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Rewriting the North: Rewriting the North: Folklore, Myth and Rural Communities
Jul
25
6:00 PM18:00

Rewriting the North: Rewriting the North: Folklore, Myth and Rural Communities

The ‘Rewriting the North’ event series explores the relationship between writing and place and celebrates how writers are reimagining the North of England. Supported by The Portico Library and Centre for Place Writing. Speakers: Fiona Mozley and Andrew Michael Hurley.

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The Never-Read-a-Gaskell Group
Sep
4
5:30 PM17:30

The Never-Read-a-Gaskell Group

This event is SOLD OUT but we are taking names for a waiting list.

If you’ve been nodding along politely to discussions about Elizabeth Gaskell but had no idea what was going on, then this group is for you! An introductory event will give you an opportunity to meet the rest of the group, learn about the author’s life and view The Portico’s first editions of Gaskell’s works. Then, three novels have been carefully selected for you to read throughout the year and each one will be discussed at a meeting in The Portico Library hosted by Libby Tempest, literary enthusiast and Chair of the Gaskell Society. You will find Libby’s incredibly warm manner and passion for Gaskell totally infectious. Click on the event link for more information.

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A Bookbinding Workshop with a difference!
Oct
16
10:15 AM10:15

A Bookbinding Workshop with a difference!

(In partnership with the Society of Bookbinders, North West and North Wales Region)

Wednesday 16 October 2019, 10.15-4.00; tea/coffee on arrival from 10am for a prompt start at 10.15am

An opportunity to get creative making a variety of ingenious, fun and useful items. With tutor Barry Clark we will re-create the almost forgotten milkman’s Magic Wallet, the Map Fold (a way to present a whole page image in a small and attractive format), the Pop-Up invitation/greetings card for those special occasions or special people, and the Exploding Box (secrets to be revealed). A treat for yourself and an opportunity to make some unique Christmas gifts. All materials and tools will be provided. The fee includes the cost of materials, tea/coffee on arrival and a light lunch. This workshop is limited to 12 participants so early booking is advised.

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Manchester: Ruskin-Free-City
Jul
17
6:00 PM18:00

Manchester: Ruskin-Free-City

Wed 17 July 2019, 6pm-7:30pm. Free.

19th-century artist, critic and social reformer John Ruskin said “I perceive that Manchester can produce no good art and no good literature”. In his eyes, this city saw the price of everything and the value of nothing - not grasping art’s true potential as a tool for social change and for the development of an ethical society. In 2019, his bicentenary year, what does Manchester have to say to this influential but controversial thinker’s ideas? Pose your questions to the new Director of Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth, Alistair Hudson, and Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera, who have responded to some of Ruskin’s challenges by proposing to “put art to use” through the movement of Arte Útil. Hosted by Tunde Adekoya, Director of Big People Music, this lively debate will be an opportunity to ask important questions about art, power and society.

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Interjectional Exercises
Jul
15
6:30 PM18:30

Interjectional Exercises

Mon 15 July 2019, 6:30pm-8:30pm. Free.

Artist Rowland Hill presents a new live work incorporating British Sign Language, spoken word and physical gesture. The piece is a development of her previous performance for The Portico Library, Visible Speech (2018), made in collaboration with and performed by members of Manchester Deaf Centre in response to Alexander Melville Bell’s 1867 book of the same name.

 This event forms part of Manifest, a city-wide festival promoting and celebrating artists in the North West during the Manchester International Festival fortnight.

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The Ruskin Lectures, re-enacted: The Discovery and Application of Art
Jul
8
6:30 PM18:30

The Ruskin Lectures, re-enacted: The Discovery and Application of Art

In July 1857 John Ruskin came to Manchester to deliver A Joy Forever, a pair of lectures presented over two evenings. These lectures, subtitled The Discovery and Application of Art and The Accumulation and Distribution of Art, will be re-enacted at The Portico Library and Manchester Art Gallery respectively during the Ruskin in Manchester bicentenary festival. Actor and art historian Paul O’Keeffe will perform these original lectures in two of the most important architectural treasures remaining from Victorian Manchester.

Sponsored by Ruskin in Manchester, Guild of St. George and Manchester Metropolitan University.

The second lecture, The Accumulation and Distribution of Art, will be held at Manchester Art gallery, Saturday 13th July 2019 at 12pm.

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Tasting America: An Edible Literary History
Jul
5
6:30 PM18:30

Tasting America: An Edible Literary History

The Portico is pairing food and literature at an event that will tell the history of cuisine in the United States through a lively lecture and series of tastings. Expect to learn about the canonization of pumpkin pie as quintessentially “American” while munching on a slice of this classic treat. Centred on the story of American taste and the role literature and played in making it come to be, this engaging talk led by Dr. J. Michelle Coghlan will be delivered alongside some delicious culinary highlights from the U.S., selected and prepared by The Portico Library’s chef, Joe Fenn. This will also be a chance to engage with some gems from The Portico Library’s American literature and American travel writing collections, which will be on display on the evening.

