Rooftop social

Posted on: June 7th, 2023 by mlpEditor

Get ready for another year of exploring new ideas and join us for a relaxed social evening.

There will be a chance to find out more about what’s coming up in the Autumn, and what we have planned for the coming year.

Our committee members will be available for a chat if you want to find out more about what they do – and maybe get involved.

Most importantly, it will be a chance to meet other members and make new friends!

Good to know: Members are welcome to bring a guest, and they will be able to join the society on the night at a discounted rate.

A surrealist’s guide to reality

Posted on: May 25th, 2023 by mlpEditor

Surrealism: the 20th century art movement where dreams and waking reality combined into a new strange ‘super-reality’.

The most cerebral of the surrealists – the man who painted philosophy – was René Magritte, a magician who conjured up a weird and wonderful world of images.

Look at his paintings, seemingly so elegant and simple at first, and you are soon sucked into a vortex of deep symbols and wry jokes about the human condition.  His pipe painting, which paradoxically states that it is not a pipe, is one of the most famous images of all time.  But if it is not a pipe, what is it?

The focus paper A surrealist’s guide to reality is your travel guide to the representational ‘hall of mirrors’ you have just entered by asking that question. Can we decode the beautiful strangeness of Magritte’s work?  We can try…but prepare to be discombobulated!  Some of the paper is an easy read and some a bit harder.  But don’t worry if all is not clear; this is tricky stuff … just the way René liked it!


Good to know: We take pride in putting the fun back into serious philosophy through our friendly and respectful discussions involving different levels of experience of philosophy.  The Lit & Phil Philosophy Forum is all about collectively exploring interesting and exciting ideas from different viewpoints … not winning arguments!

The focus paper, by Christopher Burke, is for reading before the event, to enrich and guide our discussions.

We are usually oversubscribed, so if you book but find out later that you cannot attend, please cancel your ticket to free up a place for someone else. Thank you.

Visit to International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Posted on: May 22nd, 2023 by mlpEditor

Anthony Burgess (1917-1993) was quite the polymath! He was a novelist, poet, playwright, linguist, translator and critic. And a talented and prolific composer who wrote over 250 musical works during a compositional career that spanned more than 60 years.

Join us for a tour of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester to find out more about his exceptional life and works.

The Foundation’s staff will introduce Burgess’ work and members will have the opportunity to see a selection of objects from the archive – which includes books, music and papers.

The visit will last approximately 2 hours. Tea/coffee will be provided.

Good to know: Places are very limited so book soon to avoid disappointment.

Guided tour of RHS Garden Bridgewater

Posted on: May 15th, 2023 by mlpEditor

Nature has sprung back into life and Manchester is blooming! We’re celebrating by offering members and their guests a private tour of RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford.

RHS Bridgewater officially opened in May 2021, after 6 years of planning. The site was originally developed in 1840 when Worsley New Hall was created, along with magnificent formal gardens, and is 154 acres in size.

Once visited by Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, the Hall survived a fire and two World Wars before it was demolished in the 1940s, with the gardens succumbing to Nature. Today the RHS master plan for Bridgewater is to embrace the site’s heritage while also giving it a future.

The tour – which will inspire gardeners and non-gardeners alike – lasts 1 hour, after which you can visit one of their three cafes, which serve a huge variety of tasty food (cost not included).

The ticket price of £13.50 includes admission to the site (usually £12.35) and the tour.

There is a separate ticket type for existing RHS members (who do not need to pay admission).

Booking is open to Lit and Phil members and their guests and this event should make for a wonderful afternoon in the great outdoors.

Good to know: You will need to make your own way there. Visit their website for more information on visiting the site.

No Pay? No Way! – at the Royal Exchange Theatre

Posted on: May 10th, 2023 by mlpEditor

Come along to the Manchester Lit & Phil’s Theatre Group visit to the UK Premier of Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s play ‘No Pay? No Way!’ at the Royal Exchange Theatre.

The play was a smash hit at Sydney Opera House in February 2020. The Royal Exchange production is described as “a ferocious and feisty political comedy” and “an urgent exploration of our global and economic reality.”

‘No Pay? No Way!’ has received numerous rave reviews, including:

“Funny? There has to be a stronger word? Funny? If I wasn’t sitting down, I’d have fallen over. I mean, at one point I was crying.” Sydney Morning Herald

★★★★★ “A complete joy to watch… Liberation takes many forms in this stellar offering which contorts riotously for two hours to hit the frontal lobe along with the funny bone.” ArtsHub

Members and friends are invited to book their seats directly with the theatre for the matinee performance (2.30pm) on the 20th May. Visit the theatre’s website to book your ticket(s).

As part of this event there will also be an informal post-theatre meal. If members and friends would like to reserve a place for the meal, please contact the organiser, including a note if you have particular access requirements (as this may influence the choice of venue).

Good to know: Members and guests who register for the event will receive briefing notes before the visit. There will also be an on-line discussion on May 22nd at 6.30pm, led by Professor Tony Jackson. See details below.

What is science?

Posted on: April 26th, 2023 by mlpEditor

Everyone knows what science is … or, at least, they think they do.  Try to define it and things get a bit less clear.

The word comes from the Latin ‘scientia’, which just means ‘knowledge’. So, is science knowledge about how nature really is? How can that be true when scientific theories themselves change over time, when the reality they address surely doesn’t?  Is science just a way of thinking about the world to build a body of theories – hypotheses based on observations?  Or is it a process, a way of acquiring facts?  And what makes a scientific fact true?

