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Manchester Art Fair 2024


Irwell: Afterlife with Liam Spencer

18 Nov 2023
Central 3 in main entrance
Art Talk
Irwell: Afterlife with Liam Spencer

“Perhaps our grandchildren may catch trout and salmon in the Irwell…. Nothing is wrong with it but the unmitigated filth of man…. Something may some day be done to restore dead, murdered rivers like the Irwell to the life that man has taken from them.” Arthur Ransome: Manchester Guardian 1926

The river Irwell was once the hardest working and filthiest river in the world. Now it is an invaluable wildlife corridor within reach of thousands of people.

This presentation is an introduction to Liam Spencer’s work, and an exploration of the Irwell and its valley from its source in Rossendale to its destination at Salford Quays and the Manchester Ship Canal. Paintings, drawings, photography, and film will reveal its post-industrial landscapes and the wildlife which thrives there, often discreet and hidden from view.

The Irwell’s recovery over recent decades has been astonishing. Trout, kingfishers and most impressively otters are now present all the way from Rossendale to Salford. At a time when nature and the environment is under increasing pressure, the Irwell provides an inspiring story of rebirth and hope for the future.

View all Talks & Classes 2023