University featuring at Manchester Science Festival

Credit: Museum of Science and Industry

The theme of science is once again taking over the city with arts, poetry and food-related events featuring as part of the University’s involvement in this year’s Manchester Science Festival (MSF).

Manchester Metropolitan is one of the main partners of the festival and will be using its world-class research and know-how to bring science alive.

Prof Joanna Verran, Head of Science Communication and Public Engagement, said: “For us, Manchester Science Festival is all about encouraging people to get involved with science in new and interesting ways. We love sharing our research, and the subjects we teach, and the festival gives us the chance to do those things in creative, unusual and collaborative ways. It is great fun too!”

The annual 11-day festival is run by Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry and involves a host of events in the city during October half-term, running from Thursday, October 20, to Sunday, October 30. Manchester Metropolitan will once again be getting involved to continue the University’s ongoing association with the festival.

Dr Sam Illingworth, Senior Lecturer in Science Communication, said: “Manchester Science Festival is such an important event in the annual calendar of this city, and Manchester Metropolitan University is privileged to be involved in developing and delivering a number of events as part of this year’s programme. Ranging from an evening of global science with local impact at Number 70 to a menu made by microbes and celebration of science and poetry, there is something for everybody. This year promises to be the best yet in terms of engaging a variety of audiences with the magic of science, and we are extremely proud to be involved in such a substantial way.”


  • Menus made by microbes – Street food: Feast on a range of ingredients that owe their production to microorganisms. Manchester Metropolitan University microbiologists have teamed up with Grub Mcr to showcase dishes made by some of Manchester’s best street food stalls. Bring friends and a big appetite. Click here for more details.
  • Mesh: See the premiere of an exhibition of 3D printed fine art sculpture, mesh-talkfeaturing six leading artists who specialise in this pioneering field. Keith Brown (Manchester School of Art), Bruce Gernand, Annie Cattrell, Jon Isherwood, James Hutchinson and Sumit Sarkar present newly commissioned sculptures and acclaimed existing works. Click here for more details.
  • Hear about the Mesh artists’ techniques and scientific journeys at the Mesh: Conversation event.
  • Experimental words: Biology meets balladry, physics encounters pentameter and chemistry confronts cadence, as leading scientists are paired with some of Manchester’s finest spoken-word artists to compete in a science slam show. The result? A diverse display of rhyme, rhythm and reason, which celebrates the creative similarities between science and the performing arts. Delivered by scientific poet Dan Simpson and poetic scientist Sam Illingworth – and run in conjunction with Evidently, Salford’s premier spoken word night – this year’s Experimental words aims to build on the tremendous success of 2015’s sold-out Science slam event. Click here for more details.
  • The science of gambling with Guardian Live: Dust off your tuxedos and cocktail dresses for a night at the casino… in the name of science. This cabaret-style show explores the different scientific aspects of gambling, like the probability of winning and the psychology of body language. Plus, what happens to your brain when you gamble? University neuroscientist Nicola Ray explores why gambling (in its non-addictive form) is so much fun. She’ll talk about how important brain regions are “hijacked” by the games played during gambling: the same regions that are responsible for ensuring we eat, procreate and fall in love are also the ones that ensure we keep playing even when we’re losing. Click here for more details.
  • Global science, local impact: Hear how scientific grand challenges are connected to the citizens of Manchester, as world-leading European scientists work with local students and artists to put big issues under the microscope. These include population health and wellbeing, food security, land use and sustainable transport. Join the debate and consider which actions you’d take. Click here for more details. 
  • Mushroom hack: Get involved with innovative mushroom growing. Join farmers and scientists to brainstorm and design open-source tools to help mushroom growers all over the world. No growing experience required – simply a creative, open mind. Click here for more details. 
  • Manchester eSports tournament: Gather together to play your favourite eSports with fellow fans, as tournaments for League Of Legends and Hearthstone get underway. You’ll also hear talks by design and development specialists about how new eSports games are developed; a process which involves a wide range of creative and technological skills. Click here for more details.
  • The science and beauty of peatlands: Peat bogs are richly biodiverse and a source of fascination for many scientists. Look at resident plant life, invertebrates and microbes through microscopes; see demonstrations of how bogs store carbon and affect water; and find out more about the preserving powers of peat. Plus, hear a recording of a new poem about peatlands by Ralph Hoyte. Click here for more details.

For a full round up of this year’s Manchester Science Festival events, visit