BiblioTECH: from bookshelf to big data
Jul
6
to Aug 18

BiblioTECH: from bookshelf to big data

Artists Dan Hays, Jane Lawson and Claire Tindale explore the opportunities and challenges that arise as we adapt to new technological formats for storing and sharing information. Over five centuries ago, Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the mechanical printing press revolutionised access to literature, and with it, all aspects of society - from politics and religion to science and education. The subsequent development of libraries and global publishing made it possible for millions of people to access texts from all over the world and now, new innovations allow us to hold entire libraries in the palm of our hand - and transfer them across continents in seconds.

As digital humans, we find ourselves in a world of virtual bookshelves, navigating a course through a seemingly infinite sea of data. While digitisation projects strive to store as much data as possible in the Cloud, what will be the role of books and libraries? Will they eventually become obsolete, or are there particular benefits they will always retain, and how will we, as digital humans, continue to react and adapt our behaviour?

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BiblioTECH: artists' talks & Q&A
Jul
25
6:00 PM18:00

BiblioTECH: artists' talks & Q&A

Join the exhibitors to hear about the background of the works on display and the ideas and processes behind their practices. Refreshments will be available, and the artists will be joined by Allie Johns, Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing & Digital Human Behaviour at Manchester Metropolitan University. Allie will draw on her accompanying short article ‘A little digital learning is a dangerous thing. Or is it?’

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Reading Jane Austen
Jul
26
6:30 PM18:30

Reading Jane Austen

‘“They slowly paced the gradual ascent”: taking time with Jane Austen’s novels.’ This talk will propose that slow reading of key sentences and paragraphs – awarding them the close attention more often invited by poetry – can draw us into the heart of Jane Austen’s writing. Examples will be chosen from Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion. Bill Hutchings is an Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Manchester.

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Poetry Event: Finding the Cotton Famine
Jul
31
6:30 PM18:30

Poetry Event: Finding the Cotton Famine

During the Cotton Famine, an outpouring of poetry told of the despair and suffering endured by the people of Lancashire. Academics at the University of Exeter have been working to build an accessible database of these poems and to launch this resource there will be a mixture of recitation and song set in the context of the project and this important history. As well as entertainment, there will also be information provided on how to use the database. Come along to this event in celebration of the database launch to hear the poems and pay tribute to the past.

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ENTWINED: Knowledge & power in the age of Captain Cook
Aug
23
to Oct 13

ENTWINED: Knowledge & power in the age of Captain Cook

August 2018 marks 250 years since Captain James Cook set sail on a voyage of discovery considered by many to be the most significant in world history. Inspired by some of The Portico Library’s most fascinating items – first editions of Cook’s illustrated journals and the accompanying publications – we will select and present items from the collection that expose some of the motivating ideologies and streams of thought behind the encounters of the period.

This exhibition will take the form of a unique textile installation, accompanied by further treasures from the Library’s collection published during Cook’s lifetime, including Carl Linnaeus’ pioneering natural history volume 'Flora Lapponica', Adam Smith’s master work 'The Wealth of Nations', and Voltaire’s revolutionary satire 'Candide'. This project marks the start of a new ongoing collaboration with members of the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London.

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Gin! An Education.
Aug
30
6:30 PM18:30

Gin! An Education.

David Winnard of Discover the Wild will introduce the evening with a brief history of gin and from there he will lead a tasting. With David’s amazing knowledge of foraging and the natural world, he will explain the way that gin is produced and infused with some wonderful flavours. Later on, Theresa Sowerby will perform some poems with her inimitable humour and gusto! Three cocktails are included in the price and some simple and delicious food accompaniments will be provided. There are few more splendid settings in Manchester in which to enjoy a gin tasting!

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Seventeen Artists*
Sep
1
to Sep 30

Seventeen Artists*

This series will present seventeen artistic personalities, selecting some examples from different centuries: we will look at their lives and their art, put them into context, and as a result of the analysis of their biographies, we will acknowledge how their identity as female artists affected their careers, their work and their role for the following generations. These four sessions can be joined as stand-alone events or attended as a course to receive the full benefit of Sara’s inspiring teaching style. These sessions are perfect for anyone who wishes to strengthen their knowledge of the History of Art.

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Writers' Evening: Hope Road at The Portico
Sep
25
6:30 PM18:30

Writers' Evening: Hope Road at The Portico

The Portico Library is delighted to host three outstanding authors, represented by HopeRoad publishing house in London. These authors will read their work at a laidback literary event with drinks and light canapes provided. Discover these trans-cultural fiction writers and discuss the topics they inspire with the other guests in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Jeremy Cameron spent several years working as a probation officer in Walthamstow, which inspired a series featuring the lovable rogue Nicky Burkett. It Was An Accident was made into a feature film in 2000, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. Jeremy is currently completing a walking marathon of all the places in Britain starting with the letter “Q”. These adventures will form the subject of his next literary venture.

