Zombie Car by Fliss Quick

Launch Pad Archive

Launch Pads were short exhibitions/performances/events that punctuated Castlefield Gallery’s main exhibition programme from 2012 to 2018, providing artists and curators with the opportunity to use the gallery as a test bed for the production, display and consumption of contemporary art. Launch Pads featured emerging talent selected from Castlefield Gallery Associates’ submissions and the BA, MA and MFA contemporary art courses (Interactive Arts and Fine Art) at Manchester School of Art.

In 2018 we updated the Launch Pad into the Castlefield Gallery Associates Exhibition which you can find more  about here.

The Launch Pad programme included:

Launch Pad 20: Katerina Eleftheriadou | Riikka Enne | Maite Pinto
Guest selector: Ian Rawlinson, Programme Leader of MA/MFA Fine Art at Manchester School of Art; co-selector, Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Galllery Curator
6th July to 12th August 2018

The first in a series of biennial exhibitions showcasing some of the most promising work being produced by MA and MFA Fine Art graduates from Manchester School of Art.


Launch Pad 19: Th-th-th-that’s all folks!
Guest selector: Poppy Bowers, Exhibitions Curator at the Whitworth; co-selector, Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Galllery Curator
16th to 25th February 2018

Curated by Rhino Collective, Th-th-th-that’s all folks! featured work by artists based across the UK who share a particular sense of humour, part expression of and part refusal to be determined by the current socio-political climate. The exhibition was accompanied by two texts- one by a 23-year-old and one written by a 6-year-old. The exhibiting artists were Jamie Fitzpatrick, Maria Gondek, Amy Kim Grogan, Alfie Kungu, Millie Layton, James Lomax, Milly Peck, and Dominic Watson.

Launch Pad 18: An Exchange of Sorts
Guest selector: Michael Birchall, Senior Lecturer in Exhibition Studies at Liverpool John Moores University and Curator of Public Practice at Tate Liverpool; co-selector, Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Curator
17th to 26th November 2017

Curated by Will Marshall, An Exchange of Sorts presented new work made by Connor Brazier, Robyn Nichol, Sid & Jim, Emily Simpson, and wannamarchi.club in response to Marshall’s invitation to consider the concept of ‘exchange’, particularly in relation to the production and exhibiting of art. All the work in the show was for sale, not for money but for other tradeable currencies which the artists felt represented a fair exchange for an original artwork, such as a house, a horse or a cheese pasty.

Launch Pad 17: Curio Curia
Guest selector: Kate Gray, Collective, Edinburgh; co-selector, Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Curator
2nd to 10th September 2017

A collaboration between Castlefield Gallery Associate and multi-disciplinary artist Marie Jones (aka Kochi Kochi), and New York City-born Manchester-based artist Stina Puotinen, also featuring guest artists Patti Crozier, Adam Griffiths, Aliyah Hussein and John Powell-Jones. CURIO CURIA focussed on where the artists’ individual practices connect through object and image making, allowing this collaborative process to be public as the work evolves. Elements of the work were added to, elaborated upon, moved and removed over the course of the exhibition.

Launch Pad 16: Stick or Twist
Guest selector Patricia Fleming, Director, Patricia Fleming Projects; co-selector Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Curator
3rd to 12th February 2017

After selecting the artworks, Leach gave each artist the option to ‘stick or twist’ – either exhibit a work chosen by Leach, or swap and include something different. He relinquished all input as curator, avoiding dialogue, and leaving himself without a say, disrupting his ‘vision’ – for better or worse.The original selection of works was installed as intended and documented with a 3D camera, before swapping Leach’s selection for that of the artists. Visitors could view the original installation with VR headsets, presenting the curator’s original vision alongside the final exhibition.

Launch Pad 15: Amelia Crouch
Guest selector Adam Smythe, Curator, the Bluecoat Gallery; co-selector Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Programme Manager
28th July to 7th August 2016

New and recent works playfully exploring the semiotics of language with film, screen prints and text art. Starting points for Crouch’s intelligent and playful works include word games, homonyms, anagrams, children’s songs and quasi-scientific experiments.

Launch Pad 14: The Powerhouse Liberation Movement

Guest selector Shonagh Manson, Director of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation; co-selector Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Programme Manager; curated by Manchester Left Writers
6th to 15th May 2016

Film, installation, music, performance and a publication showing the fruits of  Manchester Left Writers’ searches for what could be “free” spaces in the city: spaces where notions of commonality, free expression and liberation are discoverable and can be accessed by all.

Launch Pad 13:
Manchester School of Art Graduates 2016
Co-selected by Castlefield Gallery’s Director Kwong Lee and Manchester School of Art, Head of Art and Associate Dean Penny Macbeth
26th to 29th March 2015

For this exhibition Nina Bristow, Tom Lambe and Aimee Walker presented new work including video, performance and installation. Their work incorporates cultural criticism, the manipulation of various technologies, and site-specific research

Launch Pad 12: Dancehall 11

Guest selector: Eleanor Clayton, curator at The Hepworth, Wakefield; co-selector Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Programme Manager; curated by Hannah Ellul
13th to 22nd November 2015

Dancehall 11 was an edition of the publication Psychick Dancehall and featured work, performances and interventions by Psykick Dancehall, Amelia Bywater & Rebecca Wilcox, Giuseppe Mistretta, Hello Art Magazine with Louise Hobson, Katherine MacBride and Tom White.

Launch Pad 11: It Was A Dark and Stormy Night

Guest selector:  Jo McGonigal, artist and curator; co-selector Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Programme Manager; curated by Jemma Egan
28th August to 6th September 2015

Six artists (Florent Dubois, Graeme Durant, Jemma Egan, Lindsey Mendick, Suzanne Posthumus and Josh Whitaker ) created a collective story over a period of a month, which became the foundation for a harmonious group exhibition whilst reflecting the sometimes problematic nature of the ‘group show’.

