Manchester Histories Festival, celebrating Greater Manchester’s diverse histories and heritage, is returning for its 5th edition over a long-weekender from 7-11 June 2018.

This year’s festival weaves Manchester’s vibrant story of what makes it the city it is with some of the key moments in everyone’shistory that Manchester has played a central role in.

So as a backdrop to the festival and its talks, walks, screenings, performances and more, is the 100th anniversary of the passing of the Representation of the People Act and the 150th anniversary of the formation of the TUC (Trades Union Congress).

Karen Shannon, Chief Executive of Manchester Histories, comments: “2018 is a historically monumental year for Greater Manchester,as the place that gave birth to the suffragette movement and the Trades Union Congress.  So we are placing these at the forefront of this year’s festival as we explore the themes of protest, democracy and freedom of speech to illuminate many of the fascinating parts of our collective heritage, which have led to sea-changes across British society.

“Manchester is a city for all, just as this festival is for all, with the programme designed in a way that there’s something to suit everyone, from young families to avid history enthusiasts. We are offering the opportunity to everyone who lives in, works in, or isvisiting Manchester to delve into and discover its stories.”

The festival will pull back the curtain on some of the most intriguing, and often overlooked, chapters of Greater Manchester’s historiesand will encompass music, film, debate, talks, theatre, walking tours, arts and much more. Each event will excite, inspire and illuminate; from a TUC Day curated by Dave Haslam to the family friendly Manchester Histories Celebration Day at Manchester Central Library.

Throughout the festival there are events taking place in and around Greater Manchester; from Gallery Oldham’s exhibition on votes for women to Bolton Central Library’s dramatisation from the Mass Observation’s Worktown Survey of everyday life in a Lancashire cotton town.

Alexandra Park’s Chorlton Lodge will be showing footage of the many vast political rallies it has hosted, whilst Bury’s Met (formerly Derby Hall) will be exploring its own colourful history as both a music venue and formerly a court of law.

Highlight events taking place as part of the Manchester Histories Festival 2018 include:


Friday 8–Sunday 10 June2pm-7pm (except Sunday6pm) All Saints Park (off Oxford Road)

Free event, no booking required

‘Soapbox’ is a takeover of All Saint’s Park off Oxford Road, with special hosts Toria Garbutt and Young Identity Collective, who will be inviting the public to get on their soapbox in a pop-up speakers corner.  The project is a collaboration between Manchester Histories,Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester.

Throughout the weekend there will be an ongoing programme of activity including everything from theatre performances about thesuffragettes and recreations of historical moments, to raps about the effect of debt and live music inspired by protest.

All Saint’s Park will have a festival-feel of its own with placards and banners transforming the area, food and drink stalls, and a huge reproduction of the CND symbol to mark the 60th anniversary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.


Friday 8 June, starts from 9:30am, various venues, most events free

Book tickets at

Marking the 150th Anniversary of the formation of the TUC (Trades Union Congress) in Manchester and Salford in 1868, DJ, writer andcreative consultant for Manchester Histories, Dave Haslam has curated a whole day of events and film screenings that starts with the early story of the movement and concludes with an in conversation event with its General Secretary, and first female leader, Frances O’Grady.

A walking tour of Salford with Skyliner, a guided tour of the Working Class Movement Library’s exhibition The Power of Unity, screenings from the North West Film Archive, a curator-led tour of the People’s History Museum and a guided tour of the Mechanics Institute, where the first meeting was held and where a collection of trade union badges will be on display, are all part of the day.  Guests can join for all, or individual events.

Not the Factory: Manchester’s Other Electronic Music Histories

Saturday 9 June, from 12:30pm, Manchester Central Library

Book tickets at

Panel discussions, networking and performance make up a day that steps outside Manchester’s oft-repeated and hagiographic mainstream electronic music history to look at the fringes of the underground, that were nevertheless crucial in shaping the city’s identity and the electronic sounds it produced. This will be followed by the launch of the Lapsed Clubber Heritage Map; a project that set out to discover what became of those that shaped Manchester during its rave years, 1985 to 1995.

Manchester Histories Celebration Day

Sunday 10 June, 12pm-4pm, Manchester Central Library

Free Event, no booking required

The magnificent Manchester Histories Celebration Day will take place at Manchester Central Library, with over 60 exhibition standsoffering an array of activities, from protest printing with Hot Bed Press to make your own suffragette sash, filling the corridors and bookshelves of this iconic setting.  This is a day for all the family, with histories and heritage organisations from across Greater Manchester coming together to showcase the spirit of Manchester alongside performances by the Hallé Youth Choir, talks and discussion.  There will also be the chance to catch performances such as Contact Young Company’s She Bangs The Drums and to step into Impossible Arts’ Rogue Gallery.

Debating Day

Monday 11 June, Manchester Central Library

Free event, no booking required

Democracy is alive when there is debate, sharing of ideas and discussion, which is the essence of Monday’s Debating Day; a day of conversation and evaluation.  Devolution, capitalism, studying STEM and the role of artists in a city are all the subjects being put to the floor.  You can join the discussions taking place throughout the day at Manchester Central Library or you can take part via a live twitter stream using #DebateMcrHist.

Festival Hub: from 8 June to 11 June, Manchester Histories’ Festival Hub will be Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square M2 5PD.Pop in for information or recommendations.

The festival themes for 2018 of protest, democracy and freedom of speech are a fitting tribute to the these significant anniversaries, and will also lead in to Manchester Histories marking of the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in 2019.

For the full Festival listings and further information visit:


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