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Manchester Panel: UK Election 2017

24 May 2017, 6:30 - 8pm
Book Online

Following Theresa May's sudden announcement, The Portico Library has assembled a panel of key political commentators to discuss the general election and the recent Greater Manchester mayoral election from various perspectives in terms of its resonance and potential impact on Manchester in particular.

Professor Francesca Gains: Professor of Public Policy and Head of Politics at the University of Manchester.
Neil McInroy: Chief Executive of CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies).
Clare Devaney: Founder and Director of Citizen-i Ltd, a platform for citizen-led innovation, impact and participatory research based in Manchester, UK.
Dr Andrew Mycock: Reader in Politics at The University of Huddersfield.

In the wake of last night’s attack on citizens of Manchester we have taken the decision to postpone the planned panel discussion until Wednesday 31 May 2017, 6:30pm. As election campaigning has ceased until further notice, it would seem appropriate to delay this event until such a time when progress resumes. We have rearranged the event for next week and hope that you will still be able to join us to discuss issues that are very important to Manchester and the UK’s future. We will be in touch again soon with more details. The Portico Library wishes to express sincere sympathy to anyone who was affected by this terrible event.

Free public seminar: Made In Translation with Alice Kettle & MMU

26 May 2017, 6 - 8pm
Book Online (free)

To accompany The Portico Library's May 2017 exhibition and artists' book 'Made In Translation', a free public talk and panel discussion will welcome visitors to the library on Friday 26th May from 6pm to 8pm. Focusing on the relationships between text, image, material and performance, the speakers will respond to questions about their Reading & Writing Non-Fiction research residency and the resulting new commissions.

Leading textile artist and project coordinator Alice Kettle has brought together staff writers and artists from across Manchester Metropolitan University's newly combined Faculty of Arts and Humanities to share their interpretations of the library's unique 19th century collection and its history, offering contemporary perspectives on a variety of themes and complementing each other's various approaches. A group of these artists will explore the roles and conditions of text in the creation of artworks, and material as it relates to text. This is a free public event, supported by MMU and The Zochonis Charitable Trust, but places are limited so booking is essential. Please register your place at

Anything Goes: Lecture by Textile Artist Tilleke Schwarz

9 June 2017, 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Book Online

Tilleke Schwarz hails from The Netherlands where she stitches visually poetic “maps of modern life”. In her engagement with contemporary life, her work is reminiscent of graffiti. But unlike graffiti her work is hand embroidered with very fine stitches and lovely colors.

Tilleke includes anything that amazes, moves, or intrigues her. Daily life, mass media, traditional stitched samplers, and cats are major sources of inspiration. The result is a humorous reflection on our modern society in textile form. Her work is a mixture of her singular personality, a fine graphic sensibility, and a bit of fooling around.

The lecture will also relate to the Cut Cloth concept of art and feminism.

Making Space: Textiles Workshop with Tilleke Schwarz

10 June 2017, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
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Tilleke Schwarz is an international textile artist of great reknown and she will lead this workshop, which focuses on design, allowing participants to design a new work in their own style and tell their own stories. The workshop will start with experiments in mixed media and collage. These techniques on paper allow students to feel completely free to try out new ideas. Participants will enjoy the adventure of designing while working, resulting in inspiration for a new work.

Demonstrations will include Tilleke’s favorite hand embroidery techniques. Hand-stitching is fun and relaxing but time-consuming; students should not expect to finish a new work in the workshop. The aim is to leave with plenty of new ideas and a start for a new work.

In case you have questions related to the workshop you can contact her by email

Tilleke Schwarz is a member of the 62 group of textile artists, the Surface Design Association, the European Textile Network and the Schilderkundig Genootschap Pulchri Studio in The Hague. She has exhibited and lectured all over the world and has won several prizes for her work, including the European Coats Mez Sponsor price for Modern Embroidery Design in 1990 and the third prize in the Summer Exhibition 2011 in the Gemeentemuseum The Hague.

Life, You Will Lose a Lover When I Die

15 June 2017, 6:30 - 8:30pm
Book Online

Virginia Woolf and Alan Turing; Sigmund Freud and John Maynard Keynes; Manchester and Cambridge; sugar daddies, Polish harpies, the odd hapless lover, and the Baby.

All of these are glimpsed in the lives and intertwined connections of two women: Lyn Newman, literary journalist and disgruntled Manchester housewife and mother, and Molly Harrower, free spirited psychologist and poet. Jonathan Swinton follows up his Portico talk last year on Turing's Manchester by joining with Emma Anderson to read from a range of correspondence including never before publicly read letters of Alan Turing.

Will Molly marry Kurt? Will Lyn finish her book? Will Alan go straight? Will Charles find his dinner money? We raise these questions and more in an evening celebrating the power of the letter to resonate profoundly or just remain fascinatingly gossipy across the decades!

Feminist Collaborative Knitting with Helen Davies

17 June 2017, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
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This workshop is an opportunity for you to get involved in a collaboartive knitted art work celebrating feminism. We will be knitting tube covers for a wire frame that will form a knitted word. Each small piece of knitting will contribute to the finished art work that will be presented at The Whitworth as part of the official book launch on 6th July.

This is a free drop-in workshop suitible for people of all abilities, from experianced knitters to total beginners. The workshop leaders will be able to teach casting on and off, knit and pearl stitches, stocking stitch and knitting in the round.

The workshop will be led by artist and activist Helen Davies.

Don't Blow It: Handkerchief Workshop with Sarah Corbett

8 July 2017, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Book Online

Sneak a message under the nose of someone who could seriously influence positive change and help them to do so. Instead of being an aggressive activist, be a critical friend. It’s not only a loving thing to do, it can be more effective. Your local politician probably gets dozens, if not hundreds of letters and emails urging them to consider all sorts of important issues. But how often do they get given a hand-stitched hanky acknowledging that their job is difficult and encouraging them to not ‘blow it’ but use their power to support create long lasting positive change? Probably not very often!

You could also stitch a hanky for a friend, family member or even a stranger who is in a position of power who you are worried might not be fulfilling the potential with the power and influence they have and you could encourage them to be the change they want to see in the world. Our kits have message suggestions for MPs, Teachers, Religious Leaders and even Bankers. Our kits also include questions to reflect on whilst stitching over your message to encourage you to think critically and encourage some ‘crafterthought’s to come out of this craftivism action.

We hope that they keep their handmade hanky to help motivate them to show their love for our global neighbours and the environment, and to act to help rather than harm them.

Free Tours of The Portico

Keep you eyes open for upcoming dates!

Drawing Classes at The Portico

Every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month
11:30am - 1:30pm

£10.00 Booking not required

Practice your drawing skills in one of Manchester's most inspirational environments. Advice and tuition available from the class leader, Greg Fenwick. Basic materials are provided and tea and coffee is included in the price. If you wish to bring your own materials please restrict these to pencils, chalks and charcoals.

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