Past news

Archived news items from the website are listed below.

If you have a query about any old newsletters from the society, please contact the office and they can consult the Society's archives.

2017

Arts Section Theatre Group

20th December, 2017

The Arts Section are proposing a new theatre-going group for Lit & Phil members who would like to attend performances together with a pre-performance talk and discussion accompanied by refreshments at the Lit & Phil meeting space. At this stage, there are plans for a pilot event so we are asking members to let us know by email or phone whether they would be interested in attending the pilot event before we procure group tickets.

The first event will take place around a performance of The Cherry Orchard at the Royal Exchange Theatre on 26 April 2018, with the pre-performance meet-up starting at 12.45 p.m. and the performance at 2.30 p.m.

The response has been great so far and we will be assessing the attendance numbers for the first Theatre Group outing in early January so we can reserve the right amount of tickets and will contact interested parties shortly thereafter to confirm payment information.

Even if you cannot attend the first performance but would like to attend other group outings, please do register your interest with the office.

For more information about the idea behind the group and how it will work, please see a letter from the Chair of the Arts Section, Patricia McWilliam-Fowler, that members should have received via email. If you are interested in attending the first event, please let the office know as soon as possible.

Office Closure over Christmas

12th December, 2017

 

The Lit & Phil office will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period, starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday 21 December 2017 and reopening at 9 a.m. on Thursday 4 January 2018.

Members can still book for lectures on the website over the festive period, but please be aware that any email or phone queries will only be answered upon reopening.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all members of the Lit & Phil an enjoyable Christmas and a peaceful New Year. We look forward to seeing you when lectures start again at the end of January 2018.

 

We would like to invite members new and old to our Christmas drop-ins at the society’s offices on Deansgate. These will be a chance for members to socialise with each other, meet members of Council and the Lit & Phil staff, as well as see our newly refurbished meeting space. There will be wine, soft drinks and mince pies plus savoury nibbles available.

There will be two drop-in opportunities during the daytime so that it is possible to combine our festive meet-up with any shopping or visits to the Christmas markets at a time when the commute into Manchester may be easier than for our evening events. The two dates and times are:
 

Monday 11 December between 14.00 and 16.00
Thursday 14 December between 11.00 and 13.00

 

 

If you have not yet paid a visit to our offices, the address is:

5th Floor, Church House
90 Deansgate
Manchester
M3 2GP
 

The entrance to the building is located between the Bella Italia restaurant, on the corner of St Mary's Street, and a Toni & Guy hairdressers. There is an elevator to the 5th Floor and the buzzer for the Lit & Phil is situated to the right as you exit the lift.

We hope you will be able to join us for a drink, a mince pie and a chat. Please let the office know which day you intend to come so that we can prepare accordingly, just click here to send an email.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Lit & Phil Member Survey

15th November, 2017

The Lit & Phil Council would like hear from members regarding the annual programme and event arrangements. We want to be sure that we are offering a broad and flexible range of meetings, so that we can encourage members to attend as many events as possible and also attract new members. We have already had over 40 replies to the survey so far, so we would like to thank those who have already completed it. If you haven't then you may be interested in the sorts of ideas other members have been putting forward such as:

  • Different venues
  • Earlier (and later) timings

  • Longer (and shorter) lectures

  • More time for questions

  • Food – buffet; two-course meal, as currently; pre-lecture food

  • More extramural visits

  • Easier booking and checking-in

The list could go on! And we would like it to with your help. The society currently has over 400 members and we would really like to hear from as many as possible on how you would like our Society to develop so please do complete the survey if you have not done so already.

You can now fill in the questions online at this link [please note that you must logged in to the website as the page is only available to members of the society], or download and fill in the Word document sent to you via email, or complete a paper copy with your tea and coffee before forthcoming lectures. The deadline for the second round is Monday 11 December 2017.

We want you take this opportunity to influence any changes we will make after the survey results are analysed. We will, of course, be producing a report to all members on what the survey reveals and the actions we will take as a result.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

The new 2017/18 season is fast approaching, but before we reveal the new Programme we are taking a look back on the past year's events to see what gave us food for thought in 2016 and 2017.

2016/17 Social Philosophy Lectures

The first lecture arranged by the Social Philosophy committee was given in September by Professor Will Kaufman who has the chair in American Literature and Culture at the University of Central Lancashire and is recognised as the world's leading authority on Woody Guthrie. He spoke with great clarity under the title The Dirty Thirties: Woody Guthrie, the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression illustrating one of the most turbulent times in American history by singing the songs of Woody Guthrie while accompanying himself on guitar. 

 

In November Richard Morris, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at the University of Huddersfield and biographer of both Guy Gibson and Leonard Cheshire, addressed members on Manchester, Air Power and the Great War. He provided a most interesting account of the distinctive part Manchester played in the development of the Royal Air Force, compared the city with other early centres of aeronautical engineering and discussed the key factors that shaped the city's contribution to the emergence of air power.

February brought Mrs Angela Shackleton Bebb, great-niece of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who spoke about Shackleton, Endurance and the Remarkable Voyage of the James Caird. She told her audience of her ancestor's family life, the individual characters of some members of the expedition and of the remarkable seamanship which enabled Shackleton to navigate the ship's boat, the James Caird, across hundreds of miles of ocean to save his men. Mrs Bebb brought with her a number of original artefacts, pictures and notebooks, and told her story with wit and charm.  

A change of direction in April brought Michael Powell, the Librarian of Chetham's Library, who talked under the title In the Labyrinth: John Dee in Manchester. This was very well received with just the right balance of concentration on John Dee's years in Manchester while not omitting more general information on his earlier life in the court of Queen Elizabeth.

Early May saw Professor Julian Thomas and Halls of the Dead: Discoveries from an Archaeological Dig which is on-going at Dorstone Hill in Herefordshire. Professor Thomas spoke eloquently and in detail about this University of Manchester dig. He explained its place within Neolithic Europe as well as the significance of 'halls of the living' being transformed into 'halls of the dead'. 

