A Four-Day Celebration of Queer Art, Music and Performance is Taking Over the Northern Quarter Next Week

New Normal 2022 will explore the city’s queer creative community through various artforms at venues across Northern Quarter.

By Emma Davidson | Last updated 12 August 2022

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Off the back of a very successful 2021 programme, New Normal is back with a line-up of Manchester’s best LGBTQIA+ artists who will perform at various venues across the city in the lead up to Manchester Pride 2022. 

The exhibition will reflect the personal stories, struggles and strength of the Manchester community through a range of art mediums including; spoken work, poetry, music, dance, DJ sets, karaoke and illustrations.

Each creative will provide their own unique craft to the exhibition, for example, photographer J5XUS’s (Ryan McDermott) work is a glimpse into Manchester’s after hours queer meccas, otherwise known as the beloved home of the community. 

Smart Barnett is a textile and design artist who will showcase his ‘What’s Your Fantasy?’ exhibition that works to normalise gay sex, sexual fantasies and how we find creativity from sex. 

His work sits at the intersection of textiles and digital art where embroidery is at the core. The contrast of this often perceived, traditional technique combined with the imagery and themes within his work can be disarming and provocative.

Spoken word performances come from the likes of Hözart, Loll The Poet and Aisha Akram, and a number of DJs such as P-Ro, Stan, Scapa and Dj Soyboi will soundtrack the four day spectacle. 

Feel Good Club will also host a number of events including a queer quiz, an interactive art pop-up, the launch of brand-new book by owners Aimie and Kiera and a live open-mic evening. 

The rest of the programme will be held across various other Northern Quarter venues including; Takk Coffee, Whiskey Jar, Hilton House, Foundation Coffee, Unitom, LiveWell, Fierce Beer, Common and KERB Wine in Ancoats.

Speaking of the event, organiser Johnny V said: “Manchester has become my home and creating something like this is my way of giving back to the community that made me feel like I finally belong. I’m truly grateful to be surrounded by so many supportive people. I work as a marketing executive for CERT, a property developer where I’m encouraged for my creativity and self-expression . My colleagues have always been there to listen to my ideas and believed in my abilities to make things happen. I was fully supported when I had this idea last year, and I still continue to get that support organising this year’s New Normal.

“CERT helped me start this journey to promote LGBTQ+ in the most creative way I can think of. I’m hoping that this journey will help develop NQ places to be more inclusive and welcoming to everyone regardless of gender, skin colour, and body shape. A safe place for everyone.”

The exhibition debuted back in 2021, and was curated as a way to provide greater visibility for all LGBTQIA+ people, not just exclusively artists. It aims to celebrate identity within the community and make a defiant stand for equality.  

The event is free, but organisers are fundraising for two Manchester-based LGBTQIA+ charities, the Albert Kennedy Trust – a charity supporting young queer people aged 16-25 who are facing or experiencing homelessness – and MensRoom, an art and health charity supporting LGBTQ+ men and trans people who sex work and are homeless, or both.  


New Normal 2022

Date: 17th & 20th August 
Venues: Takk Coffee, Whiskey Jar, Hilton House, Foundation Coffee, Unitom, LiveWell, Fierce Beer, Common and KERB Wine
Price: FREE

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