IMLD 2024: Threads Exhibition

  • DATE

    12 February - 23 March 2024

  • TIME

    9:00 am to 8:00 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome




    Manchester Central Library
    St Peter's Square, Manchester, M2 5PD

Threads is a new physical and digital exhibition of multilingual writing and material from UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Local Manchester writers Keisha Thompson and Hafsah Aneela Bashir have contributed new original work to the exhibition, which you can view in the Histories Hub in City Library at Manchester Central Library.

Manchester and the surrounding towns were long recognised as ‘Cottonopolis’ due to its huge contribution to the cotton industry through manufacture, warehouses and transportation. In this way, textiles and threads are deeply woven through our city’s history.

Cotton-spinning is part of Manchester’s heritage as the world’s first industrial city and as a result is inextricably linked through history to slavery, social reform and protest. Manchester City of Literature are exploring these threads and more through literature, as well as opening the discussion around the world, inviting UNESCO Cities of Literature to look at their own links to textiles and follow these threads as they are interwoven into cultural identities.

The exhibition features creative materials, textiles and writing from Odessa in Ukraine including camouflage nets of the Ukrainian defender created using a technique called “Kikimora”.  Kikimora is also a character in Slavic fairy tales and can be good or evil depending on whom she is dealing with. To these nets creators tie in symbolic lines of poetry, woven hearts and ribbons.

Materials also featured in the exhibition include embroidered artwork from Sísí Ingólfsdóttir, a feminist artist in Reykjavik in Iceland, traditional dress from Granada in Spain, handkerchiefs with Frisian poetry woven through them which were used to wave to ships at a major event in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Writing and original artwork from Wroclaw in Poland, Tartu in Estonia and Melbourne in Australia will feature. Plus Exeter, Norwich and Nottingham in the UK, as well as Manchester have contributed to the exhibition.

The Threads exhibition takes place 12th February-23rd March to coincide with International Mother Language Day, an internationally recognised UNESCO designated day to celebrate the importance of Mother Languages to promote unity in diversity and international understanding through multilingualism and multiculturalism. Manchester City of Literature leads the, now 53, UNESCO Cities of Literature for International Mother Language Day in February each year, to mark the fact that around 200 languages are spoken in Manchester at any one time.

This exhibition is in partnership with Manchester’s DNA at the University of Manchester. With thanks to Manchester Histories for hosting the exhibition in their space.