Lainy Malkani is a successful London born journalist whose critically acclaimed two-part series for BBC Radio 4, ‘Sugar, Saris and Green Bananas’, inspired her to create a collection of short stories, Sugar, Sugar: Bittersweet Tales of Indian Migrant Workers. She is fascinated by the lives of unsung heroes in our society and in 2012 she set up the Social History Hub to bring their stories to life. Lainy has written for the British Library, the Commonwealth and the BBC.

Qaisra Shahraz is an award winning and critically acclaimed novelist, scriptwriter, gender and peace activist. She is recognised as being ‘The Most Influential woman in Manchester’, winner of National Diversity ‘Lifetime achiever Award’ & listed in Muslim Power 100. Qaisra is the founder and Director of MACFEST, Muslim Art & Culture Festival she is currently setting up in Manchester. Author of ‘The Holy Woman’ Typhoon and The Concubine & The Slave Catcher’ her work is translated into several languages & studied in schools and universities.

HopeRoad promotes inclusive literature with a focus of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. They support often neglected voices and many of their YA titles focus on issues dealing with identity, cultural stereo-typing and disability. At the heart of their publishing is the love of outstanding writing.

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The Victorians & the Reinvention of The Italian Renaissance
Sep
27
6:30 PM18:30

The Victorians & the Reinvention of The Italian Renaissance

From Giotto to Michelangelo, Dante to Petrarch, Florence to Rome, Italy's Renaissance left an indelible mark on the Victorians. Former special collections librarian, Emma Marigliano, explores how British artists and poets reinterpreted and mythologised Italian culture for the British public.

This event is brought to you by the Dante Alighieri Society in Manchester with delicious Italian nibbles and wine provided after the talk.

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The Chanteuse Sings Modiano
Jul
13
6:30 PM18:30

The Chanteuse Sings Modiano

The Chanteuse aka Lucy Hope, has released an album of songs written by eminent French writer, Patrick Modiano (Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014). It is little known that Modiano penned exquisite lyrics for some of the famous yéyé recording artists in the late 60s/early 70s. The Chanteuse will be bringing these songs to a 'salon' at the Portico Library.

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Sophie Willan: Tales of the Weird, the Wild and the Wonderful
Jul
7
12:00 PM12:00

Sophie Willan: Tales of the Weird, the Wild and the Wonderful

Bolton born Comedian, Sophie Willan, will be reading extracts from her two short stories for children in Tales of The Weird, The Wild and The Wonderful, intermingled with friendly compering and interactive games. Come and enjoy and afternoon of fun and hilarity, perfect for kids and their adults! The book, aimed at 7 - 11 year olds, will be available to purchase, and Sophie will have a pen ready to sign your copy.

Being brought up in care and given the repeated words, ‘Rude, rebellious and defiant’ on social workers’ reports, Sophie has gone on to become one of the UK’s leading ambassadors for Homeless and Care Experienced Young People. In 2015, Sophie created the dynamic multi-platform project, Stories of Care which works with Care-Leavers across the Greater Manchester region. Tales of The Weird, The Wild and The Wonderful is one of the outcomes of this work and it includes stories by the young people involved. The book is entertaining, inspiring and comforting, with its positive, relatable role models and fictional characters. It is also jaw-achingly funny.

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Closure for children's event, 12 - 2pm Saturday 7 July
Jul
7
12:00 PM12:00

Closure for children's event, 12 - 2pm Saturday 7 July

Tickets are available for Sophie Willan’s event for children. Willan, will be reading extracts from her two short stories for children in Tales of The Weird, The Wild and The Wonderful, intermingled with friendly compering and interactive games. Come and enjoy and afternoon of fun and hilarity, perfect for kids and their adults! The book, aimed at 7 - 11 year olds, will be available to purchase, and Sophie will have a pen ready to sign your copy.

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Peterloo from The Portico
Jun
7
6:30 PM18:30

Peterloo from The Portico

On the 16th of August 1819 Manchester was witness to the most dramatic political incident in British history - so says Ed Glinert of New Manchester Walks. 60,000 people met at St Peter's Field, near The Portico Library, to demonstrate for the right to vote and against the unjust laws of the period.

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Beautiful Monsters
May
17
to Jun 30

Beautiful Monsters

The fantastical creatures illustrated in the 16th-century encyclopaedia Historiae Animalium have influenced countless writers and scholars through the centuries and form the starting point for The Portico Library’s 2018 exhibition, Beautiful Monsters. The book’s author, Conrad Gessner, included actual and mythological animals side-by-side, including many labelled ‘monsters’, with little distinction between the real and the imaginary. Six international exhibitors have responded to this and other volumes in the library’s collection with new works incorporating drawing, painting, textiles, robotics and artists’ books, considering where the idea of the monstrous sits within themes of history, mythology and 21st-century life.

