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Castlefield Gallery is pleased to present Launch Pad: THE POWERHOUSE LIBERATION MOVEMENT. Featuring film, installation, music, performance and a publication by Manchester Left Writers (MLW), concentrating on the regionally relevant subject of urban regeneration; selected from CG Associate members’ submissions by Jerwood Charitable Foundation Director Shonagh Manson and Castlefield Gallery’s Programme Manager Matthew Pendergast.

For Launch Pad: THE POWERHOUSE LIBERATION MOVEMENT Manchester Left Writers have been searching the city dubbed the “economic powerhouse of the north of England” by Manchester City Council, for what could be “free” spaces: spaces where notions of commonality, free expression and liberation are discoverable and can be accessed by all. This exhibition considers if “free” spaces still exist, how we might identify them? Are their qualities just symbolic or are they real and practical? How are these spaces negotiated by people, in movement, behaviour, and ritual? Do these places stay static and unchanged? Do they survive change by chance, and are they therefore in danger of the forces of gentrification and regeneration? Or are they mobile, mutable, like moveable feasts? How and why do they exist, evading the rules and realities of the increasingly corporate and homogenised city, with its dubious zones of “privatised public space”? Could the qualities of “freedom” they find be introduced to other spaces to change or undermine them?

MLW have recorded their exploratory journeys across the city, linking the Gay Village and MediaCity via their waterways, following the Nico Ditch, an ancient earthwork that crosses south Manchester from east to west, and travelling out to Stockport, Rochdale and Ardwick. They have created what they have come to call ‘Notebook Films’, a series lo-fi, concept-driven, quick raids on territories and ideas.

Documents based on the group’s findings will be included in a new publication alongside a commissioned essay by Dr Gavin Macdonald, Lecturer in Art History at Manchester Metropolitan University, available free for visitors. Maps, notes, photographs and objects found and made during the process of making the films will also be included in the exhibition. During the public preview MLW will perform a sequence of new poems to accompany the work on show at the gallery. In addition, the quintet Vocal Harum (of which Dickinson is a member) will perform a collection of a cappella songs about buildings.

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Later Event: May 19