Launch Pad 10: Darren Nixon
Guest selector: Lubaina Himid, artist; co-selector Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Programme Manager; artist: Darren Nixon
21st to 31st May 2015

Nixon made new work in the gallery whilst also reconfiguring and reconstructing existing works. The creation and exhibition of the works will be developed in relationship with the Castlefield Gallery space, its architecture, audiences and context as a contemporary visual art venue. During the exhibition Nixon collaborated with the photographer Stephen Iles, reflecting on what happens to an artwork when it is photographed and to what extent the image might become the work itself.

Launch Pad 9: Manchester School of Art Graduates 2014
Co-selected by Castlefield Gallery’s Director Kwong Lee and Manchester School of Art, Head of Art and Associate Dean Penny Macbeth
26th to 29th March 2015

For this exhibition Ian Malhotra, Emily Rusby and Sunshinejack presented new work including drawing, video and sculpture. Though their practices are diverse, a conversation about the effects of technology on our lives runs throughout the exhibition; with references to the exchange of goods and information, government secrecy, warfare, and human interaction via digital media.

Launch Pad 8: For Posterity

Guest selector:  Hilary Jack, artist; co-selector  Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Programme Manager: Lucy Harvey
13th to 22nd February 2015

For Posterity brought together six artists (Hannah Leighton-Boyce, Lucy Harvey, Richard Proffitt, Fliss Quick, Rosanne Robertson, Cherry Tenneson) whose practice engages with chance, failure and the functions of objects. Working across sculpture, installation, film and performance they present the transformative ways in which artists invent and reinterpret history, place and language.

Launch Pad 7: Literacy
Guest selector:  Cheryl Jones, Director, Grand Union; co-selector Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Programme Manager; artist: Martin Hamblen
5th to 14th September 2014

Through the display of the artists personal collections and performance, Literacy looked at the way in which we read maps, interpret and remember borders, and the way lines are drawn in the sand, arbitrarily, naturally and premeditatedly.

Launch Pad 6: About Painting
Guest selector: Stephen Snoddy, Director of New Art Gallery Walsall; co-selector  Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Programme Manager; curator: Lisa Denyer
20th to 29th June 2014

About Painting brought together eight painters (Claudia Böse, Louisa Chambers, Lisa Denyer, Terry Greene, Matthew Macaulay, David Manley, Andy Parkinson, Anne Parkinson) from across the UK who employ a breadth of approaches to contemporary abstract painting. Their work ranges from the highly structured and pre-planned to more spontaneous painterly language.

Launch Pad 5: The Drawing Project
Guest selector: Kate Jesson, Curator at Manchester Art Gallery; co-selector Matthew Pendergast, Castlefield Gallery Programme Manager; curator: Jenny Core
14th to 23rd February 2014

Seven artists including (Jenny Core, Sophia Crilly, Hondartza Fraga, Mary Griffiths, Lesley Halliwell, Jenny Steele and Claire Weetman) all at different stages in their career, and all based in the Northwest and who each respond to the medium of drawing in diverse and innovative ways including 2D & 3D drawing, drawing installations, animation and performance.

Launch Pad 4: Manchester School of Art 2013
Co-selected by Castlefield Gallery’s Director Kwong Lee and Manchester School of Art, Head of Art and Associate Dean Penny Macbeth
1st to 10th November 2013

Work by Calum Crawford, Darren Murphy and Sophie Mitchell work contrasted the loud and colorful with the fragile and overlooked, the appropriated with the relational. While Crawford and Mitchell brought visuals into the gallery, Murphy documented visitor’s interactions with this situation, leading to further reflection outside of the exhibition.

Launch Pad 3: Some Misunderstanding [on Mondegreens and Pareidolias]
Guest selector: Pippa Hale, Director of the Northern Art Prize and Co-Director of Project Space Leeds; co-selector  Clarissa Corfe, Castlefield Gallery Deputy Director;curator: Sevie Tsampalla
9th to 18th August 2013

Some Misunderstanding brought together eight artists from across Europe, the U.S. and the North West of England: Cory Arcangel, Anton Bruhin, Jenny Core, Dina Danish, Denicolai & Provoost, Maya Erdelyi, Dave Evans and Ben Gwilliam. Mondegreens are mishearings of words or phrases, which in turn acquire new meanings. Pareidolias are randomly occurring shapes, forms or sounds experienced as significant by individuals or groups. Drawing on examples such as misheard song lyrics or sightings of religious figures in banal objects, this exhibition explores how misunderstandings can lead to everything from amusing mistakes to amplified experiences of the world.

Launch Pad 2: Kevin Pocock
Guest selector: Bryony Bond, Curator of Temporary Exhibitions, Whitworth Gallery; co-selector Clarissa Corfe, Castlefield Gallery Deputy Director; artist: Kevin Pocock
19th to 28th April 2013

Inspired by modernist architecture and utopian dreams, each of Pocock’s paintings and drawings begins with a small spontaneous sketch. Pocock plays with symmetry and asymmetry, perspective, different representations of elevation and 3D projections such as axonometric and isometric to recreate his “private interior of thoughts” as architectural spaces in the final artworks. Pocock’s works, whether on canvas, paper or in pixels offer a contemplative convergence of the mind and the physical world.

Launch Pad 1: First… Next… Then… Finally…

Guest selector: Bryan Biggs, Director, Bluecoat Gallery; co-selector Clarissa Corfe, Castlefield Gallery Deputy Director; artist: Maurice Carlin
8th to 17th February 2013

Carlin’s exhibition featured new work exploring the medium of print, publishing and performance often produced within the public realm.