Members of the public taking part in a guided tour of Jodrell Bank grounds.

Spotlight events

Throughout the year, we get involved in a diverse range of public and community events and activities.

These include participating in science, history, literature and music festivals, engaging local communities in our research activities, delivering lifelong learning programmes, volunteering, and more.

We’ve picked out a few highlights here to get you started.

Community Festival

Science Busker at the Community Festival.

Each year, we throw open our doors for our local friends and neighbours to discover the variety of work we do here at the University.

This free day is jam-packed with fun activities for all the family, including interactive demonstrations, musical and drama performances, and behind the scenes tours.

Our Community Festival provides an inviting, informal space for visitors to meet our staff and students and for us to take part in conversations that connect and inspire.

In 2024 The University of Manchester is hosting Universally Manchester, a free festival to celebrate its bicentenary – taking over campus from Thursday, 6 June to Sunday, 9 June 2024. Saturday will provide family-friendly fun with the return of the ever-popular Community Festival – insightful performances, have-a-go activities and an engaging experience for all. Find out more about Universally Manchester. 

For more information, visit the Community Festival web page.


bluedot festival, Jodrell Bank.

Each year, Jodrell Bank plays host to the award-winning bluedot festival of discovery, inviting visitors to explore a stellar programme of music, science and cosmic culture beneath the iconic Lovell Telescope.

Running over four days and combining music, live science experiments, expert talks and immersive artworks, the event inspires and entertains over 15,000 festival-goers each day.

bluedot provides a unique place to highlight the fragility of planet Earth, to celebrate science and the exploration of the universe, and to explore the frontiers of human advancement through science, culture, art and technology.

For more information, visit the bluedot website.

ESRC Festival of Social Science

esrc festival social science

Each year, we take part in the ESRC Festival of Social Science, a UK-wide, free celebration of the social sciences.

For more information about festival events in Manchester, take a look at our Festival website.

For more general information about the festival, visit the ESRC Festival of Social Science website.

Science X

Science X

This free, interactive festival of exploration and experiments is a great chance to discover the fun behind science and engineering.  From public libraries to shopping centres, the annual event aims to reach out to groups not traditionally engaged with science.  From robots, and racing cars, to flight simulators and future materials, this hands-on event has something for everyone – from the very young to the young at heart.

The more information, visit the Science X website.

Great Science Share for Schools

Great Science Share for Schools participants.

The Great Science Share for Schools brings together school pupils aged 5-14 from across the world on a day all about sharing science.

It aims to engage students in a child-focused, inclusive, non-competitive, and collaborative learning experience, enable pupils to share their own scientific questions and investigations, and raise the profile of science in schools and communities.

The Great Science Share for Schools returns in June and schools can register now to access exclusive resources and receive all the latest news and updates.

For more information, visit the Great Science Share for Schools website.

Manchester Literature Festival

The Manchester Literature Festival is a celebration of imagination, ideas, stories, and voices from around the world.

It is part of Manchester’s rich cultural tapestry and is committed to bringing together the most exciting storytellers, poets, and thinkers for everyone to enjoy.

For more information, visit the Manchester Literature Festival website.

Manchester Literature Festival logo..

British Science Week

Two children enjoying a British Science Week activity.Each March, British Science Week shines the spotlight on how science, technology, engineering and maths relate to our everyday lives and helps to inspire the next generation of scientists with fun and participative activities. Each year, the University runs a number of events to celebrate.

British Science Week returns in March.

For more general information, visit the British Science Week website.


A number of our cultural institutions and research groups at the University have created podcasts to help share their work with wider communities. Here are just some of the available podcasts.

Manchester Museum Podcast

Ideas have the power to change the world and curiosity can lead to action. Along with special guests, the Manchester Museum shares open and honest conversations that will inform, entertain and inspire. 

Listen to the Manchester Museum Podcast

The University of Manchester Podcasts

Join some of the University’s foremost scientists, thinkers, historians and social commentators as they talk about how their research is helping to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals for global health, equality and sustainability.

Listen to the University of Manchester Podcasts (Spotify)

One in two: a Manchester cancer research Podcast

This cancer research podcast is brought to you by The University of Manchester in partnership with the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC). In each episode, our cancer researchers discuss the innovations, discoveries and projects that are changing the landscape of early detection.

Listen to the One in two Podcast

The bluedot Podcast

Music. Science. Cosmic Culture. This is the bluedot podcast. Enjoy in-depth talks and panels, mini-documentaries and more, plus highlights from previous bluedot festivals.

Listen to the bluedot podcast

The Cosmic Cast

Brought to you from the Earth and Solar System team, Cosmic Cast is a light-hearted look at news and views from the wonderful world of planetary science.

Listen to the Cosmic Cast podcast (YouTube)

The Buzz

Produced by the Faculty of Science and Engineering, this podcast explores the latest research innovation as well topics around diversity in STEM.

Listen to the Buzz podcast

The Life Lab

Produced by the Faculty Biology, Medicine and Health, this podcast explores contemporary themes in biology, psychology, medicine and healthcare.

Featuring interviews with leading researchers and health practitioners, we’ll shine a light on the most pressing challenges faced by our society and how we’re seeking to solve them.

Listen to the Life Lab podcast (YouTube)

Events at the University

Visit our events database to see the full list of events taking place throughout the year on campus and at our cultural institutions.