For two days in July 2016, the University of Manchester opened its doors to the public, allowing them to see Behind the Scenes of Manchester Science. The full event was initiated by the Faculty of Science and Engineering as part of ESOF’s Science in the City festival, with one day hosted solely by the Faculty. The event featured a range of tours and activities, including 15 labs open on the day, research beacon lectures, heritage tours and a hub featuring a science timeline, information stalls and hands-on activities. The team behind the event, led by Laura Ashcroft Clarke, Kadie Ratchford and Daniele Atkinson, were able to provide people with the opportunity to explore real science, gain hands-on experience and delve into the heritage of the University.
This was the first time the Faculty, and indeed the University, had opened its doors on such a scale to the public to allow visitors to see behind the scenes of Manchester science. The team were able to demonstrate the University’s research, impact and even give participants the chance to contribute to projects. By opening the labs, it also offered research groups and staff the opportunity to interact with the public in a way they would not normally get the chance to do.
The event was a huge success, with almost 600 people attending on the day the hosted solely by the Faculty. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with 88% of those surveyed after the event saying it was good or excellent. Following the success of the Behind the Scenes event, the Faculty is planning on delivering a similar event for the university-wide Community Festival in 2017.