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Arts and Culture Events Your Creative guide for December 2023 ‘What's On and Where’

by Ellie Jakeman December 05, 2023

Arts and Culture Events  Your Creative guide for December 2023 ‘What's On and Where’

Arts and Culture Events 

Your Creative guide for  December 2023

‘What's On and Where’

The final instalment for 2023 that brings us into the new year!

December 2023 



One day there was a boy and he found a penguin story

Once there was a boy and  one day he found a penguin at his door...

Come with us on an epic journey to the South Pole as a boy tries to take a wandering penguin home, in this heart-warming adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ award-winning children’s story.

‘Once there was a boy and one day he found a penguin at his door…’

But everyone knows penguins don’t belong in sleepy seaside towns, so what’s the boy to do? Find out where the lost penguin came from and take it home, of course.

Together they embark on an epic journey across the high seas all the way to the South Pole. Encountering many obstacles along the way, the boy realises what he’s really lost… and found.

This magical stage show of Oliver Jeffers’ Lost and Found has been adapted by renowned children’s TV and theatre producer Will Brenton. Original music composed by Gruff Rhys – who many will know as the guitarist and vocalist of Super Furry Animals as well as for his award-winning film and theatre scores – adds another layer to this moving story.

Featuring puppetry and video projections, a cast of characters that charm and delight, not to mention a gang of rowdy seagulls – expect to laugh and be moved by this touching tale. Full of surprises, you might even be called on to help out from time to time. What will you find?

Pesellino: A Renaissance Master Revealed

7 December 2023 – 10 March 2024 -The National Gallery Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

Room 46

Francesco Pesellino and Fra Filippo Lippi and workshop, detail from 'The Pistoia Santa Trinità Altarpiece', 1455-60

Francesco Pesellino and Fra Filippo Lippi and workshop, detail from 'The Pistoia Santa Trinità Altarpiece', 1455-60

Discover an overlooked Renaissance great in the first-ever exhibition dedicated to Francesco Pesellino (c.1422–1457).

With commissions from Florence’s ruling Medici family and working collaboratively with leading artists of the Italian Renaissance, Pesellino’s talents were hugely sought-after during his lifetime.

However, an early death at just 35, and the difficulty in attributing works has meant that his legacy has been largely overlooked. This exhibition seeks to remedy that by shining a light on the depth and breadth of Pesellino’s achievements.

Working in Florence in the mid-15th century, Pesellino had a short but successful career, joining forces with artists including Fra Filippo Lippi. In particular, he was a skilled draughtsman, visual storyteller and a painter of animals, often producing works on a small scale with wonderfully intricate detail.

Uniting his two undisputed masterpieces from the National Gallery Collection – the Pistoia Trinity altarpiece (1455–60), and the newly restored ‘Stories of David’ cassone panels (about 1445–55) – with key loans, this exhibition presents an opportunity to uncover more of Pesellino's story, and appreciate his skill as a painter of complicated stories, ceremonial splendour and exquisite detail.

National Portrait Gallery,Taylor Wessing -Photo Portrait Prize 2023 9th November 2023 - 25th February 2024

 Image courtesy of National Portrait gallery. Andile wearing pearls in front of his house in Woodstock, © Nick Van Tiem

 Image courtesy of National Portrait gallery. Andile wearing pearls in front of his house in Woodstock, © Nick Van Tiem

The Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize returns to the Gallery in St Martin’s Place after three years. Showcasing talented young photographers, gifted amateurs and established professionals, the competition celebrates a diverse range of images and tells the often fascinating stories behind the creation of the works. The selected images, many of which are on display for the first time, explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to the photographic portrait whilst capturing a range of characters, moods and locations. In addition to first, second and third prizes, the National Portrait Gallery has also launched a new £8,000 commission.

This year’s In Focus display will feature work by Moroccan-British artist Hassan Hajjaj.

Supported by Taylor Wessing 


Manchester Art Gallery  -Unpicking Couture

Until January 12, 2025

 Mrs Wallis Simpson, photographed wearing Jacket, by designer Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890 - 1973) gift of Mrs. J.R Keagy, 1974. Cecil Beaton for Vogue, June 1937.

Mrs Wallis Simpson, photographed wearing Jacket, by designer Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890 - 1973) gift of Mrs. J.R Keagy, 1974. Cecil Beaton for Vogue, June 1937.

