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Cultural Democracy and Manchester International Festival. A Lecture by John E. McGrath

Series of lectures “Theories and practices of cultural leadership”
23 March 2018


In this talk Artistic Director and CEO of Manchester International Festival John E. McGrath will give an overview of the current activities of the festival, and of future plans, asking, "Can we create a new kind of culturally democratic, internationally-focused arts space in Manchester?"

Based on his experience in launching and running cultural institutions, including the Manchester International Festival, the lecturer will try to answer the question: what should a new kind of arts space look like, and how can it engage the global cultural community?

McGrath will speak about how such events as international festivals teach us to take a fresh look at our cities. For instance, MIF takes place at various venues: from theatres, galleries, and concert halls to railway depots, churches, and car parks.

Manchester International Festival is the world’s first festival of original, new work, and special events, staged every two years in Manchester, UK.  It was launched in 2007 as an artist-led festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture. MIF has commissioned, produced, and presented world premieres by artists including Björk, Steve McQueen, Marina Abramović, and others.

The lecture is a part of the series “Theories and practices of cultural leadership” organized by Garage Museum of Contemporary Art together with the British Council.



John McGrath has worked as an Artistic Director and CEO of the Manchester International Festival since 2015. Previously he was Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales which he launched in 2009, achieving an international reputation for large-scale site-specific work, digital innovation, international collaboration, and extraordinary community involvement. McGrath has worked as a theatre director in New York and London and was Artistic Director of the Contact Theatre in Manchester from 1999 to 2008.



Free admission with advance registration.

The lecture will be held in English with interpreting into Russian.

The lecture will be accessible for deaf and hard of hearing visitors and will be interpreted into Russian Sign Language.

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