About 8 months ago I came to Manchester for the first time and immediately fell in love with the city’s architecture, art and heart. The brick donning towers, the splatters of colourful pride and the omnipresent worker bee drew me in – cue to a month after that – I decided to pack up and move here! Partly because in some ways the city reflected my own artsy chaos, rebelliousness and feminist vigour. While I’m quite new here, thanks to my well-versed-in-Mancunian inner circle, my love of walks and maybe a few travel blogs, I’ve enjoyed a fair bit of the city’s intricate fabric and vibrancy. If I had to choose 5 out of all the things that mesmerised me, I think these would be it:
1. Exploring Louise Giovanelli’s exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery The Manchester based painter’s work has drawn from early Renaissance masters Duccio, Giotto and Piero della Francesca, as well as contemporary artists Mark Manders and Victor Man, and the exhibition bears an ode to that. The display sees her work in dialogue with the works of these artists, exploring the concepts of flatness, translucence, abstraction and realism. Visit and support our local artists Louise Giovanelli. Not keen on art? MAG’s store has the best selection of jewellery and trinkets from local makers, and there’s always something new, so you’ll never get bored – while you buy local!
2. Volunteering at the Pay What You Can Cafe Pay What You Can works to address the link between food poverty and experiencing mental health problems. They are using food provided by FareShare, which otherwise would go to landfill. As an alternative to food banks, they run a number of sessions across the city each week to ensure as many people as possible can access the service. Whether you can cook or not, volunteering with them is an absolute delight. Check out their page for more information.
3. Listening to #PauletteTakeover While volunteering is great, some days I just want to stay in bed, away from the rain and the cold. On such days listening to DJ Paulette’s #PauletteTakeover on Reform Radio is a joy. The guests, the eclectic range of music and the Hacienda resident’s peppiness is just the flare a rainy afternoon needs.
4. Having dinner date at the Menagerie (take yourself, because why not?) Founded by the North West's youngest independent female Restaurant Operator & Owner – Karina Jadhav – the Menagerie offers what it very aptly calls a vibrant dining experience. Showcasing dancers, aerial acrobats, singers, sideshow acts, burlesque and more, the experience in itself is worth going for. Plus, it’s pretty! And did I mention owned by the North West's youngest independent female Restaurant Operator & Owner?
5. Listening to Strong Manchester Women If you like a walk and a podcast as much as I do, I highly, HIGHLY recommend these conversations with captivating activists, leaders and change makers making our communities better. Obliterating all borders of colour, class and orientation, this podcast is always inspiring.
And if all else fails, my go-to is to pick an independent cafe and settle in with coffee, some cake and a good book – can’t go wrong with that!
If these seem more amateur than ‘fresh pair of eyes’-esque and you have suggestions, give us a shout and keep us posted.