Late May saw a last-minute change of lecturer when Dr Elizabeth Yardley was unable to make her planned visit but we were delighted to welcome instead her colleague Emma Kelly who talked about A Tale of Two Districts': Criminological Ethnography Then and Now.  Looking at the history of criminology as an academic enterprise the talk showed how criminological research is undertaken moving from Chicago to England and then Dublin. She described her own doctoral work in an immersed sociological study where she worked with youth gangs in the Republic of Ireland.

 

The new 2017/18 season is fast approaching, but before we reveal the new Programme we are taking a look back on the past year's events to see what gave us food for thought in 2016 and 2017.

2016/17 Science & Technology Lectures

The lecture series started early (8th September) to take advantage of the agronomist Jonathan Gressel’s presence in the UK for an editorial board meeting. Professor Gressel, of the Weizmann Institute in Israel, spoke to Hammering Two New Nails in Malthus’ Coffin with Genetic Engineering. He explained how modern crops were the result of millennia of selective breeding, and now lacked the genes that could be manipulated for desirable qualities: consequently, major strain improvement could come only from the transfer of genes from other organisms (“horizontal transfer”). He gave a number of examples where strains were improved for nutrition and pest resistance. He pointed out that the molecular changes involved in conventional plant breeding (e.g. with irradiation of seeds) were bigger than the targeted changes to produce transgenics, and that horizontal transfer took place in Nature anyway.

Professor Stephen Scott (18th October), the discoverer (as a PhD student) of periodic reactions in the gas phase comparable to the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction in solution, spoke about 35 Years of Chaos – Have we learned anything important? He concentrated on his own gas-phase work and reminded us how powerful paper-and-pencil methods had become just before high-powered desktop computing became generally available.

Professor Joanna Haigh, CBE FRS (Imperial College), talked on Climate Change on 1st December. She gave a masterly treatment of the basic physics involved in the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide and other gases, and an objective account of anthropogenic changes. There was a clear comparison of the measured emission spectrum of the earth with the theoretical curve for a black body at 21oC. The measured spectrum had a large “bite” around 670 cm-1 corresponding to the bending vibration of CO2, and smaller bites corresponding to methane. Emission did not fall to zero at 670 cm-1, refuting climate sceptic arguments that the earth’s atmosphere is already black at this wavelength, and will not respond to additional CO2. Despite the intrinsic difficulty of the subject, Professor Haigh held her audience until the end of her lecture, after which there was a protracted, interested and cordial question session.

Dr. Eamonn Kerins (Jodrell Bank) displayed some of the most beautiful slides of the year. In his talk on 13th February about An Astrophysicists Guide to Curtain Twitching – the hunt for exoplanets and our interstellar neighbours he described the four methods used, all of which depended on very precise measurements of a star’s luminosity. The most powerful method (gravitational lensing, involving the simultaneous observation of 108 pairs of stars, required major advances in IT before it became practical.  The work could only be carried out at the Southern Observatory in the Andes, where there was no light pollution and the air was very dry. It turns out that many exoplanets can be detected, some orbiting two stars rather than one:  there are even planets not attached to a particular star. The idea that the Earth is a uniquely fitted for the evolution of Life is wrong.  Enrico Fermi’s question about extra-terrestrial conscious life – “Where are they?” now requires an answer, since Fermi estimated that it would take only a few million years for an advanced civilisation to traverse the Milky Way.  After the talk, Dr Kerins had to be rescued from a crowd of enthusiastic members and guests who seemed able to ask unlimited numbers of friendly questions.

Mr. Robert Harris, the acoustic designer of Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, talked on 30th March on The Art and Science of Concert Hall and Opera House Design. Surprisingly, the dominant phenomenon in the experience of sound in a concert setting is reflection, rather than diffraction (middle C has a wavelength of ~1.3 m).  Consequently it is possible to build a model of a concert hall with reflective surfaces and use light to see how sound gets to the listener; the listener’s orientation is also, of course, important.  It is also now possible for the dimensions and surface reflectivity of a hall to be fed into modelling program: sound modified by this program, when played back in an acoustically-dead, cork-lined room reproduced the sound heard in the modelled hall. The acoustics of the Leipzig Gewandthaus, destroyed in WWII, were confirmed to be nearly perfect for orchestral music in this way. The various uses to which a hall was put imposed conflicting requirements: to get clarity and intelligibility of speech you needed a dead acoustic, but to get the “immersion in sound” effect from an orchestra reverberance is needed. These conflicting requirements were summarised in the aphorism “an art is a science with more than seven variables”, and removable acoustic panels were one solution to complex demands. The speaker then went on to describe how the “shoebox” shape was best for opera,  the “vineyard” shape for orchestral music, but the vogue for seating audiences behind the orchestra gave them a poor acoustic experience. 

Professor Harry Brumer (University of British Columbia) was the speaker on 27th April, with a profusely illustrated talk on Getting by with a Little Help from my Friends: the key role of symbiotic human gut microbes in health. The human genome contains relatively few genes encoding carbohydrate-degrading enzymes: those that we do possess are largely concerned with degrading starch. Many of the complex structural polysaccharides in fruits and vegetables do in fact contribute to nutrition, thanks to symbiotic microbes in the lower gut. These microbes are anaerobes, and are consequently difficult to culture, which is why they have only recently been recognised.  The general importance of a healthy microbial ecosystem in the gut has long been recognised, but exaggerated claims, even for increased serotonin (hence the title), have not until now been supported by mechanisms. The chemical structures of plant polysaccharides can be very diverse and complex, and it is thought that gut bacteria are very highly specialised. The speaker described his work, as part of a consortium, on a single locus in Bacteroides ovatus. The locus, XyGUL, was essential for hydrolysing a particular xyloglucan found in Solanaceae (tomatoes, peppers, etc), and coded for eight glycohydrolases, including a membrane-bound enzyme facing extracellularly, which made the initial cut in the macromolecule, and a couple of transport/binding proteins. The individual sugars are disproportionated to short-chain fatty acids by the microbes, and then absorbed by the host. Xyloglucan can contribute 10% of calories.

