Frances Williams – Is there hope for Manchester, this Christmastime?

My presentation, half tongue-in-cheek, asks ‘is there hope for Manchester this christmastime’? Following a year of Brexit and Trump, does the fact that 2016 was the year Manchester gained devolved power, give any cause for hope? Like fellow PhD Student, Bob Dickenson, I too will cite examples of (bad) ’political art’ as well as looking at various appropriations of ‘populist’ political art – such as Banksy and David Schrigley.

I will take a quick tour of the ‘experimental’ case of manchester, via devo-Manc, looking at some of the policy approaches that local government is making. Can growing inequality be halted, (as Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggest) if not reversed? More particularly, I will take a look at developments in the culture and health sectors. Can rhetorics facilitate new models which address social, health and economic inequality? What role do words and image play and what role can culture play in our collective health and well-being?

I will use images and texts playfully to connect across these themes, studying the body language of political leaders, looking at diverse uses of iconography relating to ‘The homeless’, as well throwing up some startling press headlines and twitter feeds, that together will, I hope, inform, tickle and provoke debate amongst this Mancunian audience.

Image by David Shrigley.