Manchester Central Library

A heritage-rich, contemporary destination

When Manchester’s Central Library reopened after a £50m refurbishment, the vision was for it to be not only the city’s study, but the city’s living room too, repositioned as a heritage-rich, contemporary cultural destination. 

We helped scope a successful Grants for the Arts bid, then worked alongside the library team to develop creative partnerships and commission events that would test a new model of working. 

From a short-film festival, to a world-premiere of a new music composition, from theatre to a space-night takeover, we tested the capacity of the Library in a 12-month event programme, including the week-long showcase, Chaos to Order (produced by Brighter Sound and curated by Everything Everything), which inspired BBC Radio’s library-week, generating additional live content and simultaneous broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, 4 and 6.

”The programme brought Central Library to life, allowing library staff to work with a wide range of artists and to make best use of the fabulous available spaces, linking the library into the key cultural life of the city.”

Neil MacInnes
Strategic Lead - Libraries, Galleries and Culture

We managed the multi-channel marketing campaign, including commissioning the Library Live brand, print assets and what’s on web-blog to work in partnership with the council’s own assets.

Over the course of the programme 5,000 people attended the 10 Library Live events and 150 local artists enjoyed a high-profile platform. Demand to attend and hold events has continued to increase, with the Library now centre-stage in the city’s cultural mix.

This event-led destination model is one we apply with other clients, such as Manchester Jewish Museum, varying in approach from mentoring and guidance through to hands-on event curation and management.


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