DNA and the Settlement of Europe was the title of the talk given by Professor Martin Richards (University of Huddersfield) on May 16. Archaeogenetics is the application of molecular genetics to the study of the human past, and has had three phases. The first used classical markers such as blood groups, and gave the first indications of a poor correlation between language and genetic origin, when the Icelanders were shown to have blood group frequencies typical of the NW British Isles, rather than Norway. The second used modern DNA techniques with non-recombining markers in living populations, the Y chromosome in the male line and mitochondrial DNA in the female. The mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of the cell, and whereas an egg will contain hundreds, a spermatozoon contains only a handful: any that do get incorporated into the fertilised egg are recognised and destroyed. For the last decade the automation of DNA sequencing, which had made it possible to re sequence human genomes in a few days, and the development of techniques for extracting ancient DNA, have made it possible to sequence archaeological specimens. mtDNA sequences had shown that all non-African humans derived  from a single African lineage L3, 70,000 years ago (the “mitochondrial Eve” from who all humans derived was 200,000 years ago). L3 first moved out of Africa to the Gulf coast and Mesopotamia, where it remained for 15,000 years before sending descendants into South Asia, Near East and Europe, and back into Egypt. The L3 line interbred with Neanderthals before the split between South/East and West Eurasians. Genome-wide analysis suggests there were indigenous Europeans before the Neolithic migrations, and that the Saami (Lapps) and Basques are significantly derived from them.  When Y chromosomes are examined, a group appears north of the Black Sea which migrates north and west, and then south and east, and has been correlated with male-dominated Indo-Europeans.

 

 

The new 2017/18 season is fast approaching, but before we reveal the new Programme we are taking a look back on the past year's events to see what gave us food for thought in 2016 and 2017.

2016/17 Arts Lectures

For the first lecture, Architecture is Political, in October, Professor Albena Yaneva explored the intriguing links between architecture and politics. Professor Yaneva explained that her research crossed many boundaries including science studies and political philosophy. Her talk showed how politics has an influence on so many parts of our lives – from mundane objects such as the safety belt in our cars to the arrangement of a classroom; the height of a bridge or iconic skyscrapers, and she illustrated her talk with case studies including the new Birmingham New Street Train Station and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

Early Maps of ‘Real’ Lancashire, and Their Makers was the fascinating lecture in November given by Dr Ian Saunders, who has collected and researched antique maps since 1984, and recently helped to discover an unknown 1604 map in a Manchester Library. He traced the story of English county mapmaking and of the people involved, over many centuries, starting with Christopher Saxton in the 1570s; then looking at 18th century improvements as modern methods of mapmaking were being established and taking the audience through a myriad cartographic changes to what he called a perfection “of sorts” in the Victorian era, when the Ordnance Survey began to map the area in the 1840s.

When Edouard Manet’s painting Olympia was first exhibited in 1865 at the Paris Salon, he found himself once again at the centre of controversy.  His choice of a prostitute for his subject outraged public and critics alike.  But in his lecture 1865: European Painting in Transition to Modernism, in November, art historian Dr Colin Bailey highlighted the significance of Olympia as a pivotal work in the history of art, and how Manet was a key player in the decade that gave the world Impressionism, for he exerted great influence in Paris on other young painters such as Monet, Renoir, Cezanne and Pissarro.   These developments in France had an influence on British painters and the evolving Pre-Raphaelite school.  Dr Bailey’s illustrations included Ford Madox Brown’s oil painting Work, which was later to feature in his murals in Manchester Town Hall.

The Lecture with Recital given by Simon Rees and Luke Starkey in February, provided a feast of fascinating information, delightful music and beautiful paintings, and was greatly enjoyed by the audience.   Simon Rees, writer, lecturer on music and art, traced the history of the lute from the roving horsemen of the Asian Steppes who created portable instruments with materials to hand, and its further development along the Silk Road and into Europe.   The beautiful sound and shape of lutes inspired Western composers and artists through the 14th to 18th centuries.  Paintings were shown, such as Caravaggio's portrait of a lutenist, many of which enabled modern lute-makers to re-create authentic period instruments. Professional lutenist Luke Starkey explained the complex history of stringing and the unique written form of compositions, understandable even today only by lute players.   He then played examples of compositions from each period of the paintings.

The Recording Britain lecture in March by Gill Saunders , from the Victoria and Albert Museum, was an account of the country in the early years of the Second World War as portrayed by artists of the time. Partly a morale-booster, this unique documentary project aimed to capture Britain at a time when lives, landscapes and precious buildings were under threat as change stalked the land.   Many of the works sought to freeze the country in time – with nostalgic images where some artists chose to exclude the modern world’s equipment such as electricity pylons and telegraph poles and wires, preferring instead to show a more traditional picture of bucolic country charm – though some presented a somewhat gloomy picture of Manchester, and other towns such as Rochdale and Oldham.

 

The last Arts event of the 2016/17 Season in May was a departure from the usual lecture pattern – a “Question Time” style discussion panel to debate: Powerhouse or Poorhouse: What is the future for the Arts in Manchester?  

The event was chaired by Felicity Goodey CBE and the Panel comprised  Wyllie Longmore, Nick Merriman, Dave Moutrey,  David Thacker and Eleanor Underhill.  You can learn more about them from their profiles below. 

This lively debate was held at the newly opened Stoller Hall, at Chetham’s School of Music, with special guest Sir Norman Stoller, who funded the Hall, amongst members of the audience. The event was preceded by an excellent short performance by students from Chetham’s, and afterwards a buffet supper enabled members of the audience to mingle with the guest members of the panel, to continue the discussion.

