2022 Community Festival Programme

There's so much to do at our Community Festival. Whether you are young or old, interested in science or art, want to get hands-on and have fun or just want to find out more about the plethora of work that takes place at the University, join us for a fun day of family activities.

The programme is still being developed, so keep an eye on this page for further updates and follow us on Twitter @SocialResponUoM #communityfestUoM

Register for your free Community Festival tickets here.

Here are just some of the fun activities on offer at the Community Festival, 25 June 2022, 11:00 – 16:00, at The University of Manchester…

Drop-in hands-on activities hosted in University Place, (building 37)

Uncover the curious world of medicine and biology and explore the creative arts, social sciences and history…

Skin and bone: Make a DNA bracelet, take a look under your skin with a thermal imaging camera and find out what a taste for sprouts can tell you about genetics. Explore the effect the sun can have on your skin and how you can take care of it. Discover what makes you different from others as you learn how your genes and lifestyle may affect your skin and bones.

Elastic tissues - stretchy or stiff: Find out what makes our tissues stretchy and other parts of us stiff, even though they are made up from the same building blocks.

Scarring on the inside - a pain in the gut! Our internal organs and inner abdominal wall are covered in a layer of protective cells that secrete lubricants to permit the smooth gliding of organs. Abdominal surgery, mesh implants / infection can damage these delicate lining cells, leading to scarring, stiffening and sticking together of organs by adhesions. Using anatomy demonstrations, we’ll explore internal body cells, how adhesions form and ways to prevent them occurring.

The mechanical properties of the human body: Why are bones stiff? And why does the heart need to be tough? The human body is made up many organs, each with their own specific mechanical properties that we need to understand to help us to identify possible signs of disease. And say hello to our lovely cow Beryl – you can even milk her while you find out more about our research.

What is Medicine? Come and explore the structures of a molecule and build your own models of aspirin and paracetamol. Look back in time to pharmacies as they used to be and handle curious medical objects including an authentic Victorian pill roll.

The hidden world of microbes: We’ll explore the microbes all around us, in the soil, on our phones and on our skin. Investigate how microbes interact and share information between one another and take away a copy of our comic 'And the microbes - bizarre bacteria and peculiar plasmids'.

Frogs, maths and microscopes: Come find out how we use frogs and mathematics to unlock the secrets behind how a ball of cells becomes a complicated animal.

CAMHS Digital Young People's Group: Meet our young people's group and find out you can become more involved in digital mental health research using fun and dynamic approaches.

What is your brain made up of? Using arts and craft, we will be making different brain cells present in the brain. We’ll also explore what these brain cells do and what happens if things goes wrong.

Broken brain games: Play our giant board games and hold real brains to discover more about stroke research in Manchester.

Amazing hearts; how can we keep them healthy? Our hearts are amazing! Crawl through our blood vessel tunnel, discover what your heart is doing and how it manages to work so well and find out how healthy choices can make a positive impact on our hearts.

Discovering the "thumbprints" of antibiotic resistance: Antibiotic resistant infections are becoming a big problem. Microbes are evolving resistance, making infections very hard to treat. We are studying how and why resistance evolves, in the hope of discovering ways of stopping it from happening. Come and meet our resistant microbes and the scientists who study them. join our citizen scientist experiment and create your own "microbial thumbprint".

Before you were born: Come learn about the incredible organ that helps babies grow - placentas! Interactive activities will cover what the placenta does, what can harm the placenta and also harm the growing baby, and possible ways to monitor and treat placentas that are not working properly and are putting the baby’s health at risk.

Look inside your ear - shout as loud as a parrot! Explore the secret structures of your ear using our audiology equipment and take your own photo home. Find out about different sound levels and see if you can shout as loud as a parrot!

Symbiosis - lives connected: Throughout nature many of the organisms we know not only use other species for survival but form close relationships with other species, sometimes inside themselves, to help them prosper. These relationships, known as symbiosis, have important consequence for how our environments are shaped and stay healthy, but are often in a careful balance between being mutually helpful to being harmful. Our interactive art piece will explore how such relationships evolve and remain stable.

Primary care for primary kids: Measure your blood oxygen and heart-rate using an oxymeter. Listen to your own heart using a stethoscope. Measure your height and weight to calculate your BMI.

Linguistics Diversity Collective: Manchester is a city of many languages and dialects. Explore your own language use and contribute to a linguistic snapshot of the city. Keep your ears and eyes open on the day – what languages have you heard around the city on your journey? What languages have you seen on signs and shop fronts? What words do you use for different foods – is it a bread roll, a barm, a buĹ‚eczka or something else?

