Visual Arts at the Festival of Libraries 2022

15 June 2022 - News
There are so many ways to take part in this year’s Festival of Libraries. Libraries are using their spaces to showcase the many ways in which we can enjoy visual arts, from discussing the practice, viewing displayed work or getting involved in creating your own pieces!


Inspired By Libraries: Jackie Kay and Abigail Reynolds 

Abigail Reynolds is a multimedia artist whose work seeks to explore and conceptually narrate her adoration for libraries and books. She previously produced a piece titled When Words are Forgotten (2020), described as a ‘library of glass’  in response to her travels which navigates libraries lost, among other damage produced through political conflict. 

Now, for the British Art Show 9 tour, she will be developing a project titled Elliptical Reading; a reading hour taking place in each place BAS9 visits. Adoption Papers, written by author, Jackie Kay, was one of the chosen books for Abigail to include in the reading hour, and will use, amongst other chosen books, to produce an expressive collage made from extracts. 

The Inspired By event is sure to be brimming with inspiring and creative conversations, as Abigail and Jackie get together to discuss their creative practices and dig deep to discover why and how libraries have impacted their professional and personal lives. The Inspired By Libraries event with Jackie and Abigail will take place at the Manchester Poetry Library on 16th June 2022, you can book your tickets here. Visit Abigail’s website to view and discover more stunning and versatile work.


10 Years to Save the World: Comic Arts Exhibition

Comic books and illustrations serve as multipurpose tools which can benefit us personally or collaboratively in small and large ways. 10 Years to Save the World demonstrates this perfectly through their arts exhibition, as they document, through commissions from UK and Phillipinian artists, the importance of recognising the need to take action against climate change. 

Through a variety of mediums, illustrative styles and witty perspectives, each artist portrays urgency in the need for advocacy The exhibition was previously held at MediaCityUK, so the opportunity to view this exhibition in a library is a great one! 

10 Years to Save the World will be on display at Wythenshawe Forum from 6th – 30th June 2022. For more information on the cause and the artists involved, visit their website.


Print Me A Poem at Chetham’s Library

This is your chance to use a printing press! Don’t miss the chance to print Festival of Libraries Ambassador Lemn Sissay’s gorgeous poem on a printing press at Chetham’s Library. Taking place on Thursday and Friday at either 11am or 2pm and do book your place in advance as tickets are limited.

Happy, Safe and Free at Manchester Central Library

Since the beginning of 2022 over 10,000 school students across our city have been making artworks expressing what makes them ‘happy’, ‘safe’ and ‘free’. They then destroyed their artworks, shedding each piece to illustrate the loss of the basic human needs of happiness, safety, and freedom. The shredded artworks will be on display as ‘seas’ with origami boats floating on top to symbolise the dangerous journeys migrants and refugees are forced to make to find a place of sanctuary. Make your visit 10am-5pm on Saturday 18th June.

Reading Rocks!

Reading Rocks! is a craft activity provided from over six different libraries, where families can take a small rock and design it using pens and paint  in any which way they choose! 

Recreate a favourite book cover, illustrate a character or place from one of your most-loved books! Once the designs are complete, your task is to leave them somewhere outside for someone else to find. 

This is a great way to spread the joy from your time at the Festival of Libraries! Find participating libraries and dates at the bottom of this page.

Kindness Bookmark Making

The world could always be helped with a little more kindness in it. Littleborough Library and Langley Library are hosting workshops for young people to design their own Words of Kindness bookmarks. 

All materials, including the bookmark template, will be provided, and attendees can design their bookmark in a way which they best feel would portray kindness. Once completed, the bookmarks will be laminated and bookmark designers are encouraged to gift the bookmark to a friend, leave it in a library of their choosing for another to find or pass it on to a stranger! 

This workshop is brimming with positivity, encourages creativity and flourishes our little pocket of the world with a little more kindness. To find details of each workshop, scroll down below to find one near you.


Interacting with libraries extends beyond that of simply loaning a book. Community engagement sits at the core of all libraries’ values, and enjoying art by viewing it and actively participating in it is one of the many ways we want you to enjoy your local libraries this year at our Festival of Libraries 2022. Be sure to check out our full programme of events to discover something unexpected in your local library!