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Famous for his opulent paintings, so richly embossed that they feel almost sculptural, Raqib Shaw enjoys a solo show at the Whitworth this June. The theme is the real and imagined spaces between the East and West, and Shaw's paintings are displayed alongside textiles, furniture and drawings from the Whitworth's world-class archives. A chance to see this unique talent in Manchester's most ambitious art space. (From 24 June, Oxford Road, www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk)

The state of the art People's History Museum lies on the banks of the River Irwell which divides the cities of Manchester and Salford. The cafe offers watery views while interactive exhibitions consider British citizens' experience of the past, offering up surprising new perspectives. http://www.phm.org.uk/

Feburary's Queer Contact season is a highlight of Manchester's theatrical calendar. Choose from performance artist David Hoyle's tall tales, operatic drag by Le Gateau Chocolate, a Prince tribute and much more. The lively bar is ideal for meeting the locals over a craft beer or two. (10-18 Feb, Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, http://contactmcr.com/projects/festivals/queer-contact-festival-2017/)

Manchester's ornate fire station, London Road, could have only been built in the Victorian era - and this previously abandoned landmark is the atmospheric location of an ice rink and indoor festival called The Winter Gathering. Enjoy food from stalls curated by the British Street Food Awards team, mulled wine, cocktails and a craft market featuring work by local makers. (Until 8 Jan 2017, http://elementalevents.com/thewintergathering/)

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