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Citizen Manchester

Citizen Manchester – a new artwork in response to Manchester Central Library’s transformation.

Manchester’s Central Library reopened to the public on Saturday 22 March after a multi-million project to transform it and the adjacent Town Hall Extension.

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Citizen Manchester an 18 month project, commissioned by Laing O’Rourke in collaboration with Dan Dubowitz to explore the meaning to Manchester of the two civic buildings’ transformation. This has resulted in a large format book of the same title published by Manchester University Press and a major exhibition of 36 site specific interventions in Central Library, the Town Hall Extension and the nearby Manchester Art Gallery.

Citizen Manchester explores the relationship between a city’s civic buildings and its citizens. Through photographs, recording tales and research into the city’s archives, the work captured the moment when the public had been locked out of Central Library and the Town Hall Extension and the spaces had been reduced to the merest shells.

It provides glimpses into the buildings’ souls and reveals unexpected stories. The artwork gives insights into the reciprocal relationship between people and place and reveals how the refurbishment of a building can go far beyond physical refurbishment.