What's On

Manchester Science Festival is returning in 2021 to explore ‘ideas for a better world’

The jam-packed programme will primarily explore our changing climate.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 18th September 2020
Manchester Science Festival

Manchester Science Festival is returning in 2021 with a jam-packed programme exploring our changing climate and ideas for a better world.

The annual festival – which is produced by the Science and Industry Museum, is a highlight of the city’s cultural calendar and is one of the most popular science festivals in the UK – is now planned to take place from Friday 12th – Sunday 21st February 2021.

The first details of the 2021 event have been now been unveiled, revealing a programme that will explore the role of science, technology and communities in finding solutions to our changing climate, which is branded “one of the world’s most urgent challenges.”

As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester was the catalyst for scientific innovation and unprecedented change all over the world and now, with Greater Manchester’s vision of becoming carbon neutral by 2038, the city is uniquely placed to influence future progress across the globe once again.

Visitors will witness some of science’s most cutting-edge developments in the fight against climate change. They will be treated to an unmissable line-up, including premieres and immersive arts, fashion, food, theatre and sustainable living experiences, as well as the chance to talk to leading scientists and climate campaigners during a series of special events and debates.


All activities will inform, engage and ignite curiosity about our changing climate.

Most will take place across the Science and Industry Museum’s city-centre site – where visitors have been safely returning since August – and the museum is collaborating with a wealth of contributors to deliver
the exciting programme.


The first key partner to be unveiled is The Royal Photographic Society (RPS), whose mission of “promoting the art and science of photography” has formed the basis of its work since 1853.

In support of the festival, The RPS has, for the first time, introduced a ‘climate change’ subcategory to its prestigious Science Photographer of the Year competition. The inclusive competition encourages photographers of all ages and abilities from across the world to capture images that show science in action, depict its impact on our everyday lives and illustrate how photography helps to record scientific events.

The additional category of climate change will also welcome submissions that tell the global story of climate change, showcase how science, technology and engineering are addressing this urgent issue and reveal its effects on our natural world.


The shortlisted photographs will be used to create an exhibition for Manchester Science Festival and bring together science, climate and art in a stunning showcase of images. After its first showing at the museum – which will continue beyond the festival’s closing date – it will tour the UK and internationally.

The competition is now open for entries until 4th December 2020.

Anyone aged 17 and under can enter the Young Science Photographer of the Year category, and those aged 18 and over into Science Photographer of the Year.

Sally MacDonald – Director of the Science and Industry Museum – said: “Our museum is home to ideas that change the world and continues to reflect and inspire innovators of the future through our exhibitions, activities and events.

“Manchester Science Festival is a major part of this, supporting citizens, scientists and activists to come together to explore and advance ideas for a better world.


“As we all continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic, Manchester Science Festival may look and feel a little different this year, but we are working closely with partners across the city and the UK to create a compelling public programme that will deliver memorable experiences to visitors, whatever their interests.”

Sir Richard Leese – Leader of Manchester City Council – added: “We are proud of our long tradition of scientific innovation in this city and Manchester Science Festival is one of the boldest, most creative and thought provoking festivals in the country.

“What better way to explore the theme of climate than bring together artists, scientists, citizens, businesses and visitors to the city to play, talk and make the future together.”

You can find more information ahead of the festival via the Manchester Science Festival here.