The Mancunion

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The Manchester Art Group

Alice Marshall and Francesca Reid report on the growing popularity of the Manchester undergraduate arts collective

By and

The Manchester Art Group is an undergraduate collective from the Art History and Visual Studies department at the University of Manchester. We curate events, talks, and exhibitions and promote those organised by other institutions that engage with contemporary art.

With the popularity of the Art History Society in swift decline it was widely acknowledged that, unlike other departments within the university, Art History and Visual Studies lacked a sense of community away from the lecture halls. Hence, a group of third year students alongside Charlie Miller, an AHVS lecturer at Manchester University, established MAG in 2011 with hopes of forming stronger bonds between students, staff and the art world.

MAG is a fantastic platform for up and coming local and amateur artists to display their work in a non-intimidating but professional environment. The Mansfield Cooper corridor is now home to an ever changing exhibition that showcases the work of students and local artists, from across the city. Previous exhibitions, curated by Charlotte Baker and Humphrey Hendrix, have included mediums ranging from photography to etchings that follow a rough theme given by MAG. The current exhibition, for example, is loosely based around the idea that “to live is to leave traces”, a quote taken from the art critic, Walter Benjamin. – go have a look!

As a collective, we have curated a range of innovative and interesting events and exhibitions all inspired by art and artists around us. MAG events, such as the art night and private view of ‘COTTON: Global Threads’ at the Whitworth Art Gallery, which was attended by over 300 people, is an example of not only what MAG can do for you, but what you can do for MAG. It gave people a chance to integrate with the exhibition and collective through creative workshops, whilst sipping on complimentary drinks and listening to the local sounds of DJs, Bug and Leaf, who spun not only tunes but cotton too.

Naomi Kashiwagi is an artist and student liaison officer between the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum. She brings an exciting dynamic to the group keeping us up to date with local events and connects the art group with the northern art scene. The latest opportunity she has presented to the group is co-curating the Student Weekender (part of the Manchester Weekender), which will be a snapshot of the city’s best art and culture. This is an exciting chance for MAG to expand their network by becoming involved with such a prestigious event. We are hoping this collaboration will inspire others to join the collective.

Thanks to the hard work, determination and creative outlook set down by founding members, the grounds have been laid for MAG to become a prolific player in the whole of the northern art scene. MAG is going places and we would love for you to join us! Keep an eye out for future events and exhibitions on our Facebook page, under Manchester Art Group, and if you are interested in becoming a part of the committee or submitting works for future exhibitions, email us at manchesterartgroup@gmail.com.