A highlight of Manchester’s cultural calendar and one of the most popular science festivals in the UK is returning to host a programme of live, interactive events and world premieres for the first time since 2018.

Manchester Science Festival, produced by the Science and Industry Museum, will return from Friday 21 – Sunday 30 October 2022. The first details of its packed programme have been announced, including a never-before-seen exhibition and new cosmic dance experience, all aimed at exploring what makes us human and asking the question, ‘What does the future hold for humanity?’

Prepare to get hands on with brand new headline exhibition, Turn It Up: The power of music, which will showcase the new melody-making opportunities unlocked by science and technology and the fresh perspectives revealing how music affects our bodies and minds. The space will be alive with music, supporting visitors to open their ears and hearts by listening to tunes and experimenting with sounds. Through intriguing objects, musical commissions and interactive experiences, including an incredible “musical playground”, discover how technological advancements continue to push the limits of music.

This multi-sensory, hands-on exhibition will provide accessible experiences for everyone, and encourage visitors to feel and reflect on what music means to them and others. It will premiere at Manchester Science Festival and run until May 2023 at the Science and Industry Museum, before taking off on an international tour. Eager audiences can prebook tickets now via the museum’s website.

Festivalgoers can also enjoy an out-of-this-world dance experience that will help to create the first dance in space. Acclaimed choreographer, Corey Baker, is working with the European Space Agency to design a dance routine to be performed by astronauts. An accompanying interactive installation has been commissioned and will premiere at Manchester Science Festival.

Visitors can throw shapes as avatar dancers to see how they move under different gravity conditions. The results will be shown around the room against spectacular backdrops filmed in space. They will add to our understanding of how the human body might behave when dancing outside of earth’s atmosphere, with the possibility of visitors’ moves appearing in the European Space Agency astronauts’ dance. 

There will be lots more for visitors of all ages and interests to enjoy at the festival, including opportunities to get hands on with some of science’s most cutting-edge developments, get lost in immersive technology, investigate the future of humanity and explore the role of cities like Manchester in creating communities of tomorrow. From family-fun games and tinkering to after-hours adult events and live music performances, Manchester Science Festival will include an unmissable line-up of entertaining and playful experiences for everyone.

The majority of the festival’s events will be hosted at the museum, with experiences also taking place across the city at Central Library, Manchester Arndale and a special collaboration with the National Trust at the new Castlefield Viaduct.

Sally MacDonald, Director of the Science and Industry Museum, said: “I am delighted that Manchester Science Festival is back with a bang this year. I’ve missed the buzz of our visitors coming to live festival events and seeing science in action right before their eyes. This year’s programme is packed full of fun, playful experiences designed to ignite curiosity about our future, and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors in October.”

This is the first time in four years that the biennial Manchester Science Festival has taken place live and in person. Owing to the pandemic, last year the museum hosted an online programme of digital talks and activities centred around our changing climate and ideas for a better world. This year’s theme continues to focus on progress, encouraging visitors to explore opportunities for the future brought about by science and innovation.

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.

Manchester Science Festival has been generously supported by Amazon (Principal Sponsor) and Waters Corporation (Major Sponsor).

Sign up to the museum’s mailing list to be the first to receive more details about the festival programme as they are announced, or visit www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/manchester-science-festival.