Cultural ecology: it’s what Manifest Arts CIC is all about. This third festival – bigger and better than ever - went live last Thursday (30 May) in the uber-cool surroundings of Work.Life, which is Manifest’s temporary base for the duration of the festival. Work.Life is a hub for ‘hard-working instrumentalists’ – a description that could just as easily sum up the Manifest team. They are dedicated, passionate and focused on forging connections. As ever, the festival brings together studios and sole practitioners to showcase the best contemporary art the region has to offer. This year, the regional spread has grown, with events from central Manchester and Salford to Bolton, Altrincham and - for the first time - Wigan.
At the launch, there was holding of breath as the clock counted down. There was an actual button pressed when the website went live. There was a bottle of fizz. There was even free pizza and wine laid on by Work.Life (a regular end-of-week occurrence for them, but it added a celebratory flavour to the proceedings). And the social media buzz began.
As guest blogger on the Manifest site, I’ll be providing a ‘writer’s-eye view’ of some of the 50+ events that make up this year’s festival (just don’t expect a review of all of them!). I’m fascinated to observe the diversity of offerings that make up the cultural ecology Manifest Arts so care about. I think of it like a rhizome – a plant stem made up of a mass of roots stretching over a distance, subterranean and intimately connected. Join me as I dive in and see what’s below the surface.
You can follow the goings-on of Manifest on Twitter @ManifestArts as it gears up to opening night on 12 July