Selfridges to launch the Festival of Imagination

Selfridges Exchange Square is to host a series of innovative talks – plus a pop-up art exhibition of iconic works by leading artists – in partnership with Whitworth Art Gallery.


16 January 2014 will see Selfridges officially launch the Festival of Imagination, an inspiring campaign designed to explore the nature, power and positive impact of imagination across all their stores.

At Exchange Square, the Festival of Imagination will take the form of a series of exciting pop-up events, curated by Dr. Maria Balshaw, director of the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester City Galleries. The programme will include a pop-up art exhibition of iconic works by some of the world’s most famous artists and talks by leading artists, writers, academics and visionaries.

Running in-store until 16 February 2014 it will showcase some of the greatest treasures from the Whitworth’s internationally important collection of paintings, drawings and prints. There will be three major themes to the displays:

Great British Art, including Lucian Freud’s Man’s Head, Peter Blake’s I Love You and Jacob Epstein’s Genesis
Four great artworks by women, including Tracey Emin’s Down at the Bottom of my Soul, Rachel Whiteread’s Drawing for Snow Show, Paula Rego’s Polly Put the Kettle on and Cornelia Parker’s Bullet Drawing
Four great artworks by men, including Pablo Picasso’s The Frugal Meal, Albrecht Durer’s St Jerome in his Study, John Ruskin’s Study of a Laurel Branch and J. M. W. Turner’s The Lorelei, Germany

The Whitworth is currently undergoing a major building development to become a 21st Century gallery in the park and will be closed to the public until autumn 2014. This collaborative display with Selfridges is an opportunity to introduce these key works to the public.

Meanwhile, a schedule of innovative talks, lectures and intimate one-off conversations with special guests will cover everything from how to write a short story and master street-style photography to why fashion and science go hand-in-hand and what happens when the imagination takes a dark and dangerous turn. Speakers include actress Maxine Peake, writer Jeanette Winterson, DJ Dave Haslam, artist Richard Wentworth, author Emma Unsworth, designer Helen Storey and many more – as well as workshops run by local groups such as the Alternative Camera Club and Manchester Urban Sketching.

Dr. Maria Balshaw enthuses: “Manchester is a city built on imagination, from Industrial Revolution entrepreneurs to the artists who come here today to create new, daring and innovative work. In the year that the Whitworth will open in new and extended form, I am delighted to bring to a wider audience some of its incredible artworks, proof for Selfridges and its shoppers of the power of the imagination.”

For the full line up of events see –

To book tickets or reserve your place at any of the events, speak to a member of staff in-store, call 0161 838 0610 or email



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