Breaking the two-party system: small parties with big impact: We tend to think of parliamentary politics as being about a battle between the two main parties (Conservative and Labour). Most of the images we see show exchanges between these two parties, across the despatch box of the House of Commons. In reality, Parliament is home to a whole range of political parties, but their work is often obscured by the dominance of the big two. Come and take part in a series of challenges exploring a fuller understanding of the House of Commons.

Playing the RoundView: learning from the past to inspire new thinking about the future: Can we redesign how we do things so we don’t cause environmental problems in the first place? Can we avoid unintended consequences from our actions? Come and learn how our research has informed a set of games, developed with the Carbon Landscape Project, which is turning the scars of coal mining in the area between Manchester and Liverpool into a landscape full of wildlife and opportunities for people to connect with nature.

Whitworth Babies: For the Under 2’s and their grown-ups. Enjoy a special time together in some sensory play with your baby, helping to aid their development, bonding and attachment.

Exploring activism in Manchester: Join the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre team as we delve into our collections to showcase some of Manchester activism materials and help attendees identify and create their own activist messages.

Make your own cress head! Our student volunteers often get involved with local environmental projects. We partner with organisations like The Kindling Trust and Incredible Edible, as they work to grow food sustainably and tackle food poverty. Today you can make your own cress head to take home, so that you and your family can have delicious cress to eat.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion: Sharing your stories: Meet the team to hear about how we celebrate our differences and aim to tackle inequality on campus towards equality groups including: people of all ages, people of all genders, people of different or no religions, disabled people, people of ethnic minorities, and LGBT+ people. Share with us your stories and help us build a Community Day diversity collage!

Meet Manchester University Press: Founded in 1903 we are known globally for publishing excellent research in the Humanities and Social Sciences from leading names and up-and-coming scholars from around the world. We, publish over 200 books each year, as well as five journals, with discoverability, accessibility and research-ability at the heart of our mission.

The Sustainable Development Goals: The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our world’s call to action on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing humanity and the natural world. Find out how our work at the University is addressing these challenges. Be sure to look out for the goals at each Festival activity!

Women in STEM: Help us create a display to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Be inspired and help us inspire the next generation!

Drop-in performances in University Place, (building 37)

  • 11.30 to 12:15 - Banging our Drums for Unity and Social Change: This performance brings together professional musicians and researchers to show how music and creativity can promote peace and unity; and with understanding we can harness it to stimulate social change. Drawing on the unique sounds and wisdom of West African drums and dance you are invited to join in!

  • 13:00 to 13:45 - 'The Mice go to the Cinema' by Huaxia Chinese Sunday School in association with the Confucius Institute. This short comedy is about a mouse kingdom underneath a cinema. The mice who lived there always wanted to watch a film on the big screen, but never had the chance. But wait - it might be their lucky day today and they can go and watch something! Join us to find out what happens next!

  • 14:15 to 15:15 - Our School of Arts, Culture and Language Jazz Ensemble will give a toe-tapping performance. This will be appropriate for all ages and guarantees to brighten your day.

A Pop-up Manchester Museum (In the Marquee next to University Place)

Manchester Museum is transforming into a bigger and better museum! Beautiful new galleries will provide opportunities for curiosity and wonder and familiar galleries are waiting for you too. In the meantime, join us at our pop-up Manchester Museum, to find out more about our plans and what to expect when we reopen in February 2023. You will also meet members of the museum team, see some of our extraordinary objects, and enjoy hands-on activities.

Drop-in hands-on activities hosted in the Alan Turing Building, (building 46)

Explore the fascinating world of engineering, physical sciences and geographical sciences…

Virtual reality: education and recreation: Explore fully immersive, interactive virtual environments for medical education, machine learning for music and virtual museums. You can also experience swimming with dolphins, walking a plank 500ft above the ground and other fun activities.

Community mapping Uganda: Our goal is to create maps of previously un-mapped areas of the world to help address chronic humanitarian crises. Help us map the way for prosthetic and orthopaedic surgeons to reach those in need of healthcare and prosthetic limbs in Northern Uganda.

Meteorite hunt! Spotting rocks from space is easy when they’re still hurtling through the sky. But once they’ve landed, how can we tell them from other boulders, stones or pebbles? Try out some space sleuthing yourself by trying out the tricks and techniques used by astro geologists from the Earth and Solar System team.

Computers in our everyday lives: How do we get computers to do what they’re told? Find out how computers work and get hands-on experience programming robots to interact with the world around them.

Lego rovers: Ever wondered what it would be like to control a Mars Rover? Come and drive one of our Lego Rovers to experience the challenge of controlling a robot on another planet, and learn about how robots are programmed to do tasks like avoiding obstacles.

Smashing squash balls: Do squash balls still bounce when they are really cold? We’ll explore the structure of different materials at different temperatures to see how we can use the structure of polymers to our advantage – game, set, match!

