Sunday, 25 May 2008

Project Timeline: Fall 2007

All events listed bleow are  free and open to the public.
Sep 6, 7:30-8:30pm, Contact Lounge, Contact, Readings of poetry by queer, South Asian women by Sphere participant, Jaheda Choudhury. 30 minutes in length. Funded by the University of Manchester’s Migration, Diaspora Cultural Studies Network (MDCSN) and part of its Creolizing Europe conference, 6-8 September 2007. See

Sep 7-Nov 11, Cornerhouse Projects, Cornerhouse, MIXING IT UP PROJECT #1: Sphere:dreamz (organza screens) and newly commisioned digital mural and short video, A Wakening
Oct 2, 6-8pm, Taurus Bar and Restaurant, Canal Street, MIXING IT UP PROJECT #3: Queer, Urban Walking Project
Oct 2-14, The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester and Sangam Restaurant, 9-19 Wilmslow Road, MIXING IT UP PROJECT #1: Sphere:dreamz (bed)
Oct 12, 6pm, Sangam Restaurant, 9-19 Wilmslow Road, MIXING IT UP PROJECT #3: Queer, Urban Walking Project and MIXING IT UP PROJECT #2: Generosity Cake Project
Nov 2, 10:30am-1pm, Cornerhouse, School Programme (Y12): Mapping Art: Psychogeographies
Nov 22, 7pm-8pm, The Joseph Perrier Lounge, Taurus Bar and Restaurant, 1 Canal Street, MIXING IT UP Finale, Queer, Urban Performance by Beyond da Box
Dec 3, 6:30-8pm, Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester, Concluding Panel, “Role of Aesthetics in (Re)-Shaping a Cosmopolitan Manchester”

Mixing It Up: Queering Curry Mile and Currying Canal Street/ Sept-Dec 2007

Google Earth map: Canal Street to Curry Mile, Manchester, UK (Dec 3, 2007). Click on image to enlargen.


by Alpesh Patel, Independent Curator, and co-produced by Lisa Beauchamp and Jaheda Choudhury

Sangam Restaurant,
9-19 Wilmslow Road M14 5TB, Curry Mile
The Whitworth Art Gallery,The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road M15 6ER
Oxford Road M15 6JA
Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road M13 9PL
Oxford Road M1 5NH
(; and
Taurus Bar and Restaurant
1 Canal Street, Gay Village M1 3HE

ARTIST PROJECTS: Generosity Cake Project, Paul Stanley & Lisa Beauchamp; Sphere: dreamz, Sphere (; Queer, Urban Performance, Beyond da Box; and Queer, Urban Walking Project, Doorstep Collective (

PROJECT SUMMARY: “Mixing It Up” presents a series of aesthetic projects by Manchester-based artists and collectives that challenge the perceived “identities” of some of the city of Manchester’s most well known and trafficked urban spaces—Curry Mile, named for its many South Asian restaurants and shops; Canal Street, the epicenter of the Gay Village; and the area that connects the two, the Oxford Road Cultural Corridor, the latter named for the concentration of cultural institutions along the eponymously named road. Artists question the homogeneity of urban spaces by subverting, confusing, or “mixing up” our now habitual expectations of them. In turn, this mixing up shifts expectations about the people generally found in these spaces, potentially transforming preconceptions about “gay,” “South Asian,” and other kinds of Mancunian subjects. This project also mixes up expectations about art, enriching the aesthetic experience by including artwork and educational projects in a range of venues—sometimes unexpected—from Curry Mile to Canal Street, including cultural institutions, bars and restaurants. In turn, mixing venues will encourage a mixing of viewing audiences. All projects interrogate the citizen’s role in (re-) shaping individual and collective urban identities. Here is a listing of venues and projected dates for every artist and educational project that will be held from September to early December of this year and that are all a part of “Mixing It Up.” Details of each project follow in forthcoming blogs.

Projects by Venue


  • Sangam Restaurant, 9-19 Wilmslow Road: Oct 2-14: Installation of PROJECT #1: Sphere:dreamz (bed); Oct 12, 6pm: PROJECT #3: Queer, Urban Walking Project will begin/end at Sangam followed by PROJECT #2: Generosity Cake Project


  • The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester: Oct 2-14: Installation of PROJECT #1: Sphere:dreamz (bed)
  • Contact Lounge, Contact: Sep 6, 7:30-8:30pm: Readings of poetry by queer, South Asian women by Sphere participant, Jaheda Choudhury. 30 minutes in length.
  • Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester: Dec 3, 6:30-8pm: Concluding Panel, “Role of Aesthetics in (Re)-Shaping a Cosmopolitan Manchester”
  • Cornerhouse: Sep 7-Nov 11: PROJECT #1: Sphere: dreamz (organza screens) and newly commissioned digital mural and short video, A Wakening; Nov 2, 10:30am-1pm: School Programme (Y 12): Mapping Art: Psychogeographies


  • The Joseph Perrier Lounge, Taurus Bar and Restaurant, 1 Canal Street: Oct 2, 6-8pm: (start point) PROJECT #3: Queer, Urban Walking Project by Doorstep Collective; Nov 22, 7-8pm: MIXING IT UP FINALE: Queer, Urban Performance by Ajah

