Manchester Science Festival has kicked off 10 days of scientific celebration by revealing the winners of this prestigious photography competition to tie in with its theme of climate change and ideas for a better world.

Manchester Science Festival Photography Competition

The online festival has launched today (Friday 12 February) with a digital exhibition in partnership with the Royal Photographic Society, showcased from Manchester for the first time. It unveils the winners of the Science Photographer of the Year competition, which can now be viewed online alongside 75 shortlisted and stand-out photographs.

British photographer Simon Brown has been named Science Photographer of the Year in the ‘General Science’ category for his photo, Orthophoto of SS Thistlegorm, an intricate reconstruction of a shipwreck using photogrammetry, the technique of making measurement from photographs. The Young Science Photographer of the Year has been awarded to Katy Appleton (12) for her image, Rainbow Shadow Selfie, that captures the beauty of a common phenomena of light splitting through a prism.

For the first time this year, the category of ‘Climate Change’ was introduced to reflect the theme of the Manchester Science Festival. Sue Flood wins Science Photographer of the Year in the Climate Change category for her striking photo, North Pole Under Water (above), and the Under 18’s Young Science Photographer of the Year in the Climate Change category goes to Raymond Zhang (11) for his image Apollo’s Emissary, which shows one of the largest solar power stations in western China.

The Science Photographer of the Year competition celebrates the remarkable stories behind scientific exploration and application, depicting its impact on our everyday lives and illustrating how photography helps record and explain global issues and scientific events. Through the addition of this year’s Climate Change category, these images will also be presented as part of a captivating digital visual arts display that also tracks the global story of the Earth’s altering climate and provides an authentic snapshot of the immense effect it is having on our world.

The selected images were chosen from over 1,000 entries submitted for free by both amateur and professional photographers, and judged by an expert panel, including representatives from the Science and Industry Museum and Science Museum Group.

Originally planned to be shown onsite at the museum, the exhibition now leads the line-up of Manchester Science Festival’s digital events, which will take place across the next 10 days. The exhibition itself will remain available for audiences to enjoy for longer, until 2 May.

Manchester Science Festival has been a key event in the city’s cultural calendar since 2007. This year’s digital version is themed around climate and ideas for a better world, and will treat audiences to an engaging line-up of free online talks, exhibitions and activities to enjoy from home

The festival offers viewers the chance to hear from well-known names to scientists at the forefront of the fight against climate change and voices from Manchester’s communities. Alongside the Royal Photographic Society’s exhibition, highlights include:

  • Changing the System, an ‘in conversation’ event where renowned musician and climate campaigner, Brian Eno, joins ClientEarth founder, James Thornton, to discuss how to use the power of law to combat climate change, protect the environment and build a future in which people and the planet thrive together. The event will be chaired by environmental broadcaster, Liz Bonin.
  • Earth, But Not As We Know It will see an expert panel respond to specially-recorded provocations from Dr James Lovelock, the 101-year-old scientist who studied at The University of Manchester and created the influential yet controversial Gaia Hypothesis.
  • A three-part series where Manchester physicist, Helen Czerski, asks ‘How Can I Be A Good Citizen of the World?’ in relation to transport, equality and food. Helen will be joined by a number of community voices from Greater Manchester, including Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett, Ayesha Arif, Community Director at Bury Asian Women’s Centre, Michaela Howell, Head of Communities at Groundwork Greater Manchester and a number of academics from the University of Manchester.
  • A discussion about eco anxiety with the festival’s Young People Panel will be chaired by Niall Henry, founder of The Blair Project, a disruptive social enterprise that exists to inspire the next generation of green tech workforce.

Sally MacDonald, Director of the Science and Industry Museum, said: “It is fantastic that Manchester Science Festival has launched to the public, so that everyone can enjoy the exciting programme of online events and exhibitions. In these difficult days, we’re delighted to be able to bring the joy of our museum into people’s homes.  

“The programme is a positive one – looking at ways we can all take action and contribute to solutions around climate change, connecting communities, scientists and activists with the aim of advancing ideas for a better world.

“I am delighted that our partnership with the Royal Photographic Society is leading the festival’s digital line-up. Visual arts are so important in furthering our understanding of the world around us, and this exhibition really shines a spotlight on the effects that both science and climate have on our lives.”

Dr Michael Pritchard, Director, Education and Public Affairs at the RPS, said: “This year’s Science Photographer of the Year is more relevant than ever before in documenting how science and climate change are impacting all our lives. The selected images are striking and will make us think more about the world around us.”

The museum’s aspiration is to host further socially distanced, in-person activities around climate change, including UK premieres and a dedicated special event programme for families, later in the year, supporting Manchester’s cultural, economic and skills recovery. It hopes to host family-focused activities soon after its doors reopen, with further events planned for June and November, to coincide with COP26 in Glasgow.

To explore the full Manchester Science Festival line-up and book tickets for free, visit

Manchester Science Festival has been generously supported by Chiesi Ltd (Major Sponsor), Waters Corporation (Major Sponsor), Electricity North West (Sponsor), Cadent Gas (Event Sponsor) and Renold (Supporter).

The Science and Industry Museum was required to close its doors once again in October following Government restrictions and looks forward to welcoming visitors back later in 2021.


Manchester Science Festival
Manchester Science Festival poster

Manchester Science Festival returns from Friday 21 – Sunday 30 October 2022 with an unmissable programme featuring world premieres, inspiring experiences and entertaining events, all aimed at exploring what makes us human and asking the question, 'What does the future hold for humanity?'



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