Chanel to show Métiers d’Art collection in Manchester

Chanel has announced that its next Métiers d’Art show will be held on 7 December in Manchester, England. The Métiers d’Art show is held in cities that inspire the house and past iterations have been held in Tokyo and Dakar. Manchester’s rich industrial past and deep connections to music and art culture have landed it on Chanel’s map.

Destination shows have drastically ramped up since the pandemic. In the last six months, Dior showed in India; Gucci showed in Seoul; Saint Laurent in Berlin and Versace in Los Angeles. Chanel itself also showed its cruise collection in LA, which it will repeat in Chinese city Shenzhen this November. The shows — which invite VIP attendees and take place outside of the high-volume of tentpole fashion seasons — can drive crucial buzz for brands during otherwise quiet calendar moments.

As the world’s first industrial city, Manchester, is best known for being an industrial hub for textiles in the 19th century. The city and its surrounding boroughs were once home to over 100 cotton mills, fondly known as “Cottonopolis”. The city’s architecture still reflects its history in textiles, with the mostly now-defunct mills converted into housing forming most of the city’s skyline.

In more recent years the city has become renowned for its connection to music, as the birthplace of bands The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order and Oasis.

Chanel will be the first major luxury house to show in the UK second city, but Manchester has been known to inspire collections from designers like Raf Simons and Haider Ackermann, who showed in Manchester last year to present his collaboration with Fila.

Chanel said in a statement “Métiers d’Art collections are designed to show off Chanel’s speciality ateliers, from milliner Maison Michel to embroiderers Lésage, which the brand has gradually acquired over the last forty years, Presented in cities and places that inspire the House, from Tokyo to New York, via Dakar last year, this collection bears witness to the historic commitment of Chanel to this exceptional artisanal heritage and its influence around the world.”

Plans for Salford Crescent Innovation North announced

Plans have been submitted for up to 933 new homes, as well as 1.7m sq ft of new commercial innovation floorspace, academic and research floorspace, as part of Crescent Innovation North a key part of the wider £2.5bn, 252-acre Salford Crescent masterplan.

The plans from Muse Holdings, in a JV with Salford City Council,  The English Cities Fund (ECF), and the University of Salford will see the area where people, industry and academia will meet and will focus on creating a research, development and innovation campus at the university.

Julian Stott, Development Director at Muse Holding said:

“The vision for Crescent is unique and we’re working hard for the people of Salford to turn that vision into reality.

“People make place and Crescent Innovation North, as an important stage of major regeneration, will connect communities across the city to opportunities to enable them to thrive and prosper.

“Together with the community, the university and the city council, we’re forging ahead with our collective vision to create a robust and resilient Salford that’s seen on a global stage as a leader of innovation, collaboration and placemaking.”


Vice-Chancellor at the University of Salford, Professor Helen Marshall, commented: This is another exciting step in bringing greater prosperity to our pioneering city, through innovation and applied research.

“This development will help facilitate collaboration across the region and help build a network of innovation support and development, to help businesses grow and become even more successful. Specifically for the university, it will offer a new way to engage with our long-standing partners and to develop and attract new partners.”


Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, said:It is fantastic news to see that our ambitious plans for Crescent Innovation North are moving forwards.

“With our Crescent partners – the English Cities Fund and University of Salford – we are pushing ahead with our vision to create world-class research and development facilities that local people and businesses can benefit from.

“The Crescent Innovation North proposals are a key element of the wider vision for the Crescent area and will change the face of the area through the creation of a high-quality innovation environment, where people can achieve their full potential.”

The whole masterplan will see the delivery of over 3,000 homes, over 1m sq ft of space to innovate and collaborate, alongside 1m sq ft of offices, retail, leisure, a new multi-modal transport hub with active travel at its heart, set within vast areas of green space.


Salford set to become arts and culture hotspot thanks to major funding boost

Residents across Salford can look forward to the biggest ever city-wide programme of creative activities and events thanks to a £749,600 funding boost from Arts Council England National Lottery Projects Grants.

The announcement and confirmation of the funding follows a bid submitted by Salford Culture and Place Partnership, led by Salford City Council. It will now see the partnership working with cultural organisations, creative groups and residents across the city as part of the project to bring fun, entertaining and wellbeing focussed activities to the city’s parks, gardens, high streets and neighbourhoods.