Thursday, 22 May 2008

MIXING IT UP Project #1: Sphere: dreamz/Cornerhouse, The Whitworth Art Gallery, and Sangam Restaurant, Rusholme

still from "A Wakening," a video installed in lobby of Cornerhouse

Sphere is an arts organization committed to supporting a broad range of innovative aesthetic projects. The group’s inaugural project, “Sphere: dreamz,” 2006, was created in collaboration with multimedia artist Shanaz Gulzar, writer Maya Chowdhury and co-creator Jaheda Choudhury,
and co-produced by greenroom and queerupnorth

Originally part of a 2006 installation in Sackville Park, Manchester, Sphere: dreamz challenged Canal Street as “gay” (white and male) and Curry Mile as “ethnic” (South Asian and heterosexual) through a series of artistically, re-fashioned beds that drew on multiple senses of the viewer. The artworks reflected on the (in)visibility of South Asian lesbians, in particular, and will be re-installed as part of “Mixing It Up” in two new locations, Sangam Restaurant in Curry Mile and The University of Manchester’s The Whitworth Art Gallery. Each location will draw out different aspects of the artwork—the former meditating on a specific aspect of the artwork’s content and the latter creating formal connections to other artworks as part of the re-hanging of the gallery’s permanent collection in the Gulbenkian Room.

Sphere bed by Col Bashir. Installed at The Whitworth Art Gallery as part of a larger exhibition of drawings and paintings culled the gallery’s permanent collection exploring “The Body.”

At Cornerhouse, video work will be presented in the foyer of anonymous queer, South Asian women, captured only in silhouette. Sphere also present organza drapes used in the initial open-air event to dress the gallery's first floor windows, one printed with the silhouette of a woman interviewed in the video and two left plain in contrasting colours. The manipulated, abstract footage also features imagery taken from the first Sphere: dreamz installation in Sackville Park in 2006. Finally, specially produced wallpaper is comprised of abstracted stills from the video and then used to decorate one wall of the ground floor, creating a mural that is sympathetic to the same powerful messages contained in the video. All works offer a voice to an otherwise (perceived) invisible South Asian lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered community.

sample of digital wallpaper installed in Cornerhouse

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

MIXING IT UP Finale: Queer, Urban Performance by Ajah/Taurus Bar and Restaurant

Lyrics by Samira Arhin-Acquaah (aka Lucid) & Jaheda Choudhury and hip hop and funky underground sounds by Jaydev Mistry

To hear tracks from the gig go to Ajah's my space page, a link to which is located in the artists's website tab of this blog.

Beyond da Box project challenged the homophobia of mainstream, urban music, especially hip hop, through the development of a series of educational workshops. The latter, aimed at queer-identified, local youth, culminated in a series of queer, hip hop performances by the participants as part of queerupnorth 2007. Artists Samira Arhin-Acquaah (aka Lucid), Jaheda Choudhury, both a part of the Beyond da Box project, and Jaydev Mistry, build on the concept through a new performance which also considers sexuality as it intersects with class, race, and gender.

In particular, the artists, who are collectively known as Ajah, mine the spatial politics and characteristics of the venue, The Joseph Perrier Lounge, Taurus Bar and Restaurant, in which the performance takes place to re-situate urban music. Taurus Bar and Restaurant is located in the heart of Canal Street as part of the “Gay Village” and imbued with a politically “queer” and commercial sensibility. Ajah will meditate on these geo-specific differences in dialogue with gender and class as it intersects with race and sexuality on Curry Mile, Oxford Road, and Canal Street.

Based on a concept developed by the Beyond da Box project commissioned by queerupnorth, PeaceOutUK, and Contact

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Educational Project #2 (adult programme): Concluding Panel, “Role of Aesthetics in (re)-Shaping a Cosmopolitan Manchester”

Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester

Panelists include: Dr. Piotr Bienkowski, Deputy Director, Manchester Museum, Professor of Archaeology and Museology, University of Manchester; Jaheda Choudhury, member of Sphere, educator, and co-producer, “Mixing It Up”; and Andrew Stokes, Chief Executive, Marketing Manchester, Chairman, Manchester Pride Ltd., & Acting Chair, queerupnorth. Moderated by Alpesh Patel, producer, “Mixing It Up”

This panel will include a lively conversation among artists, university and museum professionals, and representatives from local marketing bodies on the role of aesthetics in (re) shaping the city of Manchester as it sheds its “industrial” persona. In particular, the panel topic will be filtered through the following viewpoints: audiences, artists, institutions, temporary festivals, and marketing.

What are the challenges of simultaneously elevating the city onto a “global” stage and also celebrating the “local”? Can events such as the Manchester International Festival and organizations such as Marketing Manchester simultaneously bring in new visitors into the city whilst incorporating “indigenous,” Mancunian subjects?

And, how can differences of gender, race/ethnicity, class, faith and sexuality within Manchester be most effectively mobilized towards creating a new model of a “cosmopolitan” city?

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Education Project #1 (school programme): Mapping Art: Psychogeographies

Psychogeographies produced by Lymm High School Y12 students of their tours of exhibitions at Cornerhouse (click on image for a closer look).


How does who you are change as you walk through different spaces? How do we change the world around us as we navigate the world? This is an activity which involves students going through the museum to make a map which reflects their favorite places, interesting objects, and the thoughts and connections prompted by certain objects in the collections. The emphasis is not on a literal map, but a map of one’s own journey which may not actually follow the layout of the museum and that makes use of the museum spaces and collections to springboard into other personal spaces and memories. The project is aimed at empowering students to think about how they can shape spaces, as well as how spaces might shape them.