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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:




Monday 2 October

Dr David Bellingham 

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

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




Thursday 25 January 2018

Professor Julian Price

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

Wednesday 28 February 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




Wednesday 11 April 2018

Professor Stephen Graham

Vertical Cities: from basement to rooftop

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Dr Robert Poole


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


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.



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 or call the box office on 0161 200 1500.


Janet Suzman


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 


£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


Z-arts, Manchester, M15 5ZA

Tickets: £15 Adult, £10 Concession

Call: 0161 226 1912 or Visit:

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




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.