As part of the three-year programme, local organisations will create events and activities focused round different themes:

  • RHS Garden Bridgewater will develop a new Working Wood for young people to benefit from the benefits of traditional woodland craft activities.
  • Outdoor arts organisation Walk the Plank will train ‘Creative Explorers’ to bring new creativity and adventure to city events.
  • The team behind Sounds From The Other City will have people dancing in the streets with mini pop-up music festivals.
  • We Invented the Weekend’ will again transform MediaCityUK and the Quays into a family friendly festival celebrating free time.
  • Local artists and creative groups will also be invited to develop and test new event ideas through a ‘Make it in Salford’ programme and schools in the city will get creative through new artist commissions led by the Salford Local Cultural Education Partnership.

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said:

“This is great news for the city and our residents. We have a thriving cultural sector in the city doing great work all-year round, through our world-class cultural institutions, like The Lowry theatre and art gallery, Media City, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and RHS Garden Bridgewater.

“The city’s cultural sector is also comprised of fantastic arts organisations such as Walk the Plank, Islington Mill and From The Other, not forgetting those organisations that play an instrumental role in delivering on our creative health ambitions such as START Inspiring Minds and DIY Theatre Company.

“The successful bid and funding from the Arts Council England will enable the city’s rich, vibrant and unique cultural ecology to further our commitments to animating the city and place-making, making Salford a destination and a place where artists, creatives and makers from all walks of life can live, work and make their work, whilst also ensuring that art, creativity and making are accessible for everyone in the city.

“This crucial funding, especially in this 13th year of austerity and with on-going financial challenges in local government, will now mean that plans for a programme of events, developed with partners and residents, can now be brought to fruition for everyone to experience.

“The funding will also allow us to build on the progress we’ve made in animating the city following the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst also reflecting and learning from our inaugural Festival of Free Time: We Invented The Weekend.  With this positive news and our city’s recent cultural successes, it really does promise to be an exciting time to write the next chapter of Salford’s cultural history.”

Jen Cleary, Director North, Arts Council England said:

“I’m very pleased that we have awarded £749,600 through our National Lottery Projects Grants to support this ambitious creative programme in Salford.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to enable the city’s artists and creatives to share more of their work in public spaces such as parks and high streets for the benefit of local residents and visitors. It’s an exciting time for Salford and I’m looking forward to experiencing some of the programme over the next three years.”

Business Leaders and Innovators join forces to discuss net zero challenges

Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP) members, local business leaders and net zero innovators came together at Bruntwood’s Circle Square on 13th July 2023 for The Energy Innovation Agency’s event “Net-Zero for Greater Manchester – challenges and innovation opportunities”.

The event provided an opportunity for those passionate about decarbonising to network, allowing innovators and end users to meet with the view of closing crucial testing gaps in the innovation cycle and accelerating the commercialisation of green technologies.

Throughout the event, which was chaired by Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP) Green Lead Steve Connor, leaders in the space were invited to join panels which discussed the biggest energy challenges business are facing as well as guidance for helping them to reach net zero.

The day began with an introduction to the Energy Innovation Agency, its goals and how it works with innovators and end users to help Greater Manchester overcome energy challenges. The Energy Innovation Agency aims to create direct alignment between net zero projects and local strategy and enhance the relationship between industry and academia to position Greater Manchester as a destination of choice for innovators. It aims to create pathways to commercialisation making it more accessible and straightforward for innovators. Through cross-sector collaborations it aims to help businesses in the region overcome their biggest energy challenges, as well as helping to foster public confidence in new approaches and technologies.

Peter Emery, chair of Greater Manchester’s Energy Innovation Agency discussed the importance of investment in R&D, saying “In our view the race to net zero is simple, it’s about welcoming innovation. What we’re trying to do is get deployment at scale. Success will only be achieved when these solutions are economically attractive vs fossil fuel alternatives. Unless net zero innovations are competitive, they aren’t going to fly on a long-term basis. Broadly speaking our role is one of facilitation, support, advice and access. This is a major challenge, and we’ll try and play our part to make it happen.”

The first-panel session of the day discussed Greater Manchester’s Energy Challenges. Sarah Bateman, CEO of Unify Energy, Ben Peace Net Zero Principal at The Growth Company and Green Economy, Aisling McNulty Development Director at Bruntwood Works and Richard Hagan Managing Director of Crystal Doors joined the conversation with Steve Connor.

