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Mick Rock exhibition tour 2006


Urbis ran an eclectic events programme covering a broad and unusual range of subjects, which coincided with and complemented our exhibitions.  Talks, walks, discussions, workshops, performances and film screenings all formed part and parcel of our programme, which ranged from blogging to music downloads and the future of album cover design; how to speak in ‘Manc’ to tales about the Hacienda;  free running to the future of architecture in the city. Whilst giving plenty of food for thought, Urbis’ events certainly sparked much debate and a were most definitely a sign of the times…  

We fondly remember  a selection below:  

Music and the Hacienda

Hacienda exhibition tour 2007

What’s the Cover Story?7 April 2004
Liverpool and Manchester Design Initiative, in association with Urbis, brought together top industry designers and reps to debate the fate of album cover design in the era of musical downloads, and ask whether art will ever make its mark on a generation’s music fans again.  


PUNK: In Conversation with Paul Morley & Anthony Wilson – 20 July 2005
This evening offered a unique opportunity to hear celebrated writer, broadcaster and musician Paul Morley in a conversation with Tony Wilson, the legendary TV journalist and music entrepreneur. Part of exhibition: Punk!Sex Seditionaries and the Sex Pistols  

Fanzines R US – Thursday 18 August 2005
Bob Dickinson, writer and broadcaster at the BBC, and Liz Naylor, co-editor of City Fun, looked at the history of the fanzine, particularly fanzines in the Manchester area during the punk and post punk years from 1976 to 1983, including City Fun, Out There, Shy Talk, Ghast Up and Girl Trouble. Part of exhibition:  Punk! Sex, Seditionaries and the Sex Pistols.  

Factory Records Book Launch and Discussion Panel –  13 July 2006
To celebrate the publication of Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album by Matthew Robertson, an exciting line-up featuring designers such as Peter Saville and Pat Caroll discussed the visual legacy of one of the most important record labels in Britain. Part of exhibition: Hacienda 25 the exhibition Fac 491  

Mick Rock’s Masterclass – Sunday 9 October 2006
This event was the chance to spend a day in the company of the one of the world’s most eccentric and loved photographer, who was responsible for pioneering music video and art-directing the imagery of Ziggy Stardust and Queen. Part of exhibition: Rock n Roll icons, the photography of Mick Rock  

What Was so Good About the Hacienda Then? – 14 November 2006:
An informal panel discussion chaired by Alison Surtees from Manchester District Music Archive. This lively discussion looked at the world’s most famous club and discussed memories, myths and the different phases of the club’s life. Part of exhibition: Hacienda 25 the exhibition Fac 491  

Who Killed Martin Hannett? – 25 July 2007
A book launch and evening of music to celebrate Colin Sharp’s book Who Killed Martin Hannett?  

An Evening with Peter Hook….In Second Life 6 September 2007
This event brought Hacienda pioneers Peter Hook, Peter Saville and Ben Kelly to the table and was also broadcast and attended by guests at the virtual Urbis in Second Life. Part of exhibition: Hacienda 25 the exhibition Fac 491  

Art & Design

Arrivals and Departures exhibition tour 2007

An Audience with Peter Saville24 & 25 March 2004
On two exclusive dates Urbis gave Saville fans the chance to find out what inspires and motivates him, as he discussed his work with Factory records to the state of graphic design today. The evenings took an informal format based on a Q&A with the audience. Part of exhibition: The Peter Saville Show  

Kern up the Volume: An evening with Erik Spiekerman – 1 November 2006
Organised to coincide with the D&AD exhibition, Erik Spiekermann, the  internationally renowned architect of fonts, type designer and author gave a public lecture at Urbis as part of his national tour. Focusing on typical typographic themes, Erik was joined by two locally based designers, and delivered a highly entertaining and informative evening.  

Artist Talk with Gordon Cheung – 8 March 2007
Artist Gordon Cheung delivered a talk about how his magnificent  multi-media paintings capture hallucinatory visions of the chasm between the virtual and actual realities of a globalised world oscillating between Utopia and Dystopia. Part of exhibition:  Arrivals and Departures  

The Buy Art Fair – 10 -12 October 2008 & 25-27 Oct 2009
During its two stints at Urbis, the Buy Art Fair was the North’s leading contemporary art fair and took over all four floors the building. Proving extremely popular with customers, collectors and exhibitors alike, it featured paintings, ceramics, photography and limited edition prints from galleries and artists across the UK, at prices to suit almost any budget.   