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Performance: So Many Voices
May
8
7:00 PM19:00

Performance: So Many Voices

Responding to The Portico Library’s commitment to develop an accessible public programme, and our current exhibition In So Many Words: Roget's Thesaurus & the Power of Language, artists Jez Dolan and Rowland Hill have composed new live performance works with audio description and British Sign Language elements from 7pm on Tuesday 8th May. Each have worked with experienced collaborators including composer Michael Betteridge and members of Manchester Deaf Centre to compose ambitious new performances from their researches at The Portico Library, expanding their artworks beyond text and print into original works in sound and gesture.

 

Preceding this, from 6pm, Anne Hornsby will deliver the library’s first ever audio-described exhibition tour for blind and partially sighted visitors. She will introduce The Portico Library’s building and collection, and describe the current group exhibition In So Many Words: Roget's Thesaurus & the Power of Language. We will be taking this opportunity to learn how to build an accessible programme of future events and invite all our visitors to join us in this conversation. Please contact us or speak to a member of staff at the library if you would like to give feedback or get involved.

 

All tickets for this one-off event are subsidised through the generous support of the Zochonis Charitable Trust.

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Q&A with Melvin Burgess
Apr
19
6:30 PM18:30

Q&A with Melvin Burgess

A Patron of The Portico Library, Melvin Burgess is an award-winning author of children's and young adult fiction. Often referred to as 'the godfather of teen fiction' by the British press, his novel Junk, published in 1996, was widely lauded for its realistic portrayal of youth, drugs and sex.

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In So Many Words: Roget's Thesaurus and the Power of Language
Apr
3
to May 12

In So Many Words: Roget's Thesaurus and the Power of Language

The Portico Library’s first Secretary, Peter Mark Roget, was a medical doctor, inventor, linguist and mathematician. His contribution to the English language is hard to overstate, with over 30 million copies of his eponymous Thesaurus empowering generations since its first publication in 1852. The Thesaurus was designed, in his words, “to facilitate the expression of ideas” and as such has played a significant part in our ability to communicate, and to negotiate the perils and possibilities of language. As part of the library’s 2018 Information is Power project, funded by The Zochonis Charitable Trust, three contemporary artists have created new works based on research into Roget’s legacy – the role of vocabulary in the 21st century; the power of words; the uses and abuses of text and speech.

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Sophie Tyrrell: The Uncivilised Sun
Mar
16
to Mar 24

Sophie Tyrrell: The Uncivilised Sun

Sophie Tyrrell is a painter, sculptor and performance artist with a background in theatre and storytelling. Her Magnificent Menagerie of Mrs Strange, a group of larger-than-life wearable artworks created for the National Trust in 2017, comes to The Portico Library this February alongside prints, paintings and researches into the library’s collection. Through books and artworks, Sophie illuminates the links between diverse traditions in myth, folklore and popular culture, exploring the idea of ‘uncivilisation’ and the alternative histories we share across borders and among peoples.

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Nicola Dale: The Things That Look Back
Jan
12
to Feb 10

Nicola Dale: The Things That Look Back

Sculptor and performance artist Nicola Dale enquires into the difference between knowledge and information in this new body of work created for The Portico Library. Developed through research at the Portico, Warburg and John Rylands libraries, this new hybrid piece considers the points at which text, symbol, sign and meaning collide. As we walk, sit and read among a series of mysterious plaster fragments installed throughout the library, we are invited to consider the past, present and future of language, and the parallels between the early modern period and our current digital age.

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Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe
Nov
17
6:30 PM18:30

Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile by Adelle Stripe

Adelle Stripe's Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile is a novel inspired by the life and work of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar. Best known for her classic black comedy Rita, Sue and Bob Too!, Dunbar wrote three plays before dying at a tragically young age. This new literary portrayal features a cast of real and imagined characters set against the backdrop of the infamous Buttershaw estate during the Thatcher era.

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Gut Healing
Oct
17
6:30 PM18:30

Gut Healing

GUT HEALING is a live event delivered by artist and curator Amy Lawrence with invited local artists, in response to the themes and texts of The Portico Library’s current exhibition Bittersweet: Legacies of Slavery & Abolition in Manchester. It includes among other elements an immersive all-female participatory work created by Lawrence herself, influenced by her ongoing research into the relationships between women's voices and the abolition, in particular Sojourner Truth's iconic 'Ain't I a Woman' speech of 1851

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Val McDermid: Locating Crime Fiction
Sep
26
6:30 PM18:30

Val McDermid: Locating Crime Fiction

Val McDermid is a celebrated and best selling Scottish crime writer, known for her series of suspense novels and her famous creation for television, Wire in the Blood. Many of McDermids books feature locations in the North and this September she will talk about the importance of place in crime fiction, how location informs the story you can tell.

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