The idea for the discussion was triggered by the Northern Powerhouse proposal as well as an article by a distinguished Art critic who wondered if Manchester really needed any more culture, and indeed the panel not only gave impassioned arguments in favour of supporting more arts ventures in Manchester and the wider region–including other cities such as Liverpool and Newcastle–but also suggestions as to how this should take shape. The stimulating debate looked at issues such as Arts funding being very London-centric – and how Manchester and the other northern regions might stem this flow;  how to redress the consequences of Arts education in schools being run down; and how to reach out to engage some in the community who often feel that the Arts is a charmed circle that excludes them.

There were certainly points of disagreement and challenge within the panel but they were united in their belief to continue the work to keep the Arts accessible to all regardless of personal circumstances; to encourage further engagement in the community; and to support arts at the grassroots level as well as the better-funded or higher culture organisations. We hope that all those that attended the debate took these important points away with them to consider their future endeavours, whether as visitors, performers or organisers.

Photos from the event can be viewed here: Event Photos.


Panel Profiles



Chair – Felicity Goodey CBE

Felicity Goodey shaped and led the project which has relocated a major part of the BBC from London to Salford and the North of England.  She headed the team which won a fiercely contested bid for the BBC and on the back of it created ‘mediacity’, the biggest purpose built digital media centre in the UK. She led the team which designed, built and ran The Lowry, an international theatre and arts complex which has helped attract £1.5 billion private investment to Greater Manchester and contributes more than £ 29 million to the local economy annually. She set up and chaired the UKs largest urban regeneration company, Central Salford, which secured a further  £2.5 billion of private sector investment in 5 years. She was a founder director of the Northwest Development Agency, chairing the Tourism team which helped turn the region into a £ 14.5 billion tourism destination; founded and chaired the successful Cultural Consortium for the Northwest and was awarded a CBE for services to regeneration and the arts.

Her career began with the BBC. Experience as a senior correspondent specialising in industry and politics, together with a business career in media and education services, provided the foundations for developing and leading major public/private projects.  She currently chairs the Buxton Festival described by the Metropolitan Opera of New York as ‘One of Europe’s great little unmissable European Opera Festivals’; and by the Observer as ‘' A happy marriage of music , opera and books’!



Wyllie Longmore

Wyllie Longmore was born in Jamaica and has been resident in England since 1961.  He trained at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama as an actor and a teacher and both these disciplines have informed his working life.

As an actor he has worked in Theatre in Education, in rep across the country and at the Royal National Theatre. He also has considerable experience in radio and television and as a director.

As a teacher he has worked in school, with youth and community groups, in drama schools and in the Department of Drama at Manchester University. He was the first Head of Acting at The Arden School of Theatre, a post he held from 1991 - 2002.

He has been an External Examiner at Salford and Thames Valley Universities; an advisor for the Arts Council and a member of ACE Regional Council Northwest from 2008 - 2012. He was Chair of Contact from 1997 - 2007 and has served on the boards of the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Greater Manchester Arts Centre (HOME).  He currently chairs PANDA (Performing Arts Network and Development Agency) in Manchester.



Dr Nick Merriman

Nick Merriman was appointed as Director of the Manchester Museum in March 2006. Since then he has focused its mission on promoting understanding between cultures and working towards a sustainable world and has overseen the refurbishment of most of the Museum’s permanent galleries. This, together with a major programme of public engagement, has led to a doubling of the Museum’s visitor numbers to 450,000 a year.

Prior to moving to Manchester, Nick Merriman was Director of Museums & Collections, and Reader in Museum Studies, at University College London, for 8 years. During this time, he developed new courses in museum and heritage studies, and created a new university-wide museum service. From 2004-6 he was a part time Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme, undertaking a bespoke scheme of training and development in cultural leadership.

Nick began his career at the Museum of London in 1986, as Curator of Prehistory and subsequently Head of the Department of Early London History and Collections. While there, he led a pioneering project called ‘The Peopling of London’ which told the story of the capital’s cultural diversity from ancient times to the present. He studied archaeology at Cambridge University, and his PhD, on widening participation in museums, was published as ‘Beyond The Glass Case’. He has published widely on museum studies topics, was Chair of the International Council of Museums (UK) from 2001-2004, President of the Council for British Archaeology from 2005-2008, Chair of the University Museums Group from 2009-2013, Convenor of the Museums Association’s Ethics Committee 2008-2014 and is currently Chair of the Collections Trust.



Dave Moutrey

Dave Moutrey is Chief Executive and Director of HOME,

formed from the merger of Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company in 2012 and he led the project to create the new purpose built venue that opened a year ago in May 2015.

HOME includes 5 cinema screens, education spaces, digital production and broadcast facilities, a 500 seat theatre, 150 seat flexible theatre, 500m2 gallery space, café bar, restaurant, offices and other ancillary spaces consistent with a production centre. It is a ‘making place’, providing new opportunities for artists and audiences to create work in a different way together, as well as a social and cultural hub.

Throughout his career, Dave has been involved in the leadership, management and marketing of arts organisations. He played a leading role in establishing the Cinema Arts Network, a national network of cross artform venues; spent eight years as Chief Executive of Arts About Manchester (now the Audience Agency); worked for two years as Marketing Director for City of Drama; and managed Abraham Moss Theatre for six years. Dave is also a qualified drama teacher and was until recently a practicing artist and theatre producer, with experience of over 30 community productions with Greater Manchester-based groups.

Dave is a Fellow for the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the Chartered Management Institute and a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.



David Thacker

David Thacker was Artistic Director of the Octagon Theatre Bolton from 2009 until 2015 when he stepped down to take up the post of Professor of Theatre at the University of Bolton, taking on the new role of Associate Artistic Director at the Octagon. 

David has been an extraordinarily prolific director during his time at the Octagon directing thirty one productions as Artistic Director and three since as Associate Artistic Director.

