, Wonder Women Festival and Manchester International Festival, and is co-director of Instigate Arts. She has tried her hand at most things; been in a band, a writer, a photographer, a designer, an actor(ish), a poet, ran a magazine, a studio, and done all sorts of arty stuff. She was banned from having a business multiple times at schools (selling bobbles, badges, wrist bands), sat on the naughty boys table from age 6 and staged her first feminist protest in class aged 8. Anne Louise strongly supports the idea of art as inspiration and means to make positive social change. 

Bren O’Callaghan is Curator, HOME, with an independent practice as a producer, curator and artist based at artist studio collective, Paradise Works in Salford. He has worked for HOME and formerly Cornerhouse for the past ten years. Prior to this he was a journalist and producer with the BBC specialising in arts and culture. Bren grew up above his parent’s newsagents shop in Rusholme, sold ice-creams as an usher at The Palace Theatre and Opera House and has worked for multiple creative organisations in the city, including Abandon Normal Devices Festival and Future Everything. His own work explores collaboration and creative compulsion, ranging from the now legendary Sketch-O-Matic booth (1,000 portraits drawn to date!) and Scratch ‘n Sniff live cinema series. He is currently filling a bathtub with folded crisp packets to make some sort of point about everyone being capable of making art, even if they don’t realise it.  

Mario Popham is a photographer and curator in Manchester who is developing a visual arts program at Waterside, a dynamic multi-arts venue in Sale, Trafford. Across two gallery spaces the venue makes high quality contemporary art and photography available outside of the Manchester’s city centre while developing and showcasing local talent from the Trafford and Greater Manchester area. Mario’s own photography has a deep interest in the history and narratives that surround our relationship to nature and the landscape. His recent long-term collaboration with artist Tom Baskeyfield, Of Flesh and Stone looked at the slate industry and how it reshaped the mountain communities of North Wales while roofing the new centres of industry in England. Mario was born in Kamakura, Japan and moved to UK aged nine, first to London before settling in Manchester where he studied for a degree in Photography at Manchester School of Art.   

Kate Vokes is a Trustee of the Oglesby Charitable Trust which has given around £23m to regional charities, many in the arts, including the Whitworth, Royal Exchange, Contact, Lowry, Bolton Octagon and MIF. The Trust helped HOME to introduce the Inspire discounted ticketing scheme reaching new communities. This year she will sit on the judges panel for the Bruntwood Prize for playwriting. Kate is also the Director of Social Impact at Bruntwood, responsible for the property business’ many relationships in support of its purpose to create thriving cities.  Bruntwood has its own art collection contributing to brightening spaces but also story-tell and challenge perspectives. Favourite examples are works developed in partnership with the Manchester School of Art, a piece of the Street Poem created by Karl Hyde with MIF and street art developed for With One Voice, both telling stories of homelessness. Kate is a supporter and appreciator of art and can be found in the audience rather than as a creator. 

Helen Wewiora is the Director of Castlefield Gallery, established in 1984 and located in Manchester’s much loved Castlefield conservation area. The gallery creates opportunities for people to engage with contemporary art of our time and focuses on developing visual artists’ practice and careers of all stages in the North West, whilst operating artists’ production and project spaces across Greater Manchester. Helen grew up in Manchester and then studied and worked in London for organisations such as Tate. Since returning to her home city she has worked in ranging capacities between Liverpool and Manchester whilst also raising a young family. Helen has undertaken the roles of Programme Manager for the Foundation for Art & Creative Technology (FACT), Media Curator at Cornerhouse, Visual Arts Officer and Relationship Manager for Arts Council England, whilst working independently as a writer and Co-Director of curatorial and producing agency wewioraprojects. 

The Manchester Open is supported by: