Who we are
The Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society has a history dating back to 1781. We offer a focal point for modern, bright ideas; drawing inspiration from a variety of subject areas including the Arts; Science and Technology; and Social Philosophy.
The cornerstone of the Manchester Lit and Phil is our membership base. Though events are open to the public, membership is recommended as it provides a range of benefits. For instance, members enjoy priority booking and invitations to special members-only events, as well as having access to the online members’ forum, a space where members can connect online to share stories and experiences, and to recommend opportunities for learning from other organisations. Additionally, there are a variety of ways in which members can get involved in the running of the Society: this includes giving their voice to how the Society operates, including putting forward proposals for events and speakers. If you’d like more information about volunteering opportunities as a member of the Society please contact the office.
The history of the society is intertwined with the history of Manchester itself, and we are proud that many of our city’s historical trailblazers were members of the Society. Current members rub shoulders with stalwart historical figures including John Dalton, William Gaskell, Dorothy Hodgkin, Margaret Pilkington and Alan Turing, to name a few.
What we offer
Across the calendar year, the Manchester Lit and Phil delivers an eclectic range of lectures and seminars: from Social Philosophy, through the Arts, and Science & Technology; probing current ethical debates and scientific breakthroughs. To deliver the programme, the Society invites a wide-range of specialists and polymaths: from Oxford Professors to current YouTube sensations.
Anyone over the age of 16 can become a member and young people are very welcome to attend all of our events. The Manchester Lit and Phil also presents a programme specifically aimed at 16-18 year olds. This provides younger audiences with access to world-leading expert thinkers and educators; in turn helping to increase their interest in and awareness of the world. We don't yet know what the careers of the future will be, but by helping young people develop their awareness and reasoning, we aim to prepare them to make a contribution to a world we don't yet know.
Who we are for
Everyone, to put it simply.
If you want to attend one of our lectures—which are currently hosted online due to COVID-19 restrictions—registration is free.
There are no prerequisites to joining our Society: if you’re the sort of person who enjoys engaging, educational content, then the Manchester Lit and Phil is for you!
If you’d like to become a member—and we recommend that you do—the application process is simple. The goal of the Manchester Lit and Phil is to create a community of Lifelong Learners, open to anyone and everyone who has an interest in increasing their knowledge. As a member, you can get involved in the Society as little or as much as you’d like to.
Similarly, you don’t have to be from Manchester, either. Although the bulk of our members are located in Greater Manchester, our pull extends beyond the M60 motorway.
If you’d like to joint our community of Lifelong Learners, you can find out more here.