During this time the Octagon has enhanced its regional and national reputation for the quality of its work. At this year's Manchester Theatre Awards his productions (including 'An Enemy of the People' and 'A View from the Bridge') received six awards including, all the major acting awards (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Ensemble) and Best Production (An Enemy of the People). This is the first time that any director has achieved this in the history of the Manchester Theatre Awards and their predecessor, The Manchester Evening News Awards. David Thacker also received a personal achievement award for his outstanding achievements as Artistic Director.

David's first major role in British theatre was as Artistic Director of the Duke's Playhouse, Lancaster - at the time the youngest Artistic Director in the country. His success there led him to be appointed as Director of the Young Vic. During that time he was well known for his accessible and contemporary productions of Shakespeare and developed his well-documented close relationship with Arthur Miller, directing eleven of his plays in fifteen productions at the Young Vic, the National Theatre, the Octagon Theatre Bolton, in the USA, Israel and for the BBC.

From the Young Vic he moved to the RSC as Director-in-Residence where he directed nine productions including 'Pericles' for which he was awarded two Olivier Awards.

He then moved into television drama directing over 30 television films for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and WGBH Boston in the USA, including his critically acclaimed film of 'The Mayor of Casterbridge' and 'Faith' set in the 1985/5 Miners' Strike.



Eleanor Underhill

Eleanor Underhill works for the National Trust as the General Manager of Quarry Bank near Wilmslow, the site of one of the first cotton mills in the country, now run as a heritage site and visitor attraction. She’s worked for the National Trust for seven years.  Before this Eleanor worked in the local newspaper business, initially in advertising and operational roles, and latterly as the Managing Director of the Cheshire Guardian Series; but the demise of the local newspaper industry led her to seek a career change. Eleanor initially studied History at York University and is now relishing her involvement in a site of such historic importance, at an exciting time in its development, with a major £10m Heritage Lottery Funded project currently being delivered on site. 

2017-18 Season Preview

20th June, 2017

The 2016-17 Season finished on 19 June with the Manchester Lecture on Manchester Airport and the Lit & Phil Section Committees are working hard at putting the finishing touches to next year's programme. Here is a preview of what you can expect from the 2017-18 Season:

Session 1

The new Season will commence, as usual, with the AGM and lecture by a Lit & Phil member. Come September, it will be member Janet Wolff's turn to give a lecture on 'Art is Social:  ‘the visible meaning of a good picture’ after the Lit & Phil's Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 27 September.

Other Session 1 lectures will include:

Date

Speaker

Topic*

Wednesday 27 September

Janet Wolff 

Art is Social: 'the visible meaning of a good picture’

Wednesday 4 October

Dr David Bellingham 

Legal and Ethical Title. The Selling Off of Art from Historical English Country House Collections

Tuesday 10 October

Ian Keable 

Charles Dickens – Conjurer

Monday 16 October 

Robert Young

Engineering with Graphene

Wednesday 1 November 

Ian Whelan

Development of new insect control technologies to overcome resistance to existing methods

Tuesday 7 November 

Mike Higginbottom  

Victorian Cemeteries

Tuesday 14 November 

Professor Manjit Dosanjh  

From Physics to Medical Applications

Tuesday 21 November

Professor John Fielding 

Aviation and the Environment

Tuesday 28 November  

Professor Michael Wood   

Why the Anglo-Saxons Matter: King Alfred and the Making of England

Monday 4 December 

Alan Segrott

Mersey Gateway

Wednesday 13 December 

Dr Michael Cannon

Antibiotics: the calm before the storm

Session 2

Date

Speaker

Topic*

Thursday 25 January 2018

Professor Julian Pine

Children's Language: how can it be influenced by parents?

Thursday 30 January 2018

Anthony Burton

Lit and Phil Museums: the role of learned societies in the creation of museums in Britain

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Michael Bailey

Railway Engineering - Yesterday and Today

Monday 12 February 2018

Professor Kevin Ryan

Cell Death

Thursday 1 March 2018

Derek McCulloch & Café Mozart

In the Beginning Was the Word – Singing the poet's song in a foreign land

Monday 5 March 2018

Professor Kenneth Letherman

James Clerk Maxwell

Thursday 15 March 2018

Georgina Ferry

Science from a Female Perspective

Session 3

Date

Speaker

Topic*

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Professor Stephen Graham

Vertical Cities: from basement to rooftop

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Dr Robert Poole

Earthrise

Thursday 3 May

Professor Steve O'Rahilly

Genetic Obesity: why do we get fat and how does it make us ill?

 

* Please note that lecture titles are subject to change and update before the final programme information is released in the summer. Always check the Lit & Phil website for the latest details of lectures.

From June 2017 the Lit & Phil office hours will be reduced. The office will now be open on the following days:

Monday–Thursday, 9 am–5 pm

Please note that any phone calls made to the office on Friday will only be picked up on the following Monday, or if there is a Bank Holiday, the following Tuesday. If you are planning a trip to the office or the library and archives, please give plenty of notice to the office staff by phone or email.

 

Although the Lit & Phil 2016/17 Season is approaching the end, we will still be informing members of our recommendations for events and exhibitions to visit across the city this summer before our lectures recommence in September. Here the Lit & Phil staff, Julie and Kathryn, write about their recommendation for the Shirley Baker photography exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery.


For the past few years, museums and cultural institutions across Manchester have collaborated to create a mélange of arts and culture at unique events across the city for one evening only, called ‘Manchester After Hours’. The events feature different venues and organisations working together to mix their respective art forms, from music to painting, photography to poetry, and fashion to history. Examples include last year’s ride on the steam train at MOSI which was accompanied by local Manchester music artists performing at different stops on the ‘journey’ while the conductor regaled the passengers with anecdotes from Manchester’s industrial past. This year included collaborations between literature organisers Bad Language and the Elizabeth Gaskell House to present an event of story-telling and performance; MOSI teamed up with the audio-visual artists from Islington Mill’s Engine House collective to creative installations projected onto the Avro Shackleton aircraft in the museum’s Air and Space Hall; and John Ryland’s library hosted two female audio artists whose work echoes and pays tribute to the pioneer of electronic music–Delia Derbyshire.

