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Rapa Nui, English Corner, Collection Bites & Secrets of Nature

May 23, 2015

Rapa Nui is our theme for the May half term holidays. In June we’ve a busy couple of weeks for events for adults – English Corner, Collections Bites on an Egyptian theme, an evening of science with Secrets of Nature, an exhibition tour of Rapa Nui all combined with our regular Wednesday tours.

Mon 25 May-Fri 29 May, 11am-4pm.

Visit the Museum’s Making Monuments on Rapa Nui exhibition, and find out more about the monumental stone statues (or ‘moai’) of Rapa Nui (named Easter Island by European explorers). Discover the role they played in the lives of the islanders, how they were quarried and transported across the island, and what they mean.

Create statues of your own inspired by objects in the exhibition, including Moai Hava, a statue collected from Rapa Nui in 1868, on loan from the British Museum.

Drop in, free, families



Tues 2 Jun, 1-2.30pm

English Corner

Free English conversation classes using the Museum’s collection as inspiration for discussion.

Drop in, free



Wed 3 Jun, 1-2pm

Collection Bites: Egypt under the Roman empire

Dr Roberta Mazza, lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at The University of Manchester, will unravel everyday life in Egypt under the Roman empire, from the defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra to the Arab invasion.

Pharaonic Egyptian past is well known and popular among people across the world for the fascination of mummies, tomb treasures and the millennial history of the Egyptian civilization. However, Roberta will also discuss Egypt’s history after the Pharaohs; a story of cultural layering as the region became annexed successively to the Greeks, the Romans and the Arabs; presenting papyrus documents and archaeological objects from the Museum’s collections.

Book online at or phone 0161 275 2648, free, adults.

Thursday 11 June, 6-8pm



Secrets of Nature

Curiosity drives scientists and a desire to understand complexity in the natural world. Join us for an evening of science conversation with scientists from The University of Manchester, Richard Bardgett, Reinmar Hager, Jon Pitman and Giles Johnson. Each scientist will be on hand to share their passion for their research, with lightening talks and hands-on demonstrations of their work in understanding complex natural systems, both aboveground and belowground.

“A Journey into the Underworld” will illustrate research around soil ecosystems and carbon cycling, using exhibits of soil profiles and their vast biological diversity. “Mother Knows Best” will illustrate work around the genetics of social behaviour in animals using live invertebrates and choice chambers along with animated videos. “A Clean Sweep” will examine the adaptations of plants to natural radiation and their use in bioremediation. Here visitors will be able to investigate bioremediation of natural radiation using Geiger counters in simulated scenarios. The “The Light Fantastic” will explore how plants respond to their environment, including changing climate, by extracting chlorophylls, measuring chlorophyll absorption spectra and photo. This event is supported by the Natural Environment Research Council as part of their Summer of Science.

Book online at or phone 0161 275 2648, free, adults.

Tues 16 Jun, 1-2pm.

Join curator Bryan Sitch for an exhibition tour of Making Monuments on Rapa Nui. Part of Adult Learners Week.

Book online at or phone 0161 275 2648, free, adults.

Building the great monuments of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) – Saturday 23 May – 2-3pm

May 18, 2015

Sat 23 May, 2-3pm. Based on fieldwork on the island by Professor Colin Richards, an archaeologist at The University of Manchester, this talk will explore the social significance of the range of volcanic materials that are used in the construction of the ceremonial platforms (ahu), including the statues (moai) and topknots (pukao). The recent excavations and discoveries of the Rapa Nui: Landscapes of construction Project will also be presented as will an alternative interpretation of the prehistoric Rapa Nui social world.

Price: Book online at or phone 0161 275 2648, free, adults

Brighter Sound: Manchester After Dark

May 8, 2015

Brighter Sound: After Hours at Manchester Museum

Brighter Sound: After Hours at Manchester Museum
Thursday 14th May, 6-9pm, FREE

We are delighted to announce that Brighter Sound and Manchester Museum will be part of Creative Tourist’s After Hours programme of events in wider conjunction with Museums at Night taking place on Thursday 14th May. After Hours is a one night, city-wide programme of free events taking place across venues in Manchester. This year’s mix of new partnerships and musical mayhem takes in the places and spaces you don’t often get to after dark, when museums, galleries and libraries join together for a one-night, city-wide social.

Working in partnership with A Fine Line, we have taken up this year’s theme of ‘odd couplings’ to bring together composer and vocal sculptor Jason Singh and virtuoso guitarist Giuliano Modarelli, in the neo-Gothic surroundings of Manchester Museum. This collaborative project explores the potential of artists’ interdisciplinary collaborations with Traditional Indian arts practice.


‘Rice Farming’ by Ramesh Hengade

Jason and Giuliano spent an inspiring and exhilarating three weeks in the company of India’s Warli painters, Ramesh Hengade and Jivya Soma Mashe who are themselves exploring and experimenting beyond the boarders of tradition. The After Hours performance will encapsulate their sonic account of this journey and a musical animation of the museum’s collections set against a backdrop of Warli canvasses and images.

“I have been inspired both musically and visually by this commission. So much of what Giuliano and I experienced on our visit to the Warli village is reflected in the paintings that you will see around you at the performance. Using voice, acoustic guitar and a range of sampling technologies it is hoped that we have captured a small glimpse into the lives and spirituality of the Warli people.”

Jason Singh

Jason Singh is a sound artist, composer and vocalist whose music is generated through an ongoing exploration of the human voice in reaction to art, nature, technology and the world around us. His passion lies in multidisciplinary, cross art form collaborations where his musical talent can manifest in new and exciting ways.