Weave away the day: See how material, colour and pattern are combined one thread at time to create the clothing and textiles we use every day. Explore how simple weaving techniques have informed advanced engineering structures such as composites used in aerospace. Weave with found objects and materials from around the University campus as we explore what it means to reuse, recycle and recreate a more environmentally sustainable future.

Marvellous marbling: Science meets art by using liquids with different densities and surface tension to create colourful floating patterns which can then be transferred onto our card shapes for you to take away. We explore how 2D materials are introduced into lighter liquids to create a thin film which have the potential to be used for a variety of applications such as sensors and strain gauges.

Physics tricks: Get hands on with some simple table-top physics experiments, see practical demonstrations and find out how physics is a part of our everyday lives.

Nuclear energy for net zero: Nuclear energy offers a dependable flow of low-carbon energy while posing some highly complex challenges. Meet the people exploring these challenges and find out about nuclear energy on the road to net zero. See why we split atoms with our carnival shooter game and explore fusion energy with snooker.

Zero Carbon at The University of Manchester: We will be exploring what we really mean by zero carbon and sharing our plans for the University to become zero carbon by 2038. Take part in our Tree Trail Treasure Hunt for the chance to win a plant to take home!

Cohere learning app: Come and help us design an exciting new app to change the way we capture and share learning. Use the app to share what you experience during the festival and help others to discover new ideas and understanding.

Slow the Flow, Peatlands PROTECT: Explore an interactive model of how the Pennines are being restored and planted to slow the flow of water from the hills into the rivers with the aim of reducing down-stream flood risks.

Drop-in hands-on activities hosted the Royce Hub, (building 126)

Discover the wonderful world of advanced materials…

Discover materials: Discover new materials through interactive science boxes. Open the box to find different objects on display and learn about the materials around you.

Graphene, the material of the future! Walk through the history of graphene from discovery to future application. Make your own graphene and see how researchers are exploiting the incredible properties of this one-atom-thick material and other 2D materials.

Recycling plastic: Plastic has useful properties in many applications - it is low energy, low cost, lightweight, durable and in many instances reduces food waste, prevents disease and keeps us breathing. However, once plastic is used and its value extracted, it becomes a problem. Learn how our researchers are helping to create solutions that allow plastics to be recycled over and over again.

Learn about X-rays: NXCT is the UK’s National Research Facility for lab-based X-ray Computed Tomography, a non-destructive imaging technique for visualising interior features within solid objects. Learn more X-rays and their impact on materials science.

Discovering structural integrity: Do you like playing Minecraft or building and breaking things? In engineering, we call that coding, measuring, designing and testing. Our hands-on activities will introduce you to how these interests lend themselves to a career in Structural Integrity.

Demonstration hosted in the Chemistry Building, (building 61)

Be awed by the power of chemistry…

  • 15:00 to 16:00 – The Flash-Bang Show: Everyone’s favourite, this demonstration opens your eyes to the amazing world of chemistry that is all around us. There will be fantastic colour changes, flashes and the occasional bang, so hold on to your hats!

Pre-bookable Tours

Explore our campus in our behind the scenes tours…

  • Go behind the scenes of the Firs Environmental Research Station. Visit our hidden greenhouses and find out more about air quality research at The University of Manchester. Details and bookings here for 11:30 - 12:30 or 14:00 - 15:00.
  • Join us on a Heritage tour as we journey around the University’s fine neo-gothic architecture and sites of world-changing discovery and hear how our University developed from pioneering origins in the industrial revolution to become a leading university. Details and bookings for 11:00 tour here; 12:30 tour here; or 14:00 tour here.
  • Take a tour of our new home of Engineering and Materials; it’s a place like nothing else. We’ve torn up the idea of what a University building is and created a playground for engineers and scientists, truly open to the world around it in its design. Details and bookings here for 12:00, 13:30 or 15:00.

But that’s not all

Just for fun…

  • Face Painting
  • Climbing Wall
  • Photography Exhibitions exploring themes around ‘Sustainability’ and ‘Home’
  • Outdoor Art Club: Forest School inspired outdoor play for under 5’s led by a local artist. Our workshop brings art, nature and creativity together. Prepare for it to be messy!
  • Sporting Challenges: Come and test your penalty taking and kick and stick dartboard skills and earn a chance at winning a prize with SPORT Manchester.
  • Our Biotech Science Buskers will intrigue and entertain you with sensational science tricks. Explore the genetic modification of bacteria and see how greener, bio-inspired solutions are addressing environmental sustainability challenges.



There really is something for everyone at our free Community Festival!

  • Register for your free Community Festival tickets here.
  • To find out where the events and activities are taking place download our Festival map.