A Gathering of Strangers

Charlotte Davies, member of Whitworth Young Contemporaries reflects on the Whitworth’s opening weekend and the key role young people played in it.

Whitworth Young Contemporaries created an amazing spectatcle at the Whitworth’s reopening which was definitely the highlight of the whole weekend! The evening reflected young people’s passion for art and our ability to transform a ‘dull’ and ‘lifeless’ space. Somehow, after weeks of hard work, making films, planning and collaborating with the great Manchester band The Mouse outfit, we pulled off a night to be proud of!

WYC 3 photo_Jan Chlebik

It was definitely a tense time, helping the band to unload all their gear, the gallery slowly began filling to a level of craziness. It was a good feeling to see all these people from Manchester and all across the country wanting to experience what we had been working on and promoting for so long. Over-whelming perhaps, but still incredibly exciting all the same. I have never been involved in an event such as this, perhaps my final exhibition at University but nothing quite as dramatic.


I know that Britain is all for queuing but WYC created one big enough to scale the gallery, which if that isn’t success then I don’t really know that is?! I think somehow we underestimated the extent of the event as I was definitely guilty for having the birthday party feeling; no one is going to show for us. I was definitely mistaken when hoards of people entered the grand hall to see a collaboration of art work and music created by a young group of very talented people, perhaps now we can start to get rid of our stereotype?!

Gathering of Strangers

The night gathered together a range of people, old to young making the artwork on display at the back of the gallery ‘Gathering of Strangers’ such a perfect representation of the whole event. The performance by Whitworth on Fire, the fireworks in sync with the Halle Youth orchestra – what an incredible definitive closing to the night. The singing created this chemistry between the people of Manchester; the reflections upon the gallery when the fireworks were taking place were incredible dramatic, it definitely made me feel rather emotional to say the least! It was a fantastic night, one of the best gallery openings I have been too and something I will remember for a very long time! The party after finished if off perfectly!