Succotash lettuce wraps, with corn, lima beans and fresh tomato

Mini chilli bowl (meat, vegetarian or vegan) with fresh corn tortillas and sour cream

Mini pumpkin tarts with fresh whipped cream

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ማን እያወራ እንዳለ ይመልከቱ - Look who’s Talking
Jul
4
6:00 PM18:00

ማን እያወራ እንዳለ ይመልከቱ - Look who’s Talking

Thur 4 July 2019, 6pm-8pm. Free.

For many years, English has been the international language of power, and first-language English speakers benefit from often unrecognised advantages around the world. What if the roles were reversed? For this event, Amharic-speaking Manchester residents interpret Ethiopian artist Robel Temesgen’s imagined newspaper headlines in their own words for English-speaking audiences – reconsidering the balance of power between publisher, reader, translator and listener in the age of fake news and ‘alternative facts’.

This event will coincide with the public launch of The Portico's exhibition, Making the News: Reading between the lines, from Peterloo to Meskel Square.

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The Familiars By Stacey Halls
Jul
1
6:30 PM18:30

The Familiars By Stacey Halls

Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire, as the daughter of market traders. She has always been fascinated by the Pendle witches. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and moved to London aged 21. The Familiars is her first novel which has been published to much acclaim.

Halls' key interests include women and power and the social history of witches. Her novel is informed by extensive research and she speaks with authority on Gawthorpe Manor and her real life heroine, Fleetwood Shuttleworth. Come and hear Halls speak about her research and read from her debut novel at this event and book signing. Drinks and copies of Stacey's book will be on sale.

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Rewriting the North: Manchester, Fiction & Rewriting the Past
Jun
27
6:30 PM18:30

Rewriting the North: Manchester, Fiction & Rewriting the Past

Two leading writers, Rosie Garland and Livi Michael, will read from their work and will discuss the role that place plays in their creative practice. ‘Rewriting the North’, then, will explore the relationship between writing and place across a range of forms and genres. By extension, it will celebrate how such writers are rewriters are reimagining the North of England.

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Mike Harding: Cosmos Mariner
Jun
6
6:30 PM18:30

Mike Harding: Cosmos Mariner

Mike Harding returns to The Portico Library to share his new poetry collection, Cosmos Mariner. In these poems, Mike draws on his own life-story and engages the reader and listener alike with his own inimitable talent. Join us for an evening of drinks, poetry and story-telling and be some of the first to hear these poems read in the author’s own voice.

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Rewriting the North: Jean Sprackland and Jacob Polley
May
30
6:30 PM18:30

Rewriting the North: Jean Sprackland and Jacob Polley

The Portico Library and the Centre for Place Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University have come together to organise ‘Rewriting the North’: a series of events celebrating writers and writing connected with the North of England. In each event, two leading writers will read from their work and will discuss the role that place plays in their creative practice. ‘Rewriting the North’, then, will explore the relationship between writing and place across a range of forms and genres. By extension, it will celebrate how such writers are rewriters are reimagining the North of England.

In the first event of this new series, Jean and Jacob will explore the role that place and memory play in their evocations of the landscapes – both real and imagined – of the North of England.

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Tales of Manchester’s Graveyards - SOLD OUT
May
28
6:30 PM18:30

Tales of Manchester’s Graveyards - SOLD OUT

In this talk we will delve into the subject of Manchester’s numerous burial sites. Many morbid and bizarre stories emerge as soon as you start digging! Manchester’s body snatchers or ‘resurrectionists’ turned a trade providing corpses to anatomy schools, sometimes relying on criminal methods when legal supply fell short of demand. Other stories tell of a headless corpse and the Manchester mummy! Steve Little is an historian, local explorer and member of The Portico, who will exhume some of these forgotten stories.

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Peterloo: Witness to a Massacre
May
23
6:00 PM18:00

Peterloo: Witness to a Massacre

Official Book Launch

Peterloo: Witness to a Massacre is a new verbatim style graphic novel, telling the story of the violent suppression of a peaceful, democratic protest that took place in Manchester 200 years ago. This is a unique, first-of-its-kind visual project, using only direct testimony of the time (letters, memoirs, journalist’s accounts, spies’ reports, courtroom evidence, etc.) combined with vivid and realistic illustrations.