'Shirley Baker: Women and Children; and Loitering Men'

 

This year the Lit & Phil staff, Julie and Kathryn, attended a ‘first look’ event at the Manchester Art Gallery which was showcasing the work of photographer Shirley Baker (1932–2014). Baker was born in Wilmslow and despite not being well known her most prominent work is her post-war street photography depicting working class communities in Greater Manchester. This exhibition includes previously unseen colour photographs by Baker alongside black and white images and specifically focuses on her depictions of the urban clearance programmes of inner city Manchester and Salford in the 20 years between 1961 and 1981.

The opening night of the exhibition as part of Manchester After Hours was very popular with arts enthusiasts, locals and tourists alike. Aside from the usual considered discussions by small groups of visitors on the technique, style and composition of the pieces, there were equally many visitors joyfully reminiscing from the scenes depicted in the photos – war-torn buildings, outside lavatories, children’s dirt-smudged faces, questionable fashion choices and popular playthings. There was a sense that this exhibition was not just about viewing artwork but also partaking in the collective experience of many visitor’s own childhoods and memories.

The exhibition is also accompanied by additional events such as a free showing of the film ‘Love on the Dole’ set in 1940s Salford and based on the novel by Walter Greenwood. The film is showing on Thursday 15 June, 6.30 pm–8.30 pm; tickets are free but booking is essential.

‘Shirley Baker: Women and Children; and Loitering Men’ is free to visit and is on show at Manchester Art Gallery until Monday 28 August. Whether you lived through the era or not, Baker’s photography will certainly bring to life around you the people and places of post-war Manchester and Salford at this exhibition.

Photograph copyright

All photographs are © Shirley Baker

 

Local sculptor, printmaker and environmental artist, Cecile Elstein, returns to the Didsbury Arts Festival on1 and 2 July with a talk and Q & A based around the festival's 'Roots' theme. The talk is titled 'Roots, Refugees and Re(d)integration' and as well as an open discussion after the talk, the event will also provide the opportunity to view Cecile's artwork.

Cecile has been a member of the Lit & Phil since 1994 and has contributed to the Society both as a member of the Arts committee and as a speaker, giving an address to the Society on 18 January 2005 titled 'A Mindscape in a Landscape' – change as a moment of abundant potential.

Cecile Elstein – Benefice, 1980

 

'Roots, Refugees and Re(d)integration', 2 July 2017

3 pm – Wine and juice

             4 pm – Artist’s Introduction to open discussion 

6 pm – Close

 

This will be a very popular event so early booking is advised. There is also a very limited number of places so booking is essential. For more information please click here for the event on 1 July and here for the event on 2 July. Tickets can be reserved by clicking here.

You can view more of Cecile's artwork at www.cecileelstein.com.

 

Top image information

Sculpture by Cecile Elstein, Dream, 1975

 

HOME are offering members of the Manchester Lit & Phil a discount on tickets to see the award-winning play Rose. For more information about the piece and how to claim the discount, please see the information below.

 

Rose

The Story of a Century 25 May-10 June

One of the leading actors of her generation, Academy Award nominee Janet Suzman makes a rare return to the stage in this one-actor tour de force.
 
HOME presents the first UK revival of Martin Sherman’s award-winning Rose, which premiered in 1999 at the National Theatre.
 
From her home in Miami, Florida, eighty-year-old Rose takes us on a journey through her long and tumultuous life, a life that charts the fate of Europe's Jews through the Twentieth Century and into the Millennium. A journey which begins in the shtetls of Eastern Europe and continues through Nazi-occupied Warsaw, British Mandate Palestine, America, Israel and the Occupied Territories. It is an epic story of persecution, displacement and survival told with passion, pathos and a wild humour. As the current refugee crisis engulfs Europe, and America’s history as a home for the persecuted comes under serious threat, this revival of Rose is topical and timely. 
 
Rose is directed by Richard Beecham, whose production of Arthur Miller’s epic Playing for Time at the Sheffield Crucible garnered rave reviews.
 
For performance times, venue details and bookings visit homemcr.org/rose or call the box office on 0161 200 1500.

Cast

Janet Suzman

Creative

Director Richard Beecham
Designer Simon Kenny 
Lighting Designer Chris Davey 
Sound Designer Adrienne Quartly
Voice Coach Patsy Rodenburg 
Dramaturg Petra Tauscher 
Assistant Director Samuel Ward 

Tickets

£26.50 - £10 
Concessions, groups and schools offers available. 
Subject to availability.

Lit & Phil Members click here to view discount information (you must be logged into your Member account to view)


 

Click the poster above to view the full information

 

 

In January of this year, the passing away of JOHN SPENCER BUCKLEY was reported to the Society. This obituary has been written by Sir Netar Mallick (Immediate Past President) with the contribution of John’s daughters, Helen and Charlotte.

John was born in Southport on 28th July 1943 to Margaret and Jack. His father was a public health inspector and his mother worked in healthcare. John spent his early years in Kendal, Cumbria, before moving to Heywood. He attended Heywood Grammar School and then studied architecture in Wigan.

John set up his own architectural firm, located in the city centre of Manchester and worked on a range of commercial and retail developments across the North West. John lived a life of service – to Manchester and to business. He was area chairman and a National Councillor of the Round Table, an active member of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce supporting Manchester’s bids for the Olympic Games and the successful hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2002, and later a Governor at Salford City College. 

Outside of the professional sphere, John was a lifelong Bury Football Club fan watching the “Shakers” both home and away for over 60 years. He was also a lover of cricket and was a member of Lancashire County Cricket Club for many years. He was also a long standing member of the St James’s Club in Manchester.

