• woman wearing a character face mask
  • hands coming out of a rock
  • person wearing yellow cardigan with a star wars mask eating dinner
  • lady holding round weights
  • lady sitting in a bath with bubbles on her face
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  • man wearing female character face mask

Attenborough Arts Centre offers a stimulating visual arts programme of new, socially engaged exhibitions and events that have a positive impact in the promotion and research of disability culture. Our visual arts programme will focus on art that is relevant, engaging and accessible, critical and progressive. Our exhibitions will have a social motivation exploring the changing role of contemporary art, its local and global relevance; supporting practical, aesthetic, and poetic new approaches to our society, our environment and our place within the two.

Exhibit your work in the Balcony Gallery at Attenborough Arts CentreThe Balcony Gallery sits on the first floor of Attenborough Arts Centre and is a key feature for visitors as it connects our art studios and offices to the bustling Attenborough Café, Diana Princess of Wales Hall, Front of House and new galleries. Local artists and groups can hire the gallery for a minimum of two weeks. Find out more information here.

Attenborough Arts Centre is part of the University of Leicester’s Division of External Relations and our exhibition programme significantly contributes to the University’s strategic research goals and wider public engagement. It specifically aims to explore issues of human identity and inter-cultural interactions, promote inter-discipline, attract high-calibre collaborators and encourage new imaginative approaches that culminate in exhibition projects.


September - December

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  • Gallery 1

  • Laura Swanson

  • Saturday 9 September – Sunday 10 December
  • Exhibition opening Friday 8 September, 5.30pm - 8pm
  • Laura Swanson: American photographer Laura Swanson makes her UK debut. Swanson explores the expectations of portraiture, the complications of representing and looking at different bodies, and how the cultural dominance of the selfie is shaping new perceptions of identity.

  • First UK solo exhibition by American artist Laura Swanson. Gallery 1 present brand new, especially commissioned work by Laura Swanson: the photographic series, Beauty and Recluse, alongside recent work from her mixed-media series Uniforms (2015) and pieces from various past projects. Swanson explores the behaviour of looking at physical difference, working across media including drawing, installation, photography, and sculpture. In much of her work, the artist theatrically conceals her face or short statured body to question the expectations of portraiture, examine the motive to look at different bodies, and to reveal the performative nature of identity.
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  • Gallery 2

  • Laura Swanson and Claude Cahun Resource area

  • Saturday 9 September – Sunday 10 December
  • Gallery 2 has been transformed into a learning and resource area in response to the Laura Swanson and Claude Cahun exhibition. Building on the themes of identity and gender, the space invites visitors to try out a new identity with a variety of elaborate props. There is also an activity to design your own cosmetic mask, much like those seen in Laura Swanson's series, Beauty. Visitors are encouraged to photograph their new looks with a selfie against the black background, where selfie sticks are at hand. These can be shared with the hashtag #Beneaththismask on social media, which feeds onto the social media screen in the room. Also in the space are large bean bags and topical books for all ages, allowing further interpretation of the exhibition's themes.
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  • Gallery 3

  • Claude Cahun - Beneath this Mask

  • Saturday 9 September – Sunday 10 December
    Exhibition opening Friday 8 September, 5.30pm - 8pm
  • A Hayward Touring exhibition of photography by gender-defying artist Claude Cahun (1894 – 1954). Beneath the Mask will show 42 contemporary giclee prints by French photographer Claude Cahun, whose radical selfportraits brought her posthumous fame. Born Lucy Schwob, she adopted the pseudonym in 1917 to free herself from the narrow confines of gender. Cahun’s work was far beyond its time, challenging ideas of gender, identity and traditional portraiture in these now famous images.

Janruary - March

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  • Juan delGado: Altered Landscapes

  • Friday 12 January - Sunday 25 February
  • Altered Landscapes asks you to navigate, reflect and absorb the experiences and stories of refugees. For this exhibition, delGado travelled to Greece, Macedonia and Calais to film, photograph and record the journeys taken by Syrian refugees. delGado has not filmed these ‘invisible’ people who proliferate our media, but the places they have passed through. There are traces of their existence, fragmented experiences, fleeting moments and marks left on the land as they pass through to find safety.
  • Using video, photography, light and sound, Altered Landscapes encourages you to open up contemplation and discussion about the current situation in Europe, a place that has become filled with militarised border control.
  • “delGado’s film and exhibition offers a deeply personal account and heartfelt insight of what it is like to flee your home country amidst a war in search of an alternative.”  Pearl Findlay, Disability Arts Online
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  • Unlocking the World Through Art: A Sensory Atelier

  • Wednesday 10 January – Monday 29 March
  • Come on a journey to see our Sensory Ateliers and experience a unique installation of work created by students of two Special Educational Needs schools, Ashmount School and Ellesmere College.
  • Local, regional and international artists have been involved with the students including Bamboozle Theatre, TETRAD and Turned on its Head, who have taught the across a number of art forms. This project has been generously supported by the Paul Hamlyn project.
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  • Steffie Richards: Ebb and Flow

  • Friday 12 January – Sunday 25 March
  • Imagine if our presence left behind a visible trace when passing through a space. What would that space then look like?
  • Steffie Richards’ new work aims to visualise this and relates to the transient values of coastal Cornwall. She explores the constant yet subtle changes to the environment, both brought and erased by the tides, and asks us to think about our relationship with the magnitude of the ocean itself.

Balcony Gallery


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  • Let’s Play Vinyl

  • National Tour
  • Tuesday 17 October – Friday 17 November
  • A high quality touring exhibition portraying the younger generation of sound system men and women artists as productive entrepreneurs, creating their own arts ecology in modern day Britain. Look out for our Let’s Play Vinyl participatory workshops and explore sound systems and technology on Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 October.

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