June 9, 2022, 10:00 am - June 11, 2022, 4:00 pm

Manchester Histories Festival 2022 – Manchester Central Library

We are delighted to be returning to Manchester Central Library – the most visited library in the UK, and home to a new permanent hub for Manchester Histories. Throughout the festival, the library will play host to a series of events featuring talks from environmental activists and academics, as well as performances from theatre groups and a talk from Manchester Histories Patron, David Adetayo Olusoga OBE.

Manchester Central Library, M2 5PD

Click on Book Now for more information for each event. Booking is highly recommended for all library events.

Thursday 9th June

10am–12.30pm | Book Now
Zero Carbon Cities: Targeting Climate Change
– This event will showcase what the Zero Carbon Cities network has learnt and progressed within their cities to achieve their zero carbon targets. Only available to online audiences.

1.30pm–2.30pm | Book Now
Telling New Climate Stories Consortium
– How can heritage resources play a larger role in climate change education while inspiring a more just and sustainable future?

Ergon Theatre
Ergon Theatre

7.30pm–9.30pm | Book Now | From £5 | Watch the Trailer
The Wicked Problem from Ergon Theatre
– An interactive theatre piece asking the audience to act as the jury as the question is asked – What would you put first, the planet or your family?

Author Talks

1pm–2pm | Book Now
– Paul Fitzgerald
An illustrated historical talk by graphic novelist ‘Polyp’ (co-author of ‘Peterloo’) about the world shaking writer and ‘forgotten founding father’ Thomas Paine… including his surprising links to Manchester.

2.30pm–3.30pm | Book Now
Driving With Strangers
– Jonathan Purkis
At a time of climate crisis, isolation and social breakdown, this history of hitchhiking explores the unique opportunities for cooperation, friendship, sustainability and openness that it represents.

4pm–5pm | Book Now
Ecocide: Kill the Corporation Before it Kills Us
– David Whyte
The existential threat of climate change is now a reality. The world has never been more vulnerable. Yet corporations are already planning a life beyond this point. Ecocide makes clear the problem won’t be solved by tinkering around the edges, instead it maps out a plan to end the corporation’s death-watch over us.

5.30–6.30pm | SOLD OUT
Northerners: A History from the Ice Age to the Present Day
– Brian Groom
This illustrated talk will outline how climate and geography has affected 180 million years of northern England’s history, starting with the ‘Jurassic Divide’, and how that would eventually become a benefit in the Industrial Revolution.

7pm–8pm | Book Now
Expansion Rebellion: Using the Law to Fight a Runway and Save the Planet
– Celeste Hicks
Can the UK expand Heathrow Airport, bringing in 700 extra planes a day, and still stay within ambitious carbon budgets? One legal case sought to answer this question. Join Celeste Hicks in conversation with Dr Jenna Ashton as she tells the dramatic story of how the case was prepared. 

Friday 10th June

10am–11am | Book Now
Sustainable Futures at the University of Manchester
– Sustainable Futures is delighted to host a seminar during the festival to showcase some of the exciting research taking place at the University.

10am–12pm | Sold Out
The Manchester Green Bees Young Peoples Assembly on Climate Change
– Youth and community workers will be taking part in a creative workshop and training event led by local co-operative: Envirolution.

12pm–1pm | Book Now
Playing Out
– This panel discussion will explore the importance of children being able to safely play and move on our streets, and why it is no longer part of everyday life.

1.30pm–2.30pm | SOLD OUT
David Adetayo Olusoga OBE
– David will explore how the commemoration of individuals from our historical past remains a matter of continued and highly contested importance. 

2pm–4pm | Book Now
Right-wing Eco-populism: Critical Perspectives and Alternatives for the Future
– Explore the challenges of eco-populism through an approach that combines the arts, the sciences and climate activism.

3pm–4pm | Book Now
Cottonopolis: Lessons for Environmental Science from Manchester
– Learn how the city of Manchester and its vast empire of cotton had an imprint across the British colonial world.

4.30pm–5.30pm | Book Now
In Conversation with Ian Miller and Dr Mike Nevell – Dr Mike Nevell and Ian Miller as they discuss the commercial and social impact of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Crossing Footprints

We worked alongside Kooj Chuhan from Crossing Footprints which delivers creative production towards action for human rights, climate change, equality, and wellbeing. This work includes two back-to-back events at Manchester Central Library:

6pm–7pm | Book Now
Climate Change is a Race and Migration Issue

This panel presentation and discussion will look at the history of migration, and how environmental refugees have always been there but have been increasing drastically over recent decades. Manchester’s history of activism on migration will be at the fore-front of this event, looking at how this activism may need to further evolve in the future. Panel members will include researcher and writer Alex Randall from the Climate & Migration Coalition; creative producer, artist and filmmaker Kooj Chuhan; musician and activist Emmanuela Yogolelo from DR Congo; visual researcher and activist Rabia Begum; and the antiracist activist Peninah Wangari-Jones who directs the Racial Justice Network.

