Manchester’s week-long Science in the City festival celebrates our city’s heritage in research and discovery as part of Manchester’s year as European City of Science. Expect over 40 free events across the city, including fun things to do for all ages. From the toddler-friendly – such as the Inflatable Museum (see below) – to films and robots to please kids and grown ups alike, there’s something for everyone. The festival hub is the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Number 70 Oxford Street which hosts free informal talks, discussions, debates and workshops with scientists and technologists over the week-long event. Other Manchester venues taking part include Manchester Arndale, Museum of Science and Industry, John Rylands Library, Royal Exchange and Portico Library. We’ve picked out a selection of events to whet your appetite: if you like the sound of these, click here for more.

1. Drop in: Climate Change Café & Allotment of the Future
The Climate Change Café in St Ann’s Square sees scientists exploring the future of science and food. On the menu is the possibility of bugs for breakfast, algae for lunch and crops made from used coffee grounds. Visit the Allotment of the Future to explore how urban spaces could be used to grow food. Look out for experiments, tastings and conversations.
Fri 22 – Fri 29 Jul, St Ann’s Square, Manchester M2 7LF, times vary, FREE,

2. Walking art show: Human Sensor responding to air pollution around the city (pictured)
A new commission by media artist Kasia Molga sees Human Sensors parade through Manchester city centre wearing unique high tech clothing which dramatically changes colour in response to air pollution (see image). Look for for a choreographed performance in Sadler’s Yard at NOMA. Follow the Festival on Twitter and click on the link below for updates.
Sat 23 – Fri 29 Jul, times and locations vary, FREE,

3. Film Festival: Science Friction at HOME Mcr
Science Friction is a series of intriguing films from 1950s onwards, exploring our relationship with robots and AI. Screenings include The Machine of Human Dreams (2015, Wed 27 Jul, 6.20pm). Directed by Roy Cohen, the film follows Artificial Intelligence maverick Ben Goertzel as he tries to build a machine which can think in Hong Kong. Moving back in time, The Man in the White Suit (1952, Tue 26 Jul, 8.40pm) sees Alec Guinness play an inventor who develops a fabric which never gets dirty or wears out – and witnesses the backlash from companies who make clothes which don’t self-clean. There’s a eco-sci-fi feast in store for viewers of Silent Running (1972, Mon 25 Jul, 6.20pm). The directorial debut of special effects genius Douglas Turnbull (who worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey) follows a recurrent theme in sci-fi – that of the cultivation and preservation of the earth’s flora and fauna in hostile environments (see also 2015′ The Martian).

4. Under 5s: Tiny Science – The Inflatable Museum at Manchester Cathedral
Manchester Museum’s roving ‘Inflatable Museum’ pops up in Manchester Cathedral during the festival for fun, hands-on activities for the under-5s (and their grown ups).  The Cathedral is transformed into a cosy woodland space packed with animals and objects to investigate. Visitors are advised to book for the Museum’s popular Magic Carpet story making sessions which include songs, active rhymes and movement (45 min duration, 1.45pm and 2.45pm, FREE, – booking will open shortly), while drop-in craft activities take place all day (not 1pm-1.45pm)
Mon 25 Jul, Manchester Cathedral, Victoria Street, Manchester M3 1SX. Tel: 0161 798 1600, 11am-3.30pm, FREE,

5. Robot wars: The Mars Society’s first UK University Rover Challenge in Cathedral Gardens
Watch robots designed by teams from British universities fight it out to be crowned potential Mars Rover of the future. Rovers will undertake challenges relating to mobility, science survey and astronaut assist. There will be a Rover beauty contest (or ‘presentation assessment’) too.
Sat 23 & Sun 24 Jul, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester,

Fri 22 – Fri 29 Jul, various times, @sciencecity2016

Image: Nick Harrison

Fri 22 Jul - Fri 29 Jul
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Tue 18 Oct 2016