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Exploring Greater Mancunians Identity: A Photography Exhibition

In the heart of Manchester, a remarkable photography project has been unfolding quietly over the past seven years. The Greater Mancunians photography exhibition, hosted at Manchester’s Central Library, is set to unveil a captivating portrayal and cultural evolution of the region’s essence, showcasing the diverse individuals who have shaped its identity.

Under the guidance of tutor Harry Potts, in conjunction with Manchester City Council, photography students from Manchester College have honed their skills to capture the authentic spirit of Greater Manchester. Beyond just photographs, this exhibition serves as a testament to the resilience and creativity ingrained in the fabric of the community. Originally Former student Harry Yeates captured John Cooper Clarke in this landmark photography project. The photography tutor was just a student himself when he captured John Cooper Clarke as part of his final year project to celebrate Manchester as a world leading city. Greater Mancunians perfectly encapsulates people like musicians such as Noel Gallagher, artists like Stan Chow and local politicians such as Andy Burnham who have made their own mark in this ground breaking photography project.

From iconic musicians to grassroots activists and community champions, the Greater Mancunians exhibition offers a glimpse into the lives of those who have left an indelible mark on the region. Each portrait tells a unique story, weaving together the narratives of individuals from all walks of life in this unique social history photography project.

Featured alongside renowned figures are lesser-known yet equally impactful individuals who have contributed to the musical life and vibrancy of Greater Manchester. Their presence in main exhibition hall underscores the richness and depth of talent within the community. The landmark exhibition will feature all walks of life such as entertainers, entrepreneurs, politicians, actors and artists that have been photographed by the excellent photography students from Manchester college

Beyond fame and recognition, the exhibition shines a light on the community champions, the unsung heroes who often go unnoticed. From neighborhood artists to community organisers, their stories serve as a reminder of the everyday greatness found within Greater Manchester.

Join the Journey: Greater Mancunians at Manchester Central Library

From April 19th to June 30th, 2024, visitors are invited to Manchester Central library to explore iconic exhibition spaces of the Greater Mancunians exhibition and immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Greater Manchester’s identity. Admission is free, and situated in the main exhibition hall offering everyone the opportunity to witness the collective spirit and resilience of the region.

As one of the Greater Mancunians, we invite you to join us in celebrating our shared identity and heritage. Through the lens of talented student photographers from Manchester College, the greater mancunians photography and project this exhibition offers a glimpse into the diverse mosaic of individuals who make the Greater mancunians photography and Manchester truly unique. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this journey—a celebration of community, creativity, and resilience and visit the photography exhibition by students at Manchester college.

Judy Vickers: Lifeshare Homeless Charity, Operations Manager

Captured at Lifeshare’s Charter Street Mission Kitchen: Judy Vickers stands resolute in front of Lifeshare’s Charter Street Mission Kitchen, a place that holds profound significance in her journey of advocacy and service to the homeless community of Manchester. As Lifeshare’s Operations Manager, Judy has been at the forefront of providing crucial support to those experiencing homelessness, managing the core operations of the charity with unwavering dedication. Born in 1965 and adopted shortly after, Judy’s early years in Oldham laid the foundation for her resilient spirit. However, it was her own experience of homelessness following a relationship breakdown in 1995 that ignited her passion for social justice. After finding refuge with her two young children, Judy emerged from adversity with a renewed commitment to fighting for the marginalised. Her journey led her to Lifeline Charity in the early nineties, where she began volunteering after losing friends to HIV. Judy’s tireless advocacy work eventually led her to Lifeshare in 2005, where she played a pivotal role in developing the CARDS initiative, providing crucial support to at-risk youth in Manchester and Salford. Lifeshare’s invaluable services extend far beyond crisis intervention, offering weekend and Christmas food provision to those in need. Judy’s unwavering commitment to her community recently gained national attention when Lifeshare’s Charter Street Mission Kitchen was evicted, forcing her to serve breakfast from the back of her car. Despite such challenges, Judy’s resolve remains unshaken as she continues to champion the rights of the voiceless and marginalized, embodying the true spirit of Greater Mancunians.

Liam Hopkins of Lazerian: Exploring Innovation in Design

Photographed in his vast workshop space in Denton: Liam Hopkins, the visionary artist behind Lazerian, stands amidst the bustling energy of his workshop/studio space in Denton, East Manchester—a former hat factory transformed into a hub of creativity and innovation. Renowned as one of the UK’s most exciting designers, Liam’s journey into the world of design began in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, where his childhood was steeped in curiosity and tinkering.

