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Artists in Residence

Alongside regular exhibitions and as part of our commitment to sharing The Portico Library's extraordinary history and collection, we host a diverse programme of artists' residencies and events. Supported by The Zochonis Charitable Trust and our team of dedicated volunteers, these projects offer local and international artists the chance to research and develop innovative new responses to this unique cultural resource.


Tony Phillips: Voyages & Travels, 2015/16

Tony Phillips at The Portico Library

Northwest printmaker and illustrator Tony Phillips' previous studies into social history and the legacy of colonialism led him to refine a distinctive drypoint etching technique, producing series of layered images from a single plate and building narrative through enhancing or obscuring underlying imagery. His latest touring project England: Heritage & Contemporary Life brought him to The Portico Library to view our many volumes on architecture, landscape and industry and culminated with an exhibition, publication and free public workshops in September 2016. With works previously exhibited at Tate Britain, The Victoria & Albert Museum, and John Rylands Library, Tony has established a practice that incorporates painting, drawing, etching and installation, with a unique style and thought-provoking themes.


Gê Orthof & Raphael Fonseca: Manchester-Brazil, 2016

Gê Orthof at The Portico Library

In the run-up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, Brazilian artist and curator Gê Orthof & Raphael Fonseca created a unique response to The Portico Library's collection and space, combining literary references, multimedia installation and semi-fictional dialogues with authors and protagonists, past and present. Winners of Brazil's largest art prize, the Prêmio Marcantonio Vilaça, Gê and Raphael were resident for Manchester School of Art 's city-wide series of lectures, exhibitions and performances Manchester-Brazil 2016 at The Portico Library, Home and Islington Mill including Behind the Sun, Reply All, Alla Prima and Many-Splendoured Thing.


Crafts Research Group: Alice Kettle & Stephen Dixon Reading & Writing Non-Fiction, 2016/17

Crafts Research Group

A collective of staff at the Manchester School of Art and MMU Humanities departments, the Crafts Research Group is led by world-renowned textile artist Alice Kettle and leading ceramicist Stephen Dixon. As part of The Portico Library's current project, Reading and Writing Non-Fiction, and contributing to their ongoing creative development, the group have begun a year-long exploration of the collection's non-fiction texts, producing collaborative new pieces, a publication, exhibition and workshops throughout 2016 and 2017. Supported by the Zochonis Charitable Trust, the Craft Research Group's final exhibition Made in Translation will run from 27th April to 3rd June 2017.


We welcome proposals for research and residency projects from local and international artists at all career stages. Our priority is to form innovative collaborations that bring the collection's highlights and history to new audiences while supporting artists' creative and career development. To apply, email a brief statement and CV with images to gallery@theportico.org.uk or call The Portico Library on 0161 236 6785.