The best lectures, talks & meetups in Manchester: Make life more interesting

Andrew Anderson
Black chairs lined up

From incredible free talks and encounters with moon rock through to literature and philosophy debates – the best regular events in Manchester.

There’s an old piece of wisdom that says “a problem shared is a problem halved”. That might be true, but here at Creative Tourist we have our own coinage: “double the company, double the fun”. With that soon-to-be ubiquitous phrase in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite clubs, groups and societies, for meeting like-minded people and discovering more about art, astronomy, and much more.

Manchester Astronomical Society

Not to be confused with astrology (when I mistakenly told friends I was off to an astrology meeting thought I was joining a cult), the Manchester Astronomical Society holds monthly lectures open to the public in the John Dalton Building at Manchester Metropolitan University. The quality of the speakers is simply astounding, with specialists on the cutting edge of interstellar research coming along to share their work. When I was there I got to handle an actual piece of moon rock – and if you join the society you get to use their amazing telescope at the Godlee Observatory in the city centre, which is a marvel in itself. John Dalton Building, MMU, 7.30pm. Free

Lunchtime Art Bites

The art gallery actually has quite a few groups associated with it, but the most interesting is Lunchtime Art Bites. Show up at 12:30pm every Wednesday to meet with other people interested in art. Two paintings are discussed at each session, and the chat is always lively – especially after a couple of cups of coffee. Manchester Art Gallery, 12.30pm every Wednesday. Free

betternotstop

Hannah Cox, the club’s founder, was inspired to start betternotstop after she moved to Manchester a few years back. “I realised I didn’t have people to meet up and do interesting things with,” she says. “It’s easy to feel disconnected and isolated in modern life, and this is a way of getting round that and making real connections.” As well as meeting for regular guest talks and film nights, they also organise day trips and other activities. You’ll soon find that Hannah’s enthusiasm for life is infectious.

Superbia

Superbia is an on-going series of community and culture events organised by Manchester Pride. Includes the intellectual stimulation of lectures and theatre productions, as well as let-your-hair-down fun, like music nights and cake baking competitions. Superbia is the perfect way to introduce yourself to Manchester’s thriving LGBT community.

Manchester Centre for Regional History

With the free talks organised by the regional history department at MMU, you never know quite what you’re going to get – or what unusual facts will be unearthed. The talks are a great place to go for tea, biscuits and a chat with both history buffs and those with a casual interest.

Modernist Society

As well as putting out a must-read mag, the Manchester Modernist Society organise regular events and activities. If you’ve got even a passing interest in design, city planning or architecture, this is the group for you. A recent screening of films about Hulme (where I live) was one of the most informative evenings I’ve had in a long time. Also look out for the magazine launch nights, which usually involve a few glasses of wine and a lot of impassioned chatter.

SCI Seminar Series

It seems like we all want to live a greener life, but we’re never quite sure where to start. Well, the SCI Seminar Series will tell you. Organised by the Sustainable Consumption Institute at Manchester University, this monthly lecture series gets down to the finicky details of going green as well as addressing wider environmental issues.

Gaskell Society

For fans of Elizabeth Gaskell’s work, as well as those interested in her life and proto-feminist leanings, these talks in both Manchester and Knutsford are a must. Regular guest lecturers unpack the meaning and significance of her writing, and the Manchester meetings are held in the striking surrounds of the Cross Street Chapel, where Gaskell’s husband William was minister.

People’s History Museum

Of all Manchester’s many magnificent museums the PHM seems to be the best at events for young families. Whether designing your own banknote, fashioning a sculpture from recycled material or engaging in a story-telling session, there’s something going on at least once a month and often every week. Sessions are somewhat irregular though, so you have to keep an eye on the events section of their website.

Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society

For those who like to put their brain through some serious paces, there’s the Manchester Literature & Philosophical Society. Running since 1781, this group meet up to discuss – you guessed it – literature and philosophy. However, some more light-hearted offerings, like an upcoming lecture on the history of lesser-known small ball games, are also in the schedule.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Escape to the cinema this month. We round up the best new releases, special one-off screenings and retrospectives showing near you.

Christina Quarles at The Hepworth Wakefield

Exhibitions

Like the 58th Venice Biennale which opened earlier this May, our latest pick of exhibitions across the north also has a strong ecological bent.

Digital Dimensions at Eureka! Children playing in digital dimensions with light pillars

Families

All the most creative experiences for your family; inside, outside and in to space! The best family things to do in Manchester and the North.

Guy Garvey

Literature

August is quiet, but the books are back in September with one-off reading events, some much-anticipated launches and the return of the Northern Lights Writers’ Conference as we gear up for Manchester Literature Festival in October.

Music

Get ready for some massive shows in Manchester and the north this summer!

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

We’re gearing up for the new theatre season – our guide this month features all the best performances happening now and over the next few weeks.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

Discover the best food and drink that the North has to offer in our expert guide to food and drink in Manchester and beyond.

comedy character

Tours and Activities

Challenge yourself to try something different this summer with our guide of Manchester based Tours and Activities. You’re bound to find something new to do in the city.

Things to do right now

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Cinema 18–21 August 2019, from £5.50

MIF19: Blue Velvet at HOME

Power UP Late at the Science and Industry Museum
Activity 24 July–21 August 2019, from £12.00

Power UP Late at the Science and Industry Museum

The Den at Stalybridge Civic Hall
Families 13–24 August 2019, All tickets are pay what you decide, available from Stalybridge Civic Hall.

The Den at Stalybridge Civic Hall

Henry V at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre
Theatre 26 July–25 August 2019, from £26.50

Henry V at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre

Music 20 May–26 August 2019, from £5

NQ Jazz at the Whiskey Jar

Cinema 20–27 August 2019, from £9

Transit at HOME