Talk Auditorium

On Collecting: Sense and Sensibility

Join us for a conversation that dives into the act of collecting, prompted by the ‘fields’ in the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Making Sense. We will explore collections as sites for making sense, and radical modes of collecting seemingly ordinary things.


Untitled (LEGO Incident) . © Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio

What to expect

Think of almost any thing and there is probably someone collecting it. In the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, we are faced with vast 'fields' of objects the artist has amassed since the 1990s including stone age tools, porcelain spouts and Lego bricks.

Collections play a key role in producing knowledge and histories, and the act of collecting can indicate an attempt at making sense of our worlds. The event will address the psychology, philosophy, and politics of collecting, and what can we learn from collections – whether institutional or private – about temporality, order, care, identity, power, meaning making and shifting notions of value.

Join the Community Producer of South Asia gallery at Manchester Museum Nusrat Ahmed and independent curator Rose Lejeune, in conversation with Curatorial and Communications Director of STIR Samta Nadeem to consider a spectrum of ideas on collecting.


Nusrat Ahmed

After 25 years’ experience within the voluntary sector, Ahmed joined Manchester Museum and is currently the lead Curator for their South Asia Gallery. A ground-breaking community co-curated project dedicated to explore South Asia’s heritage and histories. As a first generation British born South Asian, Ahmed has a close attachment to her heritage and is extremely passionate about her role, its impact for the South Asia Gallery, their communities and all who come visit it.

Rose LeJeune

Lejeune is an independent curator with particular expertise in context-based, multi-disciplinary and performative projects. In 2019, she founded Performance Exchange, which supports the presentation and acquisition of performance art across the UK. She is the Associate Curator for Delfina Foundation’s Collecting as Practice: a residency project that unpacks how artists and collectors are redefining the critical discourses of collecting. Lejeune is completing her PhD on expanded practices in the art market.

Samta Nadeem

Nadeem's interdisciplinary background equips her with a keen perspective on creative cultures and how they intertwine with contemporary complexities. A designer, curator, critical thinker and creative director, she is passionate about engaging with issues of social and environmental injustice through design and discourse. Nadeem’s curatorial research expands the potential of Public Programming within public institutions of contemporary culture. She leads curatorial programming and communications for

Book online

Booking information

Adult: £10
Concession: £8
Members: £7

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. Visit our terms & conditions page for further information.

The exhibition

Ai Weiwei: Making Sense

The artist's first exhibition focusing on design will mix recent works with commissioned pieces inviting us into a meditation on value and humanity, art and activism. Tickets on sale.

Related events

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A special exhibition preview and talk with Design Museum Chief Curator Justin McGuirk and artist and activist Ai Weiwei to discuss how his new exhibition reflects thirty years of thinking and collecting.

BSL Tour of Ai Weiwei: Making Sense

Join guide Edward Richards for a special tour of the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, delivered in British Sign Language suitable for Deaf and hard of hearing visitors.

Audio Described Tour of Ai Weiwei: Making Sense

Join guide Andrew Mashigo and Lynn Cox for a special tour of the exhibition Ai Weiwei: Making Sense, for blind and and visually impaired visitors.

Background image:Ai Weiwei, Untitled (Porcelain Balls), 2022. © Image courtesy Ai Weiwei Studio