Italian born Giuliano Modarelli’s unique and exceptionally innovative guitar style blends World Folk, Arabic, Flamenco, Latin and Eastern European sounds. His application of the Sarod technique has led to collaborations with masters of Hindustani music and his ability to subtly blend all that he has learnt enables him to create a true acoustic music for the modern world.

Come and join them for a night of innovation and eclectic excellence.

And Bad Language will also be performing in the Museum courtyard at 6pm.

Bad Language and the city: Linking together all the events taking place as part of Manchester After Hours are live literature supremos Bad Language. Walk the city to hear six stories at three special locations, choose one writer, or one venue – how you interweave these six standalone tales into the evening is up to you. Authors include Poet-in-Residence at the University of Dubuque, Iowa, Lauren K Alleyne, award-winning short story writer Carys Davies and local favourite, David Gaffney. Manchester Museum, 6pm-6.30pm; Central Library, 6.45pm-7.15pm; Museum of Science & Industry, 8pm-8.30pm (all drop in)

Manchester Museum, Thursday 14th May, 6pm – 9pm, Free


Jason Singh


Giuliano Modarelli

Ahead of the Curve – New China from China

May 7, 2015

The Confucius Institute

Monday Lunchtime Talks On China

Ahead of the Curve

New China from China

Helen Brown (Freelance Curator) and Claire Blakey (Arts Curator, The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent)

Direct from China, this ground-breaking exhibition showcases contemporary ceramics and glass from emerging and established Chinese artists at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent. China is traditionally associated with imperial porcelain or modern mass-production. Ahead of the Curve includes striking new work and demonstrate current trends and practices from the traditional porcelain city of Jingdezhen and other artistic centres across China. The twenty artists featured in this exhibition challenge traditional approaches to porcelain and glass in a variety of ways.

Helen Brown and Claire Blakey will speak about this touring exhibition, which is the result of a five year project and research visits to Jingdezhen and Shanghai. The talk will give an idea of the behind- the-scenes work necessary to put on an exhibition of this type, as well as give more information about some of the artists featured in the show.

All the Confucius Institute public talks are free to attend and there is no need to book. Please note that the day of our lunchtime talks has now CHANGED to Monday!

The Kanaris Theatre
Monday 11 May 2015
1pm – 2pm
Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, M13 9PL

Rapa Nui and English Corner

May 1, 2015

English Corner uses art and objects to help people practise English.

Join us to practise your English speaking and listening skills. It’s a free English conversation class for anyone wanting to improve their English.

No need to book, just turn up! Please meet at the gallery/museum information point. People are welcome to attend as many sessions as they can.

At Manchester Museum our next session is on 3 May at 1-2.30pm will explore our exhibition: Making Monuments on Rapa Nui. The Statues of Easter Island.

You can also join in English Corner at Manchester Art Gallery.

Wednesday 13 May 1-2.30 at Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, M2 3JL

Evening Session

Thursday 21 May 6.30-8 p.m at Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, M2 3JL

English Corner runs every month on the first Tuesday, second Wednesday and third Thursday.

Artist to “release” butterflies from artwork on election day

April 28, 2015

Contemporary artist, Romuald Hazoumè will give away the butterflies from six of his compositions to encourage political engagement

Dance of the Butterflies is a striking new artwork by one of Africa’s foremost contemporary artists, Romuald Hazoumè. It features swarms of multicoloured ‘butterflies’ which have taken over Manchester Museum’s Living Worlds Gallery, interacting with the Museum’s natural history collections. The hundreds of butterflies are made from off-cuts of vibrant African wax-print fabrics from the artist’s home country of Benin.

Dance of the Butterflies represents a very African take on politics, exploitation and the ‘butterfly effect’- how tiny changes within chaotic systems can lead to unexpectedly serious effects. The butterflies are arranged into shapes such as sharks, wolves or birds of prey – common popular images of politicians.

To remind us all of the power of voters to topple or install politicians through the power of democracy, Hazoumè has asked the Museum to give away the butterflies from six pieces in the exhibition on Election Day on 7 May. This is a fantastic and unique opportunity for visitors to own a piece of contemporary art from a leading West African artist.

We particularly want to encourage first time voters to participate, but anyone of voting age can be a butterfly activist. To participate voters simply come to the Museum on Thursday, 7 May between 11am and 4pm, pledge to vote before the end of the day and crucially commit to encouraging one other person, through the gift of a butterfly, to do “something” to engage with politics – whether that be voting, joining a campaign, debating or some other political act.

All the Museum and artist ask is that they let us know what they will do and post about their gift on social media using the hashtag #DanceoftheButterflies.

China and the West

April 13, 2015

Manchester Museum has been collaborating with the Confucius Institute since our Journey to the East exhibition.

The Confucius Institute

Confucius Institute Free Public Talks on China 2015

China and the West – From the Opium Wars to Olympics

Professor David Law, Former Director of the Confucius Institute at Edge Hill University

In modern history, the West (Europe and the USA) has been a source of inspiration for some in China and a source of threat for others. Not so simple as a split between radicals and conservatives: the Boxer uprising was virulently anti-Western but the student radicals and the early Chinese communists (1919-1927) drew strength from Western ideas. With 1949, and the rule of the CCP, the new state was firstly in a mutually antagonistic ‘non-relationship’ with the West. Now, as symbolised by the 2008 Olympics, harmony has replaced discord. We will, in historical perspective’ and in the context of the international work of the Confucius Institutes, consider Chinese / Western interaction over the last two centuries.

Wednesday 22 April

1pm – 2pm

The Pear Theatre, Coupland 1 Building, Coupland Street (off Oxford Road on the main University campus), Oxford Road, M13 9PL

(Please note the venue change! This talk will NOT take place in the usual place at Manchester Museum)

Kind regards,

The CI team

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