Time Travelling and The Future of Sex: Manchester Science Festival Announces 2022 Programme

Featuring world first experiences, Manchester Science Festival has launched a programme of ‘futuristic fun’ to commemorate this year’s event.

By Emma Davidson | Last updated 8 September 2022

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The Science and Industry Museum has unveiled the full line-up of its biennial science extravaganza, returning this autumn as a live event for the first time in four years.

Manchester Science Festival will be back from Friday 21 – Sunday 30 October to celebrate science, reveal wonder and inspire innovation through world premieres and experiences, immersive performances, after-hours amusement and interactive activities. 

Through its packed line-up, the festival promises 10 days of fun, discovery and entertainment as it explores one of life’s most crucial questions, ‘what does the future hold for humanity?’. 

Tickets are now available to book via the museum’s website with events taking place at the Science and Industry Museum, Central Library, Manchester Arndale and the Castlefield Viaduct.

World-first experiences
Science and Industry Museum 

Highlights include world-first headline exhibition, Turn It Up: The power of music, which will explore the science of music’s mysterious hold over us and how it drives us to create, perform, feel and share. Premiering at the festival before embarking on a national and international tour, this multi-sensory exhibition will offer audiences a wealth of new experiences through specially commissioned interactive installations and immersive activities, as well as opportunities to create their own unique sounds. 

Visitors can also explore never-before-seen musical inventions, hear first-hand accounts from renowned musicians and uncover cutting-edge research, all with the aim of discovering the science behind music and what the future holds for melody making.

Audiences can get involved in another world premiere as they join acclaimed choreographer, Corey Baker, on his mission to create the first dance in space with an out-of-this-world immersive experience, Giant Leaps. Festivalgoers will see themselves and their movements transported to outer space, where they can influence the journeys of stars and space dust as they float through the cosmos. 

Futuristic fun
Location – Science and Industry Museum

The museum’s iconic 1830 Warehouse will be a hive of futuristic fun for people of all ages throughout the festival, giving visitors the opportunity to play with the technologies and explore the ideas shaping the future of our cities and communities.

Families get the opportunity to welcome time travellers from the year 2122 during an interactive Live Action Role Play (LARP) experience led by climate change communications researcher, Francesca Kilpatrick. Inspired by the past, present and future of the 1830 Warehouse, visitors can meet fictional scientists from the future and be taken on a journey of discovery to reveal how technology and nature will change over the next 100 years. 

Get involved in a series of hands-on experiments at their futuristic research stations, discover the rare materials making everyday tech a possibility and even go foraging for the edible plants keeping our future cities fed.  

Compete against a prosthetic counterpart in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors when joining the HandBuild HandAssess Project at the University of Salford, supported by a Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious Award, to investigate the future of prosthetics. Visitors can also use their own muscles to control a robotic hand and discover if this technology could catch up with the capabilities of real-life limbs, or take part in a beatbox battle against a musical AI and explore what life on other planets might sound like with the University of Manchester’s NOVARS research centre.

Picture © Jason Lock Photography

Join Sow the City to explore what our future cities, homes and belongings might be made from as they reveal the ‘biomaterials’ that could be used in sustainable manufacturing of the future. Or take part in their interactive Carbon Supermarket challenge to see how to make healthier choices for the planet. Sow the City will also be on hand to offer tips on how to grow sustainable food for the future, helping visitors to reduce their carbon footprints even further. 

For those wanting to get closer to nature, City of Trees will be uncovering the role trees play in helping to reduce the effects of the climate crisis and helping families to get hands-on in supporting the green revolution by planting, taking home and nurturing saplings of their own. Budding conservationists can also discover how to keep nature in their neighbourhoods thriving in future eco-systems with Lancashire Wildlife Trust or create an entirely new city of the future through craft activities with STEM ambassadors.

Whether it’s using technology to clean up our future world, exploring the real-life impact of robotics or discovering just how far virtual assistants can help us, innovators of tomorrow will be inspired by tech and entrepreneurial expertise. 

One-off events and activities
Location – Science and Industry Museum 

As well as the activities taking place for the duration of the Festival, audiences will be treated to a number of one-off events throughout the 10 days.

The Festival will also include Get Curious events, where visitors can find out more about the big ideas and innovations that are changing the world by meeting people working in STEM. Each event will take place in an eco-friendly, colourful construction funded by Siemens, and involve hands-on activities that support young visitors to delve deeper into the world of science.

On Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 October, PPG will be hosting a drop-in activity station to help young visitors understand how different colours can influence their emotions. On Thursday 27 October, Waters will be time travelling to the year 2222 to discover how humans are able to live happily on other planets and on Friday 29, AIG will be encouraging innovators of the future to use their STEM skills to find solutions for their everyday challenges.

A special event created and curated by Manchester Science Festival’s Young People’s Panel will also take place on Tuesday 25 October. Supported by Brighter Sound, this event will encourage families to investigate how we can make sounds more sustainably by challenging them to help create an everyday orchestra and belt out a beat or tease out a tune from objects we all have around the house.

After-hours adult events
Location – Science and Industry Museum and Castlefield Viaduct 

Delve deeper into the future of humans, music and nature with a series of after-hours, adult-only events.

Seize the special opportunity to explore headline exhibition, Turn It Up: The power of music, after hours before indulging in an evening of live music, digital art and pioneering performance as the museum partners with From the Other, the team behind Sounds From the Other City, Fat Out Fest and Samarbeta artist residencies, to host Turn It Up: Live. Inspired by the experiences in the exhibition, visitors can continue to explore the power of music as it combines with technology to form this futuristic display of audio and visual art.

Enjoy after-hour access to the museum as it pulls back the covers to reveal the ’Future of Sex’ during its cheekiest adult-only late event yet. Join an evening of performance, workshops, art and conversation to discover how technology and education are creating a future that fantasies are made of. Get crafty with The Vagina Museum by creating gynecological bunting and anatomical artwork; explore the possibility that chatbots are the future of romantic relationships by creating a ‘perfect companion’ in a unique experiment with King’s College London researcher, Chloé Locatelli; enjoy a Virtual Reality date with Flirtual, the first VR dating app; and discover how technology could change the future of our intimate relationships during an interactive discussion with a panel of ‘sexperts’. Be sure to keep an eye out for Anna Phylactic and the rest of Family Gorgeous who will be at the event to explore the future of sex with visitors.

The Festival is also hosting a unique opportunity to explore Castlefield Viaduct once the sun goes down in the one-off event, Sky Park After Dark: Nocturnal nature tour in partnership with the National Trust.

Manchester Science Festival in the city
Location – Manchester Arndale and Central Library

On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23, visitors at Manchester Arndale can join Noisy Toys to experiment with new and innovative ways of making music and enjoy musical performances as Global Grooves’ squad of rhythmic robots brings future carnival sounds in a programme of activities inspired by the Festival’s headline exhibition.

From Monday 24 – Sunday 30 October, visitors to Central Library will also be treated to family fun and hands-on activities. Organisations from across the city, including Science X, Manchester Urban Design LAB (MUD-Lab), the Environment Agency and more, as well as a special participatory experience and Sunday opening from performers the Egg People, will help visitors explore the future of Manchester and understand more about how science is shaping the way we live as part of Manchester’s Our Year celebrations. 

Ella Wild, Head of Festival and Events at the Science and Industry Museum, said: “We’re so excited that Manchester Science Festival is returning for a full-scale, live event in October. As a highlight of Manchester’s cultural calendar, it marks a welcome milestone in the city’s cultural recovery but most important of all, it’s a wonderful opportunity for visitors to get hands on with some of science’s most cutting-edge developments while exploring their own ideas and visions for the future. 

“We’re working with some incredible partners to give people of all ages, interests and abilities the opportunity to explore science that relates to them. From music to robotics and dance to wildlife, this year’s festival is chance for visitors to play, create and discover as they immerse themselves in some really forward-thinking science and technology. We hope they leave the festival feeling entertained, inspired and hopeful about what the future holds for humanity.”

Manchester Science Festival is supported by Amazon (Principal Sponsor) University of Salford (Lead Educational Partner) Waters Corporation (Major Sponsor), PPG (Major Partner) and AIG (Associate Sponsor).

Picture © Jason Lock Photography

As the world’s first industrial city, Manchester has long been at the heart of human development and continues to be a leader in progress and innovation. The Science and Industry Museum is uniquely placed to tell the city’s story. Sitting on the site of the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station, today it is alive with innovative discoveries and committed to inspiring visitors through ideas that changed the world. 

Tickets for Manchester Science Festival, including Turn It Up: The power of music, are now available to book via the link below.


Manchester Science Festival 2022

Date: Friday 21st – Sunday 30th October
Venues: Science and Industry Museum, Central Library, Manchester Arndale and the Castlefield Viaduct
Price: FREE