6 May 2016 — 15 May 2016

Natalie Bradbury | Bob Dickinson | Steve Hanson | David Wilkinson

Castlefield Gallery is pleased to present Launch Pad: THE POWERHOUSE LIBERATION MOVEMENT. Featuring film, installation, music, performance and a publication by Manchester Left Writers (MLW), concentrating on the regionally relevant subject of urban regeneration; selected from CG Associate members’ submissions by Jerwood Charitable Foundation Director Shonagh Manson and Castlefield Gallery’s Programme Manager Matthew Pendergast.

For Launch Pad: THE POWERHOUSE LIBERATION MOVEMENT Manchester Left Writers have been searching the city dubbed the “economic powerhouse of the north of England” by Manchester City Council, for what could be “free” spaces: spaces where notions of commonality, free expression and liberation are discoverable and can be accessed by all. This exhibition considers if “free” spaces still exist, how we might identify them? Are their qualities just symbolic or are they real and practical? How are these spaces negotiated by people, in movement, behaviour, and ritual? Do these places stay static and unchanged? Do they survive change by chance, and are they therefore in danger of the forces of gentrification and regeneration? Or are they mobile, mutable, like moveable feasts? How and why do they exist, evading the rules and realities of the increasingly corporate and homogenised city, with its dubious zones of “privatised public space”? Could the qualities of “freedom” they find be introduced to other spaces to change or undermine them?

MLW have recorded their exploratory journeys across the city, linking the Gay Village and MediaCity via their waterways, following the Nico Ditch, an ancient earthwork that crosses south Manchester from east to west, and travelling out to Stockport, Rochdale and Ardwick. They have created what they have come to call ‘Notebook Films’, a series lo-fi, concept-driven, quick raids on territories and ideas.

Documents based on the group’s findings will be included in a new publication alongside a commissioned essay by Dr Gavin Macdonald, Lecturer in Art History at Manchester Metropolitan University, available free for visitors. Maps, notes, photographs and objects found and made during the process of making the films will also be included in the exhibition. During the public preview MLW will perform a sequence of new poems to accompany the work on show at the gallery. In addition, the quintet Vocal Harum (of which Dickinson is a member) will perform a collection of a cappella songs about buildings.

More on MLW:                      

Founded in 2014 Manchester Left Writers (MLW) have published a series of Broadsides, a set of poem-conversations called Precarious Passages, and a number of journal articles. In October 2015 the group developed their first live multimedia presentation when, as part of Manchester Literature Festival, and in collaboration with the North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, MLW performed poems with archive films in unique re-edited forms. MLW performances feature a core group of four writers: Natalie Bradbury, Bob Dickinson, Steve Hanson and David Wilkinson. Bradbury is a writer and founder of the fanzine the Shrieking Violet and is studying for a PhD on postwar art education at the University of Central Lancashire; Dickinson is a journalist and broadcaster, and a regular contributor to the journal Art Monthly; Hanson teaches at the University of Lincoln and his book, Small Towns Austere Times, looking at Todmorden, was published last year by Zero Books; Wilkinson is a Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University and his book, Post-Punk, Politics and Pleasure in Britain will be published in Spring 2016 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Find out more about the CG Associates membership scheme here.

CG’s Launch Pad programme previews are supported by Soup Kitchen, Manchester.
Soup Kitchen Logo 2013