The panel discussed the challenges for businesses adopting green technology from a lack of investment and accessibility to a lack of knowledge and finding the right support.

Ben Peace said “A lot of businesses don’t really know where to start, they’ve heard about a range of technologies but it can be happenstance which technology they zero in on. They need support at scale, direct and on-site to know which technology is going to deliver quickly and efficiently.”

Sarah Bateman said “Accessibility is the big issue. There aren’t enough solutions in the market for SMEs to access. We’re operating in a really tough economic climate and the last thing companies want to do right now is focus on something they don’t need to do until 2030. Innovation as a word and concept may be scaring people. We are living in tough times and people will be risk averse.”

The next panel was all about The Green Skills Gap and how Greater Manchester is working to address this critical issue in the race to Net Zero. Joining Steve Connor for the panel was fellow Greater Manchester Business Board (LEP) member Dr Marilyn Comrie, Roosevelt Alexander Director of Skills at the Growth Company, Rory Matthews Senior Policy and Partnerships Officer for Low Carbon at Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Chris Fletcher GMLSIP Director and Policy Director at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

The panel discussed the green skills gap and the benefits of Greater Manchester’s trailblazing devolution deal in solving this as well as how to improve diversity in this space and engage young people from a range of backgrounds in Green Careers. Speakers discussed the advantages of Greater Manchester’s Green Skills Academy, which is led by The Growth Company, The Manchester Innovation Activities Hub and the new GMLSIP and technical education plan.

Dr Marilyn Comrie said The climate emergency is providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a just transition. It presents an opportunity to normalise having people that look like me and my sons involved in creating the solutions that will save the planet. Because it is so pressing, it is creating a wealth of opportunities and opportunities for local people to get skills training and get into well-paid jobs.

A skilled workforce is absolutely essential, it’s not just about research, we need the people. We need to upskill, reskill and train people and we need them quickly. Employers are telling us they can’t wait for a four-year apprenticeship, they need training programmes that will help them to access people that they need now.”


Chris Fletcher said “There’s no silver bullet solution to this but it is right across the piece. It’s not just people fitting the kit, it’s the support mechanism. The business itself has a role to play to encourage people and say this is for everybody. There is such a demand for this it isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, there needs to be more engagement between businesses and potential employees.”


Rory Matthews said “What we might see down the line is the wave of enthusiasm of young people driving the change like never before. At the moment we’re at a local minimum but we need to invest more to unleash some incredible solutions. 

“The devolution deal will be important to understanding the challenges at a local level and not having a one sized fits all approach that isn’t tailored to a locality and isn’t generic across Greater Manchester.”

The afternoon session provided an introduction to Innovate GM and The Built Environment Demonstrator Funding, showing innovators and businesses how they could get involved.

To learn more about The Energy Innovation Agency and how they support businesses across Greater Manchester visit their website.

 The Bee Net Zero partnership has come together to simplify your business’s journey to net zero. Learn more about the support available across the region.









Will investment in culture be the secret to Greater Manchester’s future prosperity?

Cities and places are founded on heritage, traditions and industries. Creative and artistic activity helps to define, promote and maintain a spirit of place within communities and instil a sense of pride in where we live. This spirit and sense of character help to drive investment, whether that be capital investment or FDI. Creativity and the arts encourage people to live in and businesses to move to areas, they create better a better sense of place, and more attractive propositions full of character and culture.


Investment in the Creative Sector 


Cultural and creative sectors themselves are a significant source of jobs and income, bringing prosperity to many and also, generating important spillovers to the wider economy. When a place’s cultural heritage is celebrated, creative people and industries are more likely to move in, facilitating investment.


In a business sense, Manchester’s cultural sector is growing. It’s already recognised as one of Europe’s largest creative, digital and technology clusters with more than 10,000 businesses including the BBC, Brown Bag Films, Mediacom and Dentsu Aegis calling the city-region home. The region now has an outstanding reputation for film and tv production, animation, digital and design. It has a wealth of specialist-creative talent that allows creative and media businesses to thrive.

Salford’s MediaCityUK boasts a huge success story for the region’s creative and digital investment, investment in the arts is allowing other towns and boroughs to follow suit. Bolton is becoming a renowned filming location, attracting big Hollywood hitters. The town is investing £7.24m in the refurbishment of the council-owned Wellsprings office building to create an innovation hub for digital and creative industries which will be at the heart of the town’s regeneration masterplan. Stockport too received £2.63m last year from DCMS to deliver a creative campus in the town centre, transforming it into a new digital arts neighbourhood. Providing the physical infrastructure and specialist resources needed to grow the next generation of creative and digital businesses while also working with the community to encourage engagement in culture.


The Role of Culture in Placemaking 


However, the benefits of using arts and culture to tap into a place’s unique character extend beyond the creative sector. Combining culture, placemaking and community building stimulates local economies and leads to increased innovation, cultural diversity, and civic engagement. Across sectors, today’s leaders and policymakers are increasingly recognising how culture-based placemaking initiatives can help to support the development of transportation, housing, employment, health care, environmental sustainability, and education by using the arts to strengthen communities and create a fairer, more prosperous city-region for all.

Culture helps to build strong, healthy, and resilient places, strengthening communities and driving social change. It creates vibrant places to live for people of all ages, whether they’re recent graduates or raising a family, encouraging gentrification and investment into areas.

Traditionally, it was thought that culture follows from economic development with affluent cities having more to spend on art galleries, museums and cultural spaces, yet we’re now learning that redevelopment follows culture. Creativity fuels value and when a vast number of people want to live in a town or city, investment must follow.

The arts have always played a central role in the life of our cities and communities, with Manchester city centre being a prime example, and so it’s becoming clear that the arts need to be a central component in future planning discussions as well further investment negotiations.

Manchester’s cultural sector 

2023 is set to be a huge year for Manchester’s cultural sector, with the city and wider city region ready to reaffirm its place on the global cultural map.


Manchester has always been renowned for its contribution to popular culture, from genre-defining bands to ground-breaking literary talent. It’s already a UNESCO City of Literature and is celebrated for having a dynamic art and music scene. However, with the opening of Aviva Studios, the home of Factory International this year and Co-Op live next spring, Manchester is about to become a cultural powerhouse once again, attracting some of the biggest international names in art, music, dance and other creative fields. The return of the Manchester International Festival (MIF) this month has already seen global names in the world of art like Yayoi Kusama exhibiting and creating work across the city, showing the calibre of creativity Manchester can produce when it puts culture at the fore. The home of Factory International and MIF, Aviva Studios is set to be a game-changer for the city-centre, the state-of-the-art arts space will help engage communities with the arts, provide new opportunities for careers in the creative sector and fuel Manchester’s reputation as a creative city across the globe.


Manchester city centre is a prime example of culture fuelling growth, after seeing 20,000 people move into the city centre in the past decade, increasing Manchester’s population by twice the average UK growth rate. Economic forecasts indicate the next decade will see continued growth for the city, with 65,000 extra jobs. Increasing total city centre employment to 315,000 by 2040. We would be naïve to think that Manchester’s strong sense of self didn’t have some involvement in making it a popular destination to live, work and invest in. Manchester is a city very in tune with its industrial heritage and cultural impact, it’s bold and brash in its messaging in a way that makes people and businesses not only stop and listen but respect the city’s offering.


Making our towns cultural hotspots


However now, outside of the city centre, the region’s towns too are being recognised for their cultural importance. Not only are these places able to offer an affordable lifestyle just minutes away from the vibrancy of Manchester’s cultural scene, but these towns are celebrating their heritage and culture while strengthening their sense of community.


For example, Stockport has now been named Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture for 2023, with a £50,000 investment to support arts and creativity in the borough through events and activities. Rochdale too has recently received £8.5m funding from Arts Council England to invest in arts and culture over the next three years, which will be used to create a new visual arts-led creative hub as well as a cultural district in the town centre.


In Greater Manchester, this renewed focus on culture has the potential to be transformative for our people and places. Although not a standalone factor for investment, cultural capital plays a huge role in the development of urban neighbourhoods and the creation of jobs. It should never be an add-on but instead is proven to be a key contributor to urban economic growth alongside transport links, health and wellbeing, housing, green spaces and employment. Culture will make our towns and spaces more attractive to businesses, residents and investors.