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Carcanet International Poets at The Portico Library featuring Chris Wallace-Crabbe
May
16
6:30 PM18:30

Carcanet International Poets at The Portico Library featuring Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe is a leading Australian poet and essayist, with a special interest in the visual arts. Rondo harvests a decade’s worth of new writing by one of Australia’s foremost poets. It is currently shortlisted for the 2019 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry in the NSW Premier's Literature Awards. This new collection paints a vivid portrait of eucalypt Australia’s current position in an rapidly changing world. The poet asks for fresh meanings from Gallipoli and Scotland, from physics and from ‘Art’s porous auditorium’, where poetry can still be heard. ‘The words are only the words,’ he writes, ‘which is more or less everything.’

This event also features Marius Kociejowski and Carola Luther. Please follow the booking link for more information. A book signing will take place after the event and drinks will be on sale.

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Carcanet International Poets at The Portico Library featuring Sheri Benning
May
2
6:30 PM18:30

Carcanet International Poets at The Portico Library featuring Sheri Benning

Sheri Benning’s most recent collection of poems, The Season’s Vagrant Light: New and Selected Poems, is published by Carcanet Press. This book marks the UK début of Canadian poet Sheri Benning, featuring new poems alongside work previously published in Canada. Benning’s early work draws on her strongly felt connection to her native landscape, rural Saskatchewan. In poems that couple sinew and roots, blood and sap, skin and stone, Benning explores an ecology of affiliation between humans and the natural world.

This event will also feature appearances by Christine Marendon and Jenny Lewis. Please follow the booking link for more information. Book signing will take place after the event and drinks will be on sale.

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Bookbinding: Concertina Style!
Apr
30
10:15 AM10:15

Bookbinding: Concertina Style!

In this one day workshop you will work with an experienced local bookbinder, Barry Clark, to create four books: two simple no sew / no glue booklets, and two more substantial books, all in the concertina or accordion style. It’s a very versatile structure favoured by many book artists. All materials and tools will be provided. We will be using glue so please bring a protective apron. The fee includes the cost of materials, tea/coffee on arrival and a light lunch. This workshop is limited to 12 participants so early booking is advised.

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Alan Turing's Manchester
Apr
15
6:30 PM18:30

Alan Turing's Manchester

The mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing is more widely known and admired today than he ever was during his lifetime. In February 2019 BBC viewers voted him the most important person of the 20th century; he was certainly a man who changed the world. Today, his iconography greets Mancunians in Sackville Park Gardens, across the University campus and on the way to the Manchester Velodrome. Even The Portico played a small part in his story.

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Fancy Pants Fancy Party
Mar
22
7:00 PM19:00

Fancy Pants Fancy Party

In 1836 newspapers across Britain reported a “Grand Fancy Ball” held at The Portico Library. Now all you fancy people are invited to create and wear your own wild and wonderful costumes to the closing party of the Portico’s current exhibition Fancy Pants. There will be a dance performance in exhibitor Ruby Kirby’s wearable artworks and a prize for the best dressed guest will be judged and presented by the artists. Drinks will be on sale, with proceeds contributing to the Library’s charitable programme.

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Audio-described Exhibition Tour: FANCY PANTS
Mar
18
5:00 PM17:00

Audio-described Exhibition Tour: FANCY PANTS

Anne Hornsby of Mind's Eye Description Services will deliver an audio-described tour for blind and partially sighted visitors. She will introduce the building and collection, and Fancy Pants, an exhibition that explores dress and costume’s historic and contemporary relationships with ritual, play, morality and resistance. Please note that the library is accessed via a staircase. There is no lift but a stair lift is available via the rear entrance.

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A Crafternoon of Wearable Art with Ruby Kirby
Mar
16
12:00 PM12:00

A Crafternoon of Wearable Art with Ruby Kirby

Come and create exciting wearable art pieces using your pre-loved items. Artist Ruby Kirby will help you to re-invent them into new wild creations using a variety of other recycled odds and ends. The more bonkers the better! This event accompanies The Portico’s latest exhibition Fancy Pants looking at dress and costume’s historic and contemporary relationships with ritual, play, morality and resistance.

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Kate Fox Presents: Where There’s Muck There’s Bras
Mar
14
7:00 PM19:00

Kate Fox Presents: Where There’s Muck There’s Bras

March 14, 2019, 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Performed by stand-up poet and Radio 4 regular Kate Fox; a comic and thought-provoking show about the real Northern Powerhouse, Northern Women – the sung and the unsung!

This funny, gently subversive performance/lecture uncovers the hidden history of the writers, scientists, sportswomen, politicians, protesters, musicians and other heroines who represent the grit, determination and spirit of the North’s women.