Born in 1985, Liam’s early years were marked by a fascination with deconstructing and reconstructing household appliances—a passion that laid the groundwork for his future endeavors in design. His formal education in 3D design at Tameside Technical College and MMU provided a fertile ground for experimentation, allowing him to explore a myriad of materials and techniques. It was during this time that Lazerian was born—a testament to Liam’s amazing talent and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of design and creativity.


From humble beginnings in a mill workshop in Mossley to international acclaim, Liam’s journey has been one of continuous innovation and exploration. His work spans across architectural decoration, lighting, furniture, jewelry, and sculpture, with commissions from prestigious clients such as Liberty, Heal’s, and Habitat.

Despite his success, Liam remains grounded in his passion for creating one-of-a-kind projects that challenge conventional norms and redefine the possibilities of design. Most recently, he has returned to the Manchester School of Art (MMU) as an associate lecturer, inspiring the next generation of designers to push the boundaries of their craft. In his workshop/studio space in Denton, surrounded by the echoes of Manchester’s industrial past, Liam continues to forge ahead, driven by a relentless pursuit of innovation and creativity—a true embodiment of the Greater Mancunian spirit.

Liam Hopkins of Lazerian looking through his wooden tree sculpture.
Liam Hopkins artist and design from design studio Lazerian sitting in his workshop on the bottom of a set of stairs showing off his innovative contemporary artistic designs and sculptures. Part of the Greater Mancunians exhibition

Noel Gallagher: A Manchester Icon

Photographed at India House on Whitworth Street which was chosen as his poignant or significant location: Noel Gallagher, the iconic singer-songwriter and former lead guitarist of Oasis, stands before the historic India House on Whitworth Street—a poignant or significant location, that holds profound significance in his journey as a musician and as a Mancunian- in fact it was where Gallagher written live forever.

Born in the Longsight area of Manchester in 1967, Noel’s roots in the city run deep, shaping his identity as one of its most celebrated sons. From humble beginnings in Burnage, Noel’s musical journey began at the age of twelve when he picked up the guitar, setting him on a path that would ultimately redefine British rock n roll star and music history. His tenure with Oasis saw the band rise to unparalleled heights as well as making him a rock n roll star, with albums like Definitely Maybe and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? becoming anthems for a generation.

As the primary songwriter and lead guitarist, Noel’s creative vision was the driving force behind Oasis’s success, cementing his status as one of the most influential figures in British music. Despite the band’s tumultuous journey marked by conflicts with his little brother’s band, Liam and tabloid controversies, Noel’s legacy remains intact—a testament to his enduring talent and indomitable spirit. His decision to leave Oasis in 2009 marked the end of an era, but it also heralded the beginning of a new chapter with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (NGHFB). Today, Noel continues to captivate audiences with his distinctive voice and unparalleled songwriting prowess, embodying the essence of Greater Mancunians—a testament to resilience, creativity, and unwavering passion.

Esme Ward: Leading Manchester Museum into a Bright Future

Photographed at Manchester Museum’s Transformative New Spaces: Esme Ward, the pioneering Director of Manchester Museum, stands amidst the transformative new spaces of the museum—a testament to her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to making museums more inclusive and relevant to all- a fantastic example of a Greater Mancunian. Born in Somerset in 1971, Esme’s journey to Manchester was marked by a deep-seated passion for learning and social purpose. After obtaining degrees in History and French Revolutionary Culture and Theory, Esme began her career at Dulwich Picture Gallery and the V&A before relocating to Manchester in 1998 for love. Since then, she has become a driving force in the cultural landscape of the city, spearheading initiatives to expand access and engagement with the arts. As the first woman to hold the role of Director at Manchester Museum, Esme’s tenure has been defined by transformative change and innovation. Under her leadership, the museum has undergone a £15 million transformation, ushering in a new era of inclusivity, imagination, and care.

Esme’s vision extends beyond the walls of the museum, as she serves as the Strategic Lead (Culture) for Age Friendly Manchester and the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, advocating for age-friendly culture and the social purpose of museums. With her boundless enthusiasm and dedication, Esme is leading Manchester Museum into a bright future—one that promises to inspire, educate, and enrich communities across all walks of life. Manchester Museum is undoubtedly in very safe hands under Esme’s visionary leadership, poised to become a beacon of inspiration and joy for generations to come