7.30pm–8.30pm | Book Now
GHOORNI – a Disastrous Cycle by Ayna Arts

Drama performance about a young person piecing together their grandfather’s arrival in the UK from Bangladesh in the ’70s, when due to the colonial legacies of conflict and poverty he left a country with little climate impact to work in a UK industry with high climate impact. This climate impact would be damaging mostly his own home country rather than the country he ended up working for. His grandchild is climate vigilant through their lessons in school, but only through the grandfather’s story do they realise the global system that brought them here is the same as that which is destroying the climate especially for Bangladesh. Performance will be followed by a Q+A session.

Saturday 11th June

10am–4pm | No Need to Book
Manchester Digital Music Archive: Scanning Sessions
– Bring your Greater Manchester music related items to workshops where volunteers from MDMArchive will be on hand to help guide you through the process of uploading images to add to the online archive. 

10am–4pm | No Need to Book
Climate Emergency Manchester
– an interactive stall with associated information and an interactive activity based on the history and archive of the Abbey Pond activists in Hulme, who in 1994 tried to protect their green space from destruction.

10am–4pm | No Need to Book
YoCLI: Young Climate Imaginaries
– We welcome doodles, drawings, stories, lyrics, words and pictures about the future, and we invite you to our conversation about climate justice.

10am–12pm | CANCELLED
Unfortunately this event has been cancelled due to illness. We apologise for any inconvenience.
The History of Our Green Spaces in the Ten Boroughs of Greater Manchester – Learn more about green spaces and a colouring book, ‘Trees for All Seasons’, will be on sale with a portion of profits going to Manchester City of Trees.  Plus the grand reveal of your favourite park!


10am–11.30am | Book Now
Create Your Own Climate Cartoon
– An illustrated behind the scenes talk by professional cartoonist Polyp, revealing what goes into creating one of his climate cartoons, followed by a hands on workshop session helping aspiring artists create their very own climate cartoon!

10am–11am | Book Now
Disability and Climate Activism: Setting an Inclusive Agenda
– This panel will bring together disabled activists and academics to discuss their experiences of climate activism, exploring themes of inclusion, exclusion, and discrimination, and situating these experiences within the histories of environmentalism.

11.30am–12.30pm | Book Now
Taking Action to Ensure We Have a History
– Just Stop Oil’s Zoe Cohen tells us about what the physical and social science tell us about the climate reality we are in and the need for nonviolent civil disobedience.

1pm–2pm | Book Now
Local Cultural Collaboration on Climate: the story of GMAST
– GMAST brings together over 50 organisations across the city-region, including Manchester Histories. Their award-winning model has been shared with 5 European cities. 

1.30pm-2.30pm | CANCELLED
Unfortunately this event has been cancelled due to Covid-19. We apologise for any inconvenience.
Too Much of Water – A one-man storytelling performance from Professor Stephen Scott-Bottoms that tells the true story of one community’s experience of the Boxing Day floods of 2015.

2.30pm–3.30pm | Book Now
Competing Histories of Climate Change: From Science to Politics and Back Again
– A talk on the different ways in which climate change is depicted in relation to class, floods, veganism and fast fashion, as well as the changing place of climate change in politics.

3pm–4pm | Book Now
Restoring the Pennine Peatlands
– This talk covers Pennine moorland degredation, the effects on the surrounding area, how the moors have been  restored, and the future of climate and restoration. 

We are delighted to have partnered with ecolibrium, a live events industry response to the climate crisis, taking action to reduce travel impacts and invest in climate solutions. We encourage everyone attending the festival to balance your travel emissions. Simply use the travel calculator to work out your travel impacts and donate to balance them.


We endeavour to ensure that Festival events are accessible to all and welcome you to contact us regarding any specific requirements you may have before the event: info@manchesterhistories.co.uk or 0161 306 1982.

The venue is fully accessible and there will be a BSL (British Sign Language) signer present for the majority of events.

Data Gathering

When registering for this event we will ask you a some questions about your age, gender, ethnicity, disability and postcode. Gathering this information helps us to report back to our funders and enables us to better understand our audiences so we can ensure we reach as many people as possible now and in the future. The information is given anonymously.

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