John was a dedicated supporter of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society. This Society, founded in 1781 and one of the oldest in the country, is part of the warp and weft of the life of Manchester, attracting both academic and professional members from a wide catchment.  As such it was always going to attract John’s interest. He studied its history, regularly attended its meetings and eventually became a member of its Council and then its Secretary. He was not afraid of challenging anyone who he thought was not seeing the wood for the trees and insisted on developing a business-like approach which his successor is continuing.

John was a man full of intellectual curiosity, always learning. He travelled the world – Hong Kong, America, India and Europe – to further his understanding of history, culture and architecture and was planning to visit Israel and Palestine. He willingly gave of himself to those causes he cared for, supporting many voluntary causes over the course of his life. Most of all he was a good friend to many, dependable, caring and good humoured.

He married Susan Janet Maslin in 1977, and Sue was by his side throughout his career as his company secretary until she sadly died of Motor Neurone Disease in 2007.

John leaves two daughters Charlotte and Helen.
 


Following John's passing, a donation page was set up by his daughter Charlotte to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association in memory of both John and his wife Susan. The webpage is still open for donations should anyone still wish to give money. Click here to view the Just Giving page.

New Blue Plaque Unveiling

29th March, 2017

The 250th Anniversary of John Dalton's birth was celebrated last year and to mark the occasion, the Royal Society of Chemistry created a new blue plaque commemorating the scientist, which was presented to the CEO of Joseph Holt breweries for its installation on one of their public houses. The presentation of the plaque was held on the same day as the Lit and Phil's Dalton Lecture, which was given in October 2016 by Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov.

The new RSC blue plaque celebrating our longest-serving President was unveiled on Monday 27 March 2017 at the Ape and Apple public house on John Dalton street. The President of the Lit and Phil, Dr Diana Leitch, was present at the unveiling along with Richard Kershaw (CEO of Joseph Holt) Professor David Garner FRS (Past President of the Royal Society of Chemistry), Dr Frank Mair (Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Manchester section), Dr Marloes Peeters (Manchester Metropolitan University), Dr James Sumner (University of Manchester), and Gerald Hayes (Member of the Lit and Phil and RSC Historical Group).


Photos from the Blue Plaque Unveiling (taken by Dr David Leitch)

Richard Kershaw CEO of Joseph Holt's Brewery (founded 1849)  - great great grandson of Joseph Holt, President Dr Diana Leitch. Professor David Garner FRS, Past President of Royal Society of Chemistry

Dalton Entry next to Ape and Apple Pub

L-R: Gerald Hayes (Lit & Phil member and RSC Historical Group), Prof. David Garner, Dr Diana Leitch, Dr Frank Mair  (Chair of RSC Manchester Section), Dr Marloes Peeters (MMU), Dr James Sumner (University of Manchester) , Richard Kershaw (CEO Joseph Holt's Brewery)

President of Lit and Phil presents copy of John Dalton papers to Prof David Garner FRS Past President of the Royal Society of Chemistry who unveiled the plaque

 

Manchester Musical Youth

11th January, 2017

Many Lit & Phil members asked for details of Manchester Musical Youth's upcoming productions following their impressive performance at the Lit & Phil's Christmas event in December. We would like to thank the group and their excellent mentors for providing such top quality entertainment, a lovely evening was had by all.

As a way to support the young musical group, we are providing details of their next production (below). It is understood that the Saturday performance is already sold out so advance booking is highly recommended. Anyone considering booking should do so by contacting Z Arts via phone or online.

Manchester Musical Youth presents: Legally Blonde – The Musical

22 - 25 February 2017

7.30pm

Z-arts, Manchester, M15 5ZA

Tickets: £15 Adult, £10 Concession

Call: 0161 226 1912 or Visit: www.z-arts.org

Music and Lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Book by Heather Hach.
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture

 

When the new arts centre HOME opened in 2015, The Daily Telegraph’s Arts critic Rupert Christiansen suggested that Manchester’s culture was dominated by football, and wondered if  there were things that the city needed more urgently than arts venues – such as clearing litter black spots, planting trees and improving sports facilities in parks.

Do you agree – or does such a view raise your blood pressure?

We want to know your views – so come along to a lively debate on Wednesday 3rd May 2017 at the newly built Stoller Hall at Chetham's School of Music, and put your questions to a distinguished panel chaired by Arts supremo Felicity Goodey CBE (top centre), former senior BBC journalist and presenter, who has spearheaded major arts and regeneration projects in the North West.

Our panel members are:  Actor and Director Wyllie Longmore (top right);  Nick Merriman (bottom centre), Director of Manchester Museum;  Dave Moutrey (bottom left), Director and Chief Executive of HOME;  David Thacker (top left), Professor of Theatre at Bolton University and Associate Artistic Director of Bolton Octagon and Eleanor Underhill (bottom right), General Manager of Quarry Bank Mill.

Afterwards, guests will have the chance to carry on the discussion over drinks and a light buffet.  It promises to be a stimulating event.

Booking is now open on the Stoller Hall website, which you can find by clicking here. Please note that this event is organised by the Lit & Phil but the booking for the event is managed by the Stoller Hall. All booking queries should be directed to the Stoller Hall team.

The Stoller Hall

 

2016

 

The Percival Lecture is a special event in the Lit & Phil’s annual calendar where the lecture is hosted by one of the three universities of Manchester and Salford on a rotary basis (University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Salford). This year the University of Salford will be our hosts for the evening where Professor Robin Bargar will address the Society about the future of the digital and creative industries in the UK and the global influence of MediaCityUK at Salford Quays.

 

The Future of Digital+Creative and Global Role of MediaCityUK

The emerging digital economy is forged from a convergence of technological and creative practices, including computation, informatics, design, and media making in the broadest sense. This convergence yields demand for skills and business perspectives that synthesise and leverage digital and creative workflows and outputs. The global consequences have been disruptive economically, culturally and politically. The impact has been bidirectional: creativity influencing technology as much as the reverse, launching new areas of opportunity and industry relationship for media making and media impact. The entire media process has been changed and continues to change: from conception through production through distribution through audience response and interaction. Networks and digital data are inherent to the process and are increasingly oriented to media as a major business development direction, as well as a contributing factor in non-media enterprise. All of these carry implications for the role of MediaCItyUK and its constituents, contributing to the economic and creative future of Greater Manchester and the North. 

