What we do


Frequently asked questions:

Visual Art programme
Film programme

Cornerhouse is one of the UK’s leading centres for contemporary visual art, film and digital media. Since opening in 1985 we’ve achieved an international reputation for artistic excellence and innovation.

Visual Art

Cornerhouse’s contemporary visual art programme is dedicated to launching breakthrough artists who have not received major institutional recognition in the UK. We also provide a platform for mid-career artists to realise cutting-edge new projects in a series of commissions and exhibitions on and off-site. The visual arts programme presents works in all media with a particular focus on engagement and participation, and with an emphasis on artists’ film and video that has a strong link with our film programme.

We produce or co-produce all of our exhibitions and produce a unique engagement programme alongside each exhibition. A regular feature of our visual arts programme are international group exhibitions which explore socio-political concerns. In 2011, Cornerhouse launched Artist Film, a unique project dedicated to the production and distribution of visual artists making feature and long form film, starting with Gillian Wearing’s Self Made.

The programme is led by Sarah Perks, Programme & Engagement Director. Her role crosses that of a curator, commissioning editor and executive producer and she develops the programme in partnership with visiting curators Henriette Huldisch (Berlin) and Michael Connor (New York). Our visual arts strategy is also informed by our ongoing conversations and multiple collaborations with universities, young artists, curators and our wider audiences.


Cornerhouse is a flagship independent film theatre and occupies a unique position in the North West. Our film programme plays a major role in the cultural life of the region and beyond, by providing a broad range of independent film and video, most of which would not otherwise be available to our audiences.

We have three cinema screens:

  • Cinema 1, seating 297, on the Oxford Road Station Approach site
  • Cinema 2, seating 158, in the main building
  • Cinema 3, seating 55, in the main building

On average, 30 titles are screened across the three screens every month. The cinemas are open seven days a week, with daily matinee and evening performances (no matinees on Monday), making a total of almost 3,500 screenings annually.

Our film programme is international in scope and offers new and innovative film and video alongside more familiar work, shown within the context of the history of world cinema. This results in the screening of a very wide range of work, including new and re-releases; second runs of overlooked or underrated titles; classic and archive material; shorts, animation and documentary; avant garde film and television; and foreign language films. Alongside a variety of touring film programmes, we also run two festivals every year ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Film Festival and exposures: new talent in moving image.

Engagement and Education

Cornerhouse is registered as an educational charity, and strives to encourage lifelong learning. The engagement programme stands at the heart of our activities for both film and visual arts. More than 15,800 adults and young people took part in our education and engagement events in 2010/11.

Events are both formal and informal, and activities include film introductions, talks, guests, programme notes, information packs, discussions, debates and exhibition tours. Evening courses also take place throughout the year, and there is an ongoing schools programme for both the cinemas and exhibitions programme.

Collaborations with a range of local and national bodies are crucial in maintaining the diversity of the whole artistic programme and related educational initiatives, and in encouraging new audiences to attend. There are regular collaborations with the Goethe Institut, the Instituto Cervantes and many local further and higher education institutions and arts organisations in the city and beyond.


Cornerhouse provides a specialist sales and distribution service worldwide for many of the most exciting and innovative publishers, galleries and museums working in contemporary visual arts. Our clients include: Arnolfini, Artangel, Autograph ABP, BALTIC, British Council Visual Arts and Design Publications, Haunch of Venison, Hayward Gallery Publishing, The Henry Moore Institute, ICA, Ikon Gallery, Iniva, JRP|Ringier, Kerber Verlag, Walther König, The Lowry, Modern Art Oxford, Photoworks and Picture This.

Creative Industries

Ever had a meeting in our café? Then you’ll probably know that Cornerhouse is an informal social hub for a whole host of creatives in Manchester. Did you know we also offer a programme aimed at supporting, informing and helping creative industry practitioners and those who aspire to enter the creative world? We provide a range of workshops, talks, opportunities and events to see how we can help you develop your skills, widen your network and encourage further innovative thinking in Manchester and beyond.