all change

It’s been rather quiet here recently, but that’s because I’ve been busy!

Since I last posted, there have been lots of changes: I’ve just moved down London, and this week started an exciting new job...

I’m still getting used to being here in London, especially during the current tropical-style heatwave, but I’m looking forward to getting to know more of the arts scene, and of course, I’ll be writing about my discoveries here.

However, I won’t be leaving Manchester behind me altogether. I’m still studying at Manchester University, and I'm expecting to spend lots of time up in the rainy city, especially given all the exciting things coming up in the next few months (and after all, I’ll need my regular chips and gravy fix): in fact I’ll be back there this very weekend to check out Jeremy Deller’s Procession as well as the launch of Trade City.

You may also have noticed that the blog has a new look, which I thought would be a good way to celebrate my new location! The sharp-eyed amongst you may also have noticed it’s not quite finished yet, but I’m getting there... so watch this space!

In the meantime: any London experts out there with suggestions of where to go and what to see? Exciting art and cultural happenings you know of? Survival tips for the big city? I'd love to hear them all...

countdown to manchester international festival

It’s now just 13 days until the international festival hits Manchester. In the meantime, there are lots of things to see and do. It’s a while since I’ve written about art in Manchester, so I thought I’d mention a few highlights:

1. Between Tracks: The Salford Restoration Office & The International 3

Between Tracks (until 18 July) is an exhibition of new work by nine British and Swiss artists, developed in collaboration with the St. Gallen based artist group NETEX. The aim of the show is to encourage discussion between artists who are based outside their respective country’s main art centres. In May of this year, twelve Manchester artists exhibited alongside six Swiss artists in St. Gallen’s disused Badhaus building: Between Tracks is the second part of the exchange process, showing work by five Swiss artists alongside four British artists. Highlights for me were Aleksandra Signer’s video works, David Sherry’s quirky drawings and Dave Griffiths’ playful and intriguing Nataraja.

2. POI: Moving, Mapping, Memory: Cornerhouse

POI is the first in a new series of exhibitions at Cornerhouse entitled Editions - an annual month-long venture to provide a showcase for new, innovative and experimental art, and a testing-ground for risk-taking ideas and cross-disciplinary collaborations. POI (which stands for both ‘P.O.I.’ or point of interest, and for ‘poi’, the Maori art of spinning objects through space) brings together a range of media artworks by eight artists to explore notions of how we understand, map and remember both time and space. This varied exhibition brings together video installations, sound sculptures, textile media and interactive installations: highlights for me were Rob Strongitham’s atmospheric piece Ar Dievu, and Eimer Birkbek’s sound installation InstantanĂ©s (Marseille)

3. The Cutting Room Experiment

The votes are in, and the schedule for Saturday has been announced! As well as musical statues, clothes swapping, extreme space hopper racing, record-breaking conga lines and a silent disco, visitors will have the opportunity to join in with writing a collabotative ‘Book of 1000 authors’ and check out an unveiling of a new work by artist Dan Dubowitz. To see the full schedule go here.

4. MMU Degree Show

It’s that time of year again! The MMU Degree shows will be open to the public from Saturday 20 June - Sunday 28 June, and the private view is tonight! Always good fun, and a great opportunity to spot Manchester’s newest up and coming talents...

5. Artist Book Fair: A Foundation

OK, so it’s not a Manchester event, but it’s a mere train ride away. A Foundation will be holding the second Liverpool Artist’s Book Fair on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June, complete with stalls, book-related performances (including one from the excellent Publish & Be Damned), readings, games and (most important of all) delicious cakes. Artists, illustrators and small presses from across the UK will be showcasing a whole selection of their books, zines and paper-based work: take home a unique work of art from as little as £1! And if you’re over that way, why not also check out the Colour Chart exhibition at Tate Liverpool or the End of the Line exhibition at the Bluecoat which explores fresh approaches to contemporary drawing?

If you’re still short of things to do in the coming week, have a gander at Soup o' th' Day, a handy new visual representation of what’s going on in Manchester on any given day!

And finally, not forgetting this year's Best of Manchester Awards! The shortlist has now been announced: shortlisted in the Art category are Manchester luminaries Rachel Goodyear, Contents May Vary and Owl Project, with special mentions also going to Maurice Carlin and Nick Jordan. The winner will be announced on 23 July. And keep your eyes peeled for the mysterious spoof BOMA posters around town, as seen above... find out more about the mystery here.

happy birthday blog!

On Sunday, Follow the Yellow Brick Road celebrated its first birthday! It all started way back here, but since then, I've had a great year of blog adventures.

I've looked at a lot of art; acquired my very own ruby slippers; written stuff here and here and here; taken some extremely artless photographs; won an award; explored london; experimented with handmade publications; pondered the meaning of blogging; survived a winter of illness and leaking ceilings thanks to favourite things, inspirations, fluffy bunnies and loveliness; investigated tumblr and twitter; written this; celebrated my 26th birthday with friends and glittery cakes; meandered along scottish beaches and through damp french fields; started a writing group; read a lot of books (especially children’s books); and even made a list of fun things to do next. Who knows what adventures the next year will bring?

(Image via here)