Professor Robin Bargar – Profile

Robin Bargar has a creative and research background in computer music and sound synthesis, interactive media and virtual reality, including software development and systems integration for cross-media applications. In 2015 Robin joined University of Salford as founding Executive Director of the Studio for International Media and Technology at MediaCityUK, with a joint appointment as Professor in the School of Arts and Media and the School of Computing Sciences and Engineering. He leads the University’s Digital and Creative Industry Collaboration Zone, which develops industry collaborations with interdisciplinary teams across the university.

From 2011 to 2015 Robin was Dean of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College Chicago and Professor of Interactive Arts and Media. From 2004 to 2010 Robin was Dean of the School of Technology and Design and Professor of Entertainment Technology at the City University of New York.

Trained as a composer and filmmaker, Robin received a Doctor of Musical Arts from the School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with related studies in computer graphics and computer science. He served on the School of Music faculty and as a researcher at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. From 1992-2000 he led the Audio Development Group in software development and prototyping media performance in the CAVE virtual environment. In the Beckman Institute Robin also served as Director of the Integrated Systems Laboratory, an interdisciplinary environment for simulation, prototyping and data visualization. Robin later served as Director and CEO of Hexagram, the Institute for Research and Creation in Media Arts and Technologies, in Montréal. Robin’s creative work has been presented on MTV, in commercial cinema release, and at international forums including Ars Electronica, ISEA, Imagina Festival, ACM SIGGraph and the Bourges International Electro-Acoustic Music Competition. He received an Oscar nomination for Best Short Film (Animated) and was awarded two US Patents for interactive sound and media technologies.

Please note that this event is for Members Only.

 

 

We have discovered that Oxford Road is going to be completely closed in both directions between Hathersage Road and Booth Street and Brunswick Street is also going to be totally and permanently closed at both ends from 22nd October. The latter is the road that both Chemistry and Physics Department have as their frontage at the Upper Brook Street end. It is also closed to pedestrians.

We hope that the following information is helpful to get you to the relevant departments for the Dalton events:

Car Parking – the only major car park on that part of the campus is the Aquatics Centre Car Park which is reached off Booth Street East.

Car Parking (disabled) – there are a few car parking spaces in front of Chemistry which have to be pre-booked and are accessible off Dover Street.  If you want one of these contact either outreach@manchester.ac.uk (0161 275 4686) or louise.filheely@manchester.ac.uk (quote Diana Leitch/Dalton) and ask if one can be reserved for you.

Travel by bus – all buses are being diverted off Oxford Road as it is totally closed to all forms of traffic but this is advantageous as long as you accept you will need to leave earlier than usual as there will be a lot of traffic.

You may choose to leave your car somewhere where you can then get on a bus.

All 40s and 140s (42, 142, 43, 143, etc) are being diverted off Oxford Road at Hathersage Road along Upper Brook Street and there is a bus stop just next to the Chemistry Dept at the top of Brunswick Street. If you get off here then walk back a few yards to Dover Street and walk down a few yards to a barrier where pedestrians are being diverted to Brunswick Street. Signs are up to divert people.

Similarly, the 50 bus which starts at Parrs Wood Bus Station next to the Parrs Wood Metro Station and East Didsbury Railway Station passes along Upper Brook Street on its way to the centre of town, going  down John Dalton Street and on to Salford.

Obviously if you want to go in the opposite direction on the above buses you will get on at the bus stop on the opposite side of Upper Brook Street.

The 147 bus which starts at Fairfield Street by Piccadilly Station and runs to the hospitals on Oxford Road is also being diverted and will go along Upper Brook Street. If you are coming from Piccadilly get off at the bus stop by the Tai Pan Restaurant/Chinese Emporium, cross the road at the traffic lights and follow the pedestrian diversion signs down Dover Street.

Travel by taxi or car drop off  - this has to be done by turning from Upper Brook Street into Dover Street and walking the pedestrian route.

 

Please allow plenty of time and we do have to have a prompt start at 4pm with the reception drinks followed by the plaque presentations. The buffet for those who have booked is from 5pm onwards. 

 

Car Park Changes at RNCM

26th September, 2016

Due to current building and road works around the Royal Northern College of Music, there have been some changes to car parking arrangements which Members should be aware of when attending lectures.

Usually Members park in the multi-storey off Higher Cambridge Street which is owned by the University of Manchester (car park D). This is still available to use, but the routes into and out of the car park have changed due to the construction of the new Crowne Plaza Hotel and Business School, which are due for completion in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Entrance to the car park is now via a newly laid road from Higher Cambridge street (opp. Trinity High School), instead of the road off Booth Street West (opp. RNCM) which is now closed for building site access. This also means that walking to RNCM from this car park follows the diversion via Higher Cambridge Street rather than via Higher Chatham Street.

There is a map on the Manchester Business School website which shows the current route to and from the car park (green arrows). You can view this here: http://www.mbs.ac.uk/news/school-news/access-to-alliance-mbs-west/

For alternative car parks, you can use the secure underground car park, located next to RNCM in the basement of the Sir Charles Groves Hall of Residence, off Rosamond Street West (£3.50 per car, payable on entry to the car park). There is also an NCP car park by the Aquatics Centre off Booth Street East.

RNCM does have car parking spaces at the rear of the venue which are reserved for Blue Badge holders. If you require the use of one, please let the office know and they will book you a space.

Please allow an extra 10 minutes for your arrival to lectures at RNCM to account for any delay caused by the change in the parking situation.

 

 

Photo credit: rncm.ac.uk