Unpicking Couture premieres spectacular high-end fashion which has recently entered Manchester Art Gallery’s collection.

Created by influential designers and fashion houses, each outfit represents a ground-breaking moment in fashion and includes works by Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli, Azzedine Alaïa, Cristobal Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin, Vivienne Westwood, Yohji Yamamoto, Bruce Oldfield and Alexander McQueen.

This exhibition celebrates pioneering creativity and design.

The two main themes of the show are: investigating the links between fashion and emotions, in the form of dopamine dressing which encourages dressing for joy, and focusing on repair and restoration, inviting us to consider the lifecycle of a garment and the way it is valued and cared for.

The exhibition will reveal the recent restoration of a 1930s silk velvet jacket by Italian couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, Unpicking Couture promotes sustainable approaches to repairing and preserving much loved and well-worn clothes.

The garments will be on display for the first time. They were acquired through a National Heritage Lottery Fund Collecting Cultures grant from 2015-20.

Unpicking Couture will expose the work that underpins the care of dress collections through a meditative film that captures the process of dress mounting and how the craft and skill involved, mirrors the work of dressmakers and couturiers.

Innovative display techniques have been developed in conjunction with Dr. Jeff Horsley from the Centre for Fashion Curation, London College of Fashion and Dr Angela Piccini from the School of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Plymouth, including dynamic visual and spatial strategies and a focus on the making of the exhibition. These lively modes of presentation provide encounters for fashion as stimulation and immersion, enabling slow looking and inspiring conversation. Part display and part studio space, Unpicking Couture activates ideas around the value and care of collections, sustainability, expression of self, making and creativity.

Unpicking Couture has been developed by Manchester Art Gallery in collaboration with London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London with support from an Arts and Heritage Research Council grant.

Royal West of England Academy 170th Annual Open Exhibition 9 Sep 2023 - 14 Jan 2024

Image: Monkey and the Cock Helmet, Leslie Glenn Damhus RWA (detail)

Image: Monkey and the Cock Helmet, Leslie Glenn Damhus RWA (detail)

The RWA's renowned Annual Open Exhibition is now in its 170th year, and - as always - offers a stunning variety of work from emerging and established artists.

This dynamic, varied and uplifting exhibition includes a stunning array of painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, installation and mixed media artworks, and is a showcase of some of the most exciting artists from across the country and beyond.

All work is for sale, making the Annual Open a perfect opportunity to discover new artists or invest in well-known names. You can browse - and buy - the artworks in ouronline shop

A selection panel assessed every entry and this year over 600 works made it into the final exhibition. The panel this year included Charmaine Watkiss and Meryl Ainslie together with RWA Academicians Fiona Robinson PRWA, Dallas Collins VPRWA, Lucy Austin RWA, Angela Lizon RWA and Karl Singporewala RWA.

We are delighted to announce that this year's invited Artist isCharmaine Watkiss.


Follow the Lightwaves trail at Salford Quays – Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th December 2023

“Quays Culture is without doubt one of the great success stories of The Quays redevelopment. The calibre of work is outstanding – presenting only the best digital commissions and installations available on the international circuit. ” – Julia Fawcett OBE, Chief Executive, The Lowry.

 Quays Culture immerses audiences in new and exciting public-realm exhibitions that are inspired by its surroundings, with a focus on technology, creativity and digital innovation. Working with local talent as well as internationally renowned artists, Quays Culture’s work ranges from the intimate to the monumental, inspiring audiences to engage with the location in new and exciting ways – and always for free.

Our events sit at the heart of Salford Quays, the home of MediaCityUK, and our programme of art reflects the diverse and world-class creativity here in Salford.

Photo credit – artist Tom Dekyvere

Photo credit – artist Tom Dekyvere







Ellie Jakeman
Ellie Jakeman

I have had a strong interest in the visual and creative arts since a very early age. After completing an Art and Design Degree and Post graduate studies I have taught Art and Design, Fashion and Textiles, Textile design , Fine Art print and Illustration for over 20 years. Before teaching I was a freelance artist and illustrator and decided 4 years ago I would return to freelance and commissioned work. I have created many domestic and commercial murals for hospitals and hospices. I work part time for ARTdiscount as a content creator and product tester.

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