Archives at Play 2

Archives at Play 2

Artists: George Gibson & Grace Collins, Gherdai Hassell, Anna FC Smith, Alistair Woods.

Archives at Play 2 is the second in a two-part series of exhibitions inviting an exciting roster of artists to delve into Castlefield Gallery’s archive. These exhibitions are part of a process of reflection as the gallery approaches its 40th year in 2024 and looks ahead to the next 40 years of working with artists. 

New works by Alistair Woods and Gherdai Hassell explore cultural and historical narratives, prompting questions, and encouraging us to look at the past anew. Installations by George Gibson & Grace Collins and Anna FC Smith respond directly to the gallery’s archive, inviting visitors to join a conversation about how the gallery’s past might inform its future. 

Archives at Play is a research project led by curator Thomas Dukes as part of a collaborative PhD between Castlefield Gallery and Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. Through events, exhibitions and collaborations, Dukes is looking at how we can activate the archive to ask what Castlefield Gallery means to the communities around us. As well as working with artists through his research process Dukes has drawn many voices into Archives at Play, including Castlefield Gallery’s volunteers, placements, students / learners, peers, partners and supporters, and many of the gallery’s creative communities, including working with Back on Track, Venture arts and Castlefield Forum.

Like Dukes, the artists taking part in the Archives at Play series approach the archive as a living entity – as something not fixed, existing beyond objects, documents, ephemera; existing in the very fabric of the places and spaces the gallery occupies, within people – through our experiences and held in memory.

Archives at Play therefore invites visitors to get directly involved, to be part of the conversation, to co-imagine Castlefield Gallery’s next 40 years, through the exhibition, events programme, on site and via social media.

WATCH NOW: Archives at Play 2 at Castlefield Gallery

In this video, exhibiting artists George Gibson and Gherdai Hassell discuss their work and creative process with curator Thomas Dukes. Filmed and edited by Jules Lister.


For the best experience, once the tour has loaded we recommend selecting the ‘View Fullscreen’ mode in the bottom/right corner

Archives at Play is supported by

This project is funded by the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership, part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council

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