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Events at The Manchester Museum

30 Jun 2010

Food for the city Big Saturday (3 July) and construction of msa Reflective Room

Big Saturday: Food for the city
Saturday 3 July / 11am-4pm

Where does our food come from? How will the effects of climate change impact the food we grow and eat? Can Manchester grow enough food to feed itself? Find out about the different types of food which you can grow in your own back yard and take part in hands-on activities. Part of the International Year of Biodiversity celebrations.

11am-4pm: Plant displays, art and craft and hands-on activities

Find out about the different types of food which you can grow in your own back yard as well as hydroponic plants grown in water; learn about food from the past; design your own vegetables, match food to the plant, pick up recipes and mix the spices.

Drop-in, free, all ages

11am-12.30pm, 1-2.30pm, 3-4.30pm: Minibus trip to the University Botanical Gardens

Join us on an outing to the University Botanical Gardens which are rarely open to the public. See plants from all over the world, and have a go at potting your own tomatoes.

Book, free, all ages, 15 places only

11.30-11.50am, 1.30-1.50pm, 2-2.50pm, 2.30-2.50pm: Secret Seed storytelling

Listen to the storytelling adventures of Carla Carrot and other vege-beings who live in Seed City. All seed agents welcome.

Drop-in, free, ages 4+

12pm: Family Friendly film screening

Watch Arnie the doughnut and How dinosaurs eat their food in these short animated films about food for all the family.

Book on the day, free, under 7s and their families/carers

2-3pm: Small is beautiful

Leander, who used to be a curator at the Museum, will argue that the future security of food in the world does not lie with biotechnology and its associated industrial scale agriculture but rather with a network of small, near self sufficient eco-villages using permaculture thinking, such as the recently established Lammas eco-village in South Wales where Leander is now resident.

Drop-in, free, adults and older children


Reflective Room
6 July-October 2010

Free entry
Courtyard outside Museum entrance
Designs displayed in Animal Life 1 gallery

An exciting new temporary structure called Reflective Room is being constructed in The Manchester Museum's courtyard, due to be completed by 6 July 2010. It was chosen as the winning design in a competition between 5th year Architecture students from the Prototype and Re_Map studio units at the Manchester School of Architecture (msa).

The Courtyard Project invited the students to design an environment within the Courtyard space outside The Manchester Museum's entrance to align with the summer programme and exhibitions and to form part of the preparations for the major redevelopment of the Museum's Animal Life 1 (mammals) gallery, closing in September 2010 and reopening in 2011. A shortlist of five proposals were selected and developed further, a summary of which you can see on display at the Museum.

Inspired by the changes that unfold in the Courtyard over the course of the day, the Reflective Room team designed a new environment in which people can reflect and re-engage with their surroundings. Using everyday materials, including plywood and black glazed ceramic tiles, its design is both subtle and delicate and creates an experiential space. The aim is to utilise the ordinary to create the sublime.

Fabricating a room within the Courtyard space will enable people to sit and relax whilst reviving their awareness of the environment.

Enclosing this space will enable the courtyard to be revealed in a less direct way, reducing it to a more accessible human size. Edges, materials, weather and the surrounding environment will become more apparent through subtle reflections.

The Reflective Room was fabricated in the Art and Design Workshops at MMU and assembled by all students involved in the project. It will stand in the Courtyard from July-October 2010. 

The Prototype studio unit takes material as a primary resource from which to develop the possibilities of tectonic assembly and the exploration of architectural space. Experimental workshop processes are utilised to investigate ways in which 'analogue' hands-on making can inform the use of 'digital' contemporary technologies. The unit aim is to develop a material practice that connects thinking and making. The reductive deployment of resources, materials and fabrication methodologies are regarded as opportunities in relation to a sustainable culture. The unit is led by Ming Chung and Nick Tyson of Chung Tyson Architects and The Design Team from the Prototype unit is led by Matthew Mills and includes Adam Atrakzi, Mark Bonshek, Spencer Fretwell, David Kent and Anna Parker.

Reflective Room has been generously supported by:

  • msa: The Manchester School of Architecture was formed in 1996, as an innovative collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Manchester.
  • MIRIAD: MIRIAD is the Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design based at Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Pilkington's Tiles plc: Pilkington's was established in 1891 and is the UK's largest manufacturer of ceramic tiles. The tiles, which have been donated for the project, are manufactured at the factory and UK Head Office, in Manchester.
  • Atelier One: Atelier One is an Engineering consultancy committed to creating innovative solutions which are appropriate for and contribute to building design through the close collaboration with the design team.

Find out more and see the structure being built by visiting:

For furher inforamtion about events at The Mnachester Mjusuuem: