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Introduction to The Brain Box

The Brain Box (Twitter: #mcrbrainbox) was an exciting science extravaganza organised by Andreas Prokop and Stuart Allan, that took place in the spectacular Town Hall  right in the middle of Manchester on Manchester Day – the very day of the famous annual parade (Twitter: #mcrday16)! People could rummage around in The Brain Box  and discover the wonders of the brain: how it works, how it is studied, what can go wrong in our brains, and how this might be fixed. It was a unique opportunity for everybody to interact with scientists, clinicians, creative practitioners and artists at a unique event with exciting and thought-provoking exhibits, displays and hands-on activities for all ages.

Brainbox_PassportVisitors could pick up a passport [LINK] and participate in the treasure hunt for answers to get a squeezy brain (as long as they were available!) or win a family ticket for a visit to Jodrell Bank.

The event where visitors came, celebrated with us and had their own EUREKA! moments when learning about the wonders of the brain, took place at Manchester Town Hall, 10 am – 6 pm on Sunday, 19 June 2016 – the very year where Manchester was the European City of Science!

Feel free to download a leaflet for A4 print [PDF] or A5 print [PDF2] and spread the news!

Event zones & colours of the day


The basics


Imaging the brain in action


Learning & the brain


Eyes & the brain


Pain & the brain


Disease & the brain


The history of brain science


Art & the brain

Event Map

TownHall Plan

Schedule of public talks & performances

10.30 Laura Parkes [LINK]

Seeing inside your head
(Age 10+) Find out how Magnetic Resonance Imaging can help us see the brain in action and why imaging is important in our fight to cure dementia.

11.00 Jamie Sergeant [LINK]

Cloudy with a chance of pain
(Age 6+) Is there a link between the weather and feeling pain?  Find out how thousands of people are using their smartphones to help scientists answer this age-old question [LINK].

11.30 Matthew Cobb [LINK]

How did we discover what your brain does?
(Age 10+) Everyone now knows that we think with our brain, but for most of humanity’s history, that role was taken by the heart. How did we work out what the brain does?


MND Dance performance [LINK]

Great Hall
12.00 Ginny Smith [LINK]

Exciting neurons
(Age 6+) Come and help us build a giant neuron out of audience members to explore how our brains transmit messages and what happens when we learn.

12.30 Ellen Poliakoff [LINK]

Movement in Mind in Parkinson’s
(Age tbc)


Dementia Friends (session 1) [LINK]


Dementia Friends (session 2) [LINK]


MND Dance performance [LINK]

Great Hall
3.00 Luca Ticini [LINK]

Your brain on Art
(Age 10+) What does art reveal about the brain? Is the artist, in some ways, also a neuroscientist? I will explore some artwork that inspired scientists to design experiments revealing how our brain works

3.30 Ginny Smith  [LINK]

Hack your brain
(Age 6+) Find out how our brains communicate with our bodies, and see how we can hijack these signals to allow one human to control the movements of another, live on stage!


Dementia Friends (session 3) [LINK]


MND Dance performance [LINK]

Big Hall
5.00 Museum Sci. Industry  [LINK]



The Stroke Choir

Big Hall


The Brain Box is a collaboration between many contributors, including: Manchester City Council, The University of Manchester, Salford University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Museum of Science and Industry, Stroke Association, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Parkinson’s UK, MND Association, National Autistic Society, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, The University of Liverpool, University of York, Seal Medical, Seal Medical Supplies, b-neuro, Medtronic, Access Dance and Dance Company Combination, Jacob Smith, Stephanie Bowen, Paul Smith, Greg Dunn.


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