Considering the importance of science in our lives, we should arguably have a clearer picture about what it is.  So, the Lit & Phil Philosophy Forum is seeking clarification from three major philosophers of science of the 20th century: Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn and Imre Lakatos.

The seminar will be presented by Richard Remelie


Good to know: We take pride in putting the fun back into serious philosophy through our friendly and respectful discussions involving different levels of experience of philosophy.  The Lit & Phil Philosophy Forum is all about collectively exploring interesting and exciting ideas from different viewpoints … not winning arguments!

Richard Remelie’s focus paper What is Science?  should be read before the Forum to enrich and guide our discussions.

We are usually oversubscribed, so if you book but find out later that you cannot attend, please cancel your ticket to free up a place for someone else. Thank you.


A curious person’s guide to Digital Art

Posted on: April 19th, 2023 by mlpEditor

‘Digital art’ practice includes a wide variety of mediums. From computer, generative, robotic, kinetic and net art, through to post-internet, virtual reality, and augmented reality art.

For those who are unfamiliar with the terms and technologies, it can be a confusing world to enter. But this art sphere – which conceptually has its roots in the avant-garde art movements of the first half of the 20th century – is a fascinating space to explore.

Dr Claire Reddleman’s talk will address digital art as a relatively new era of art’s development, while also looking at its roots in more traditional kinds of art making.

She will consider the current abundance of digital art to explore in three ways. Firstly, looking briefly at digital ways of preserving and displaying non-digital art works.

Claire will then consider art and artists who continue some traditional artistic concerns (such as depicting landscape, contemplating the self-portrait) but using digital methods.

And finally, she will look at some examples of artists who work in completely digital ways and whose work is only encountered online.

No prior knowledge about art practice or digital technology will be needed – just bring your sense of curiosity!


* We have changed venues. This event is now taking place at Friends’ Meeting House*

Tour of ‘Golden Mummies of Egypt’ at Manchester Museum *second date added*

Posted on: April 17th, 2023 by mlpMemberAdmin

Second date added due to popular demand –

We have arranged another special tour of the Golden Mummies of Egypt exhibition at Manchester Museum by expert Curator Dr Campbell Price.

After a hugely successful tour across the USA and China, this stunning exhibition offers unparalleled access to the museum’s world-class Egypt and Sudan collections.

Featuring more than 100 objects and eight mummies, Golden Mummies of Egypt presents a rich perspective on beliefs about the afterlife during an era when Egypt was part of the Greek and Roman worlds.

The exhibition is held in the museum’s brand-new Exhibition Hall, which has been created as part of a £15 million transformation.

We will meet inside the building, by the main entrance of the gallery on Oxford Road. Welcome refreshments will be served by the pop-up café, next to the museum’s Exhibition Hall, from 2.30pm. The tour will start promptly at 3.00pm.

Good to know: Places are very limited. If you manage to book a place, please arrive in good time to enjoy the full experience.

Revolutionising cancer screening

Posted on: April 12th, 2023 by mlpMemberAdmin

Are we a step closer to finding a cure for cancer?

Whilst we can often successfully treat those that are diagnosed at an early stage, depending on the type of cancer, even the most effective treatments are often not effective when cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage. For these reasons, great efforts are made to diagnose cancers as early as possible.

There is only so much that can be done to make the public and clinicians aware of the signs and symptoms. To make real progress, we need better tests and to use them in screening programs targeting seemingly healthy people.

Up until now, screening tests have been designed to look for one specific type of cancer at a time. And a significant problem is posed by the unreliability of these tests. For every early detection of cancer, several others receive a false-positive. If we were to have 20 different screening programs (one for each type of cancer), most people would receive a false-positive result once every few years. These false-positive tests cause anxiety, can lead to invasive further testing and are expensive to the NHS.

But there is hope on the horizon. Recent technological advances allow for the detection of tiny fragments of genetic material present in the blood. This, for the first time, offers the possibility of having a single blood test for many different types of cancer. One such test can detect 50 different types of cancer, with varying success, and it only very rarely gives a false positive result. If this test can find cancer early enough, it could revolutionize the way we approach cancer control.

Join us as we host Professor Peter Sasieni to learn more about this ground-breaking development in cancer research.

Feminist activism in Greater Manchester: past, present and future

Posted on: April 4th, 2023 by mlpMemberAdmin

How has the Mancunian feminist movement evolved since its inception? Greater Manchester boasts a rich history of engagement in the battle for Women’s rights. What does its future look like?

Professor Helen Pankhurst and Joanna Williams will trace the history of this movement from the 1860’s to today.

Early campaigners achieved much: girls’ and women’s education, the property rights of married women, opportunities for work and voting rights. But there is still a lot to be done to realise true equality for women. Many of the issues addressed in the early years by Lydia Becker in her speeches and writings persist to this day.

Helen and Joanna will consider the legacy and impact of the movement in the domains of the personal and the political. They will highlight the organisations and individuals that advance the work of the early suffragettes in the present day. How is the GM4Women2028, convened by Helen Pankhurst – for example – using data, dialogue and activism to carry the torch for feminism?

Join us as we explore and celebrate the strong lineage of Manchester’s brave women. Those whose tenacity and perseverance paved the way for an increasingly equal society.