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BSL Exhibition Tour: FANCY PANTS
Mar
2
11:30 AM11:30

BSL Exhibition Tour: FANCY PANTS

Jennifer Little will conduct a tour in British Sign Language (with no spoken English). She will introduce The Portico Library’s building and collection, and give insights to the present exhibition, Fancy Pants.

Four visual artists present radical, expressive works that look at dress and costume’s historic and contemporary relationships with ritual, play, morality and resistance. These pieces invite us to think about celebration and wellbeing, mind and body, and the idea of ‘high’ vs ‘low’ culture.

New artworks by Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Ruby Kirby, Lindsey Mendick & Camille Smithwick, with books from the library’s collection including Joseph Strutt’s Sports and Pastimes of the People of England and John Northbrooke’s Treatise Against Dicing, Dancing, Plays and Interludes: with Other Idle Pastimes.

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Politics, Power and the People
Feb
22
3:00 PM15:00

Politics, Power and the People

The political and social struggles that surrounded the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 and were nothing new. Those holding power sought to keep it, use it and would, on occasion, abuse it. Their opponents demanded a say in government, in the way their lives were organised, and how they might improve their lot in life by political action.

Peterloo was one tragic episode in that eternal struggle: reflecting a world of political hopes and ideas and it would, consciously or not, shape the political thoughts of generations to come.

Some of these ideas are the themes of a series of talks focusing on Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes and John Stewart Mill.

The format is a 1 hour lecture followed by tea, cake and casual discussion.

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Seventeen Artists*
Feb
2
10:00 AM10:00

Seventeen Artists*

*who just happen to be women!

This series is back due to popular demand.

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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Fancy Pants free public exhibition preview
Jan
31
6:00 PM18:00

Fancy Pants free public exhibition preview

6pm - 8pm, Thursday 31st January 2019

Four visual artists present radical, expressive works that look at dress and costume’s historic and contemporary relationships with ritual, play, morality and resistance.

New artworks by Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Ruby Kirby, Lindsey Mendick & Camille Smithwick, with books from the library’s collection including Joseph Strutt’s Sports and Pastimes of the People of England and John Northbrooke’s Treatise Against Dicing, Dancing, Plays and Interludes: with Other Idle Pastimes.

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An Introduction to Bookbinding
Jan
17
10:00 AM10:00

An Introduction to Bookbinding

(In partnership with the Society of Bookbinders, North West and North Wales Region)

In this one day workshop you will work with an experienced local bookbinder, Barry Clark, to create three finished books: a sewn pamphlet with a decorative dust-wrapper, a Japanese stab binding, and a multi-section notebook with exposed decorative sewing. These three projects will introduce you to the essentials of all bookbinding: grain direction, folding and cutting paper, creating book sections, setting out sewing stations and different ways of sewing books. All materials and tools will be provided, but feel free to bring your own favourite craft tools if you have them. We will not be using glue so no protective apron is required. The fee includes the cost of materials, tea/coffee on arrival and a light buffet lunch. This workshop is limited to 12 participants so early booking is advised.

Tea/coffee on arrival from 10am for a prompt start at 10.30am

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Adventures in Archiving - Winter Symposium
Jan
16
10:00 AM10:00

Adventures in Archiving - Winter Symposium

In an ever-evolving digital age, institutions with archives are having to reconceptualise how they develop and catalogue their material, and the ways in which they engage with audiences. We are all grappling with questions that concern how archival collections can remain relevant. For example, how can special collections and historic libraries, which traditionally contain and preserve print-based material, adapt most effectively to the changing digital environment? How can we improve and expand methods of resource discovery to meet the expectations of digitally literate users?

This conference, sponsored by Heritage Lottery Fund and the Independent Libraries Association, will explore new developments in the archiving sector and what the future holds for its systems and processes, whilst scrutinising established standards and best practice. If you would like to submit papers for the conference, details are available at https://www.theportico.org.uk/news.

Key Note: Naomi Korn (specialist in GDPR and archives)

Registration: £20 (includes lunch and refreshments) Book now

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Manchester: Mapping the City
Dec
5
6:30 PM18:30

Manchester: Mapping the City

Manchester: Mapping the City is new book looking at the history of Manchester using a rich array of more than 100 street maps, land surveys, engineering plans and promotional birds-eye views. It features original maps from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, drawing on local archives and libraries. It also illustrates and discusses the significant events and places that have featured in Manchester’s history, such as Peterloo, the Ship Canal, Town Hall, Belle Vue, Victoria Station and the football grounds.

The authors will deliver a talk on the subject and discuss new ways to access historic cartography. There will be a chance to look at sample of our book and view poster reproductions of some of best historic maps of Manchester. The Portico Library will also display some of its own relevant maps and plans from the archive.

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