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Manchester Met art students prove they have the X factor with Northern Quarter show

By Mancunian Matters staff

Art and design students from Manchester Metropolitan University are proving they have the X-factor by turning the Northern Quarter in a living gallery.

From flocks of birds and wind chimes made from recycled plastic bottles to a secret city garden, students from the School of Art and Design are marking the end of their Unit X module with a citywide festival showcasing their work.

The students have taken over the Northern Quarter with a huge range of work in galleries and on the street, incorporating installations, graffiti and sculpture and exploring everything from Manchester’s cotton industry to the “big brother” society.

And the public have until tomorrow  to catch the pieces.

Installations include a recycled armchair placed on the empty island in Stevenson Square, a display of vinyl records with QR codes which allowed people to sample different music each day and a community recital of the work of punk poet John Cooper Clarke.

Passers by on Edge Street and Thomas Street can look up to see a human form sculpted from waste metal, while Group 20/20 have organised a treasure trail of flowered watering cans leading to a secret garden area in the heart of the city.

At the new gallery space 2022NQ, on Dale Street, the gallery has been filled with white birds to resemble the way people migrate around the city, and the hope and improvement of the area’s recent regeneration. A tree near the NCP car park will turn Manchester’s biting wind into art thanks to the addition of vibrant wind chimes.

Many of the installations were created by students from Fashion, Interior Design and Three Dimensional Design, under the name Radical Utility. A map and virtual tour of their installations can be seen online.

Unit X gives 450 students from different courses including Three Dimensional Design, Contemporary Art History, Fashion, Filmmaking, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration with Animation, Interactive Arts, Interior Design, Photography and Textiles in Practice the opportunity to work together on outward-facing projects.

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