Fire up your grey matter, Manchester! Selfridges’ Festival of Imagination ‘throws away routine’

By Stephen Hutson

As the popular ITV series ‘Mr Selfridge’ has returned to screens now the philosophies of the man himself are being realised by Manchester’s ‘Festival of Imagination’.

Harry Selfridge was the visionary behind one of the UK’s biggest retail emporiums who famously said ‘imagination is the mother of originality, we encourage imagination in every way possible’.

So it is fitting that The Whitworth Art Gallery is going to ‘encourage imagination’ by bringing an eclectic mix of creative thinkers and innovators to Selfridges’ Exchange Square.

Whitworth’s Creative Director Maria Balshaw said: “Manchester is a city built on imagination and creative energy; from Industrial Revolution entrepreneurs to the artists and designers who come here today to create new and daring work.

“The Whitworth Art Gallery has been part of the cultural energy of Manchester for 125 years.

The festival, which runs until February 20, will consist of a series of creative conversations between leading artists, lunchtime workshops, and Whitworth’s pop-up art exhibitions.

Ms Balshaw added: “Selfridges are hosting a pop-up gallery so that eleven of the greatest works in the collection, from Lucian Freud’s self-portrait to Jacob Epstein’s Genesis sculpture, to Tracey Emin’s intimate self-portrait can be shared with a broader audience.”

A number of famous faces will also be involved in the events, such as Bolton actress Maxine Peake, who will be discussing ‘the theatre of the mind’ and creating drama.

The alternative camera club will be running a workshop on street style photography through the use of Instagram.

Other events taking place will be an on-location workshop on urban sketching as well as a talk on dinosaurs from one of the country’s leading palaeontologists.

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Picture courtesy of Richard Rutter, with thanks.

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