Matthew Lutz Kinnoy: Welcome to the Story of My Life – 8 April 2009
A one-man show performed in the context of an art exhibition. Live performance comprising  rock ballads fused with dance, painting, sculpture and installation. Part of exhibition: State of the Art: New York  

Architecture & the City

Urban Oasis event 2006

Sustainability in the SuperCity: A Dialogue for Future Living18 March 2005
Will Alsop, one of the most celebrated architects of our time joined Tom Dyckhoff, architecture and design critic for The Times and contributor to The Guardian, the BBC, GQ, Channel 4, Grand Designs Magazine, Domus, Arena, Icon and Blueprint in a discussion about the future of architecture. Part of exhibition: SuperCity – Will Alsop’s vision for the Future of the North  

In Conversation with Will Alsop and Tom Dyckoff13 April 2005
This talk featured Urbis Creative Director, Scott Burnham, celebrated engineer and urban thinker Martin Stockley and invited guests. They explored radical differences of public space, and ways in which we can form new relationships with the existing spaces which surround us. Part of exhibition: SuperCity – Will Alsop’s vision for the Future of the North  

FIBA Awards 2006 – 23 June 2006
Michael Trainor and his secret panel of judges were determined to discover the worst of Manchester architecture. The winners (or losers!), were announced at Urbis and Michael Trainor led an open-top bus tour on Friday 23 June to examine the architecture that does NOT make the grade.  

China Beijing Culture Shock – 9 November 2006
 In this revealing public lecture, contemporary female artist Xing Danwen spoke intimately about some of her work and its themes, reflecting on how the social and political climate of her hometown Beijing influences her art. Part of exhibition: The China Show  

Popular Culture


Introversion – Independent’s Day7 June 2008
Chris Delay and Mark Morris discussed their role in the creation of the indie game developer Introversion. Billed as “the last of the bedroom programmers”, Introversion has produced some of the finest PC games to date, among them Uplink, DEFCON, Darwinia and Multiwinia. This talk gave real, first hand insight into the problems faced by small teams face and how to overcome them. Part of exhibition Videogame Nation  

John Hare – Playing for England – 14 June 2008
In this informative talk, John Hare gave insight into the making of one of Britain’s most fondly remembered sports games of all time: Sensible Soccer. A Norwich City, he divulged some of  the game’s deepest secrets and how he expanded the debut game to make Sensible World of Soccer, comparing his creations to the current footballing crop. Part of exhibition Videogame Nation  

Getting Dizzy with the Oliver Twins – 28 June 2008
Quintessentially British, the adventures of Dizzy from the 1980s and early 1990s are fondly remembered today. In this talk, the Oliver Twins charted the history of the infamous egg-like character which they created when they were just teenagers and discussed the puzzles, maps and character that proved so central to the game’s enduring popularity. Part of exhibition Videogame Nation  

Manic Musings with Matthew Smith – 19 July 2008
Matthew Smith confesses his mind is mad. After all, he did give us animated toilets and pirouetting rabbits. But that “crazy” mind also produced Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy and he has gone on to earn his place as one of the best Spectrum programmers of all time.  In this talk listeners were invited to find out more about Smith and his mysterious and interesting life and work. Part of exhibition: Videogame Nation  

Matthew Caudwell – Retro Revival – 26 July 2008
You may think the much-loved Spectrum is dead. Not so. In this event Jonathan Cauldwell set about producing a brand new Spectrum game from scratch live at Urbis throughout the day, and in the process showed the importance of gameplay and how the games of your childhood were made. Part of exhibition: Videogame Nation  


Guerilla Gardening 2008

Guerilla Gardening3 May 2008
This event was a chance to go undercover in a night-time expedition where a decrepit urban area was subversively rejuvenated through community gardening activity. The event was organised in association with the National Wildflower Centre in Liverpool and artist Jason Minsky. Part of exhibition: Urban Gardening  

Manga Maniacs! – Saturday 28 June  

Urbis hosted this special event to see how many manic Manga fans were out there, inviting them in to have their photo taken dressed up cos-play style. Over 50 turned up to be judged by our panel and later saw their pictures adorn the walls of the gallery! Part of exhibition: How Manga took over the world  

The Culture of the City

The City as Playground – 6 November 2004
To celebrate the 10th Birthday of The National Lottery, Urbis launched The City as Playground, a new film by international DJ, presenter and independent filmmaker Elliot Eastwick. Conceived and produced specifically for Urbis, this 20 minute documentary film explored the cityscape as an arena for play, investigating how it has been adopted by sporting sub-cultures which use the landscape of the city for alternative means.  

Subversive Sports in the City – 12 August 2006
Hosted by filmmaker and DJ Elliot Eastwick this demonstration of the extreme urban sport, free-running was performed by Team Sinister. Originating in the Paris suburbs and called Parkour, free-running is a sport which involves leaping, vaulting and jumping over architecture in the city.  

Y’Alright – Speaking in Manc – 5 September 2006
Led by dialect coach Mark Langley, this workshop explored how the Manchester accent has developed over the past 50 years and looked at the influence of culture and place upon it, looking at historical documents such as BBC news reports, episodes of Coronation Street and the film ‘ A Taste of Honey’. Part of exhibition 0161 Manchester  

Political Bloggers and the New Media Landscape – 24 September 2006
To coincide with the Labour Party Conference (24 – 28 September), this panel discussion explored the ways political bloggers are changing the media.  

Engel’s Manchester: History Lessons from Cottonopolis with Tristram Hunt – 28 November 2007
Guest speaker, Dr. Tristram Hunt, historian, newspaper columnist and TV celebrity debated the future of the city of Manchester in his discussion, From Cottonopolis to Original Modern: lessons from 19th Century Manchester for the 21st,  in this panel debate.  

We also ran events and workshop sessions especially for families with children of all ages

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