During a year that will reaffirm Greater Manchester’s international standing as a cultural hotspot, investment in both our city centre and town’s cultural offerings provide an exciting platform for future development, investment and prosperity. From further investment into the creative sector to creating in-demand places to live with an enviable lifestyle, Greater Manchester’s cultural offering is about to change the face of the region. It’s exciting to think how our towns will develop over the twelve months as culture becomes Manchester’s lifeblood once again.  


Manchester International Festival returns with new home, Aviva Studios

The 2023 edition of the Manchester International Festival (MIF), presented by Factory International, has begun this week with a host of world premieres and special events by artists from around the world unveiled in venues and spaces across the city.

For the first time, the festival will take place at Manchester’s landmark new cultural venue, Aviva Studios offering audiences an opportunity to preview the building ahead of its official opening in October.

A major exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s inflatable sculptures forms a centrepiece of the Festival and is the first work to be presented at Factory International’s new home. You, Me and the Balloons takes over the vast warehouse space of the building, inviting audiences to take an exhilarating journey through Kusama’s psychedelic creations, most of which have not been seen before in the UK.

Other events include a collaboration exploring art and the beautiful game by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and footballer Juan Mata, new work by Tino Sehgal, a mixed reality concert by the late Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, a live photographic performance by Benji Reid and a musical adaptation of a cult queer classic by Philip Venables and Ted Huffman. The expansive programme of new work premiering at the Festival sees art forms merge, breaking new creative ground and challenging perceptions.

A diverse programme of music acts will take to the stage in the Hall of Aviva Studios, including Angélique Kidjo, Alison Goldfrapp and revered Sufi singer Sanam Marvi. While the ever-popular Festival Square will relocate to the outdoor spaces of Aviva Studios with free live music from over 190 performers, and a wide variety of food and drink, creating a new riverside destination for the city.

Events are also taking place in spaces and places across the city – including a quest for collectable coin artworks by Ryan Gander, a celebration of our connection to water on the banks of the River Medlock by Risham Syed and Angie Bual, and a chilling adaptation of a lost dystopian masterpiece in the depths of the John Rylands library by Maxine Peake, Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight.

Greater Manchester residents are once again at the heart of MIF23, from performing on Festival Square to volunteering in an array of roles across the Festival. Many of the works reflect on the personal experiences of the city’s diverse communities, from youth-led performances, and exhibitions surrounding mental health as part of Balmy Army to a futuristic and interactive journey through Manchester by Blast Theory and Manchester Street Poem led by those most marginalised in the city.

John McGrath, artistic director and chief executive of Factory International said: “Asking big questions about the world and our future, while also providing many moments of joy and celebration, MIF23 brings artists from a huge range of backgrounds to Manchester to create a thrilling range of work: from a ritual on the banks of a newly uncovered river to a mixed reality concert from one of Japan’s greatest composers, from a hunt for artworks across the city to a collaboration exploring art and football.

“As always, MIF is rooted in the spaces and places of Greater Manchester. So whilst we welcome the first visitors to our new home, Aviva Studios, to experience Yayoi Kusama’s incredible inflatable sculptures and an array of music inside and outside the venue, the Festival continues to extend its reach throughout the city in a true celebration of Manchester and its cultural offerings.

“This Festival is a genuine melting pot of creativity, designed to take the temperature of our times and imagine possibilities for the future. From homegrown talent to trailblazers from the far reaches of the globe, each of this year’s artists brings unique work and ideas to the programme which I’m thrilled to see shared with the world.”

MIF23 also provides the first opportunity for audiences to experience Aviva Studios, ahead of its official opening in October.

Designed by Ellen van Loon, OMA Partner and lead architect, the ultra-flexible building is based around vast, adaptable spaces that can be constantly reconfigured, enabling artists to develop and create large-scale work of invention and ambition of a kind not seen anywhere else in the world. It is the largest new national cultural project since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000 and is made possible thanks to initial HM Government investment and backing from Manchester City Council and Arts Council England.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer added:I am delighted to see events at this year’s Manchester International Festival taking place in its new home, Aviva Studios, which has been made possible by £100 million of Government investment.

“The venue will provide a showcase for the city’s magnificent artists and act as a centre for creativity, collaboration and innovation helping to maximise Manchester’s creative potential – both growing the economy and supporting opportunities for developing talent.”

As one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, Factory International has been generously supported by public funding.

For the full – extensive – MIF23 programme and to purchase tickets please visit Factory International.