MadLab is a community space for people who want to do and make interesting stuff – a place for geeks, artists, designers, illustrators, hackers, tinkerers, innovators and idle dreamers; an autonomous R&D laboratory and a release valve for Manchester’s creative communities. We caught up with Florence Okoye from MadLab to see what she recommends…

MadLab Artists Working

From 5-13 March, MadLab will be at The Arts Catalyst (Clerkenwell), hosting a series of “do-it-yourself biology” events – including setting up a lab from scratch, culturing bioluminescent bacteria, using mud to generate electricity and DNA barcoding beef to find horse meat at Deptford Market.

MadLab Horse Meat Testing

Meanwhile back in Manchester, the Omniversity has a range of courses on offer, from web development to Arduino. WordPress co-founder, Mike Little will be teaching Beginners, Journalists and Developers about the world’s most popular free blogging tool. For more information, visit here. The great thing about the Omniversity is that it offers everyone the opportunity to learn new skills without breaking the bank. People of all ages and backgrounds find our courses accessible and our course leaders are experts in their fields, with a great deal of teaching experience and hands-on knowledge to help you make the most of what you’ve learned.

In fact, one of our course leaders will be speaking at the upcoming TEDx at the University of Manchester on 28 March. As well as an array of academics and artists – including Professor Julian Dodd and Shahbaz Hussain – Elliot Woods (who leads the VVVV/Projection/Kinect course – 8-9 June at the Omniversity) will give a talk on projection mapping and its ability to change the way people relate to their environment and each other.

If that’s whetted your appetite for the cerebral, the University of Manchester is also hosting a series of public lectures in fields as diverse as molecular biology, classical history and sociology, showcasing the amazing research that is taking place within our city. More can be found here.

The Raspberry Jamboree hits Manchester on March 9, with people coming together from across the UK to celebrate the wonders of this £25 computer. The aim is to raise awareness about how the Raspberry Pi can be used to encourage children’s engagement with computing technology and will include speakers such as Professor Steve Furber (designer of the BBC micro) and Carrie Anne Philbur (teacher and author of the Geek Gurl Diaries). For more information, check out here.

On 5 March, the Whitworth Gallery will have a series of talks where you get to hear from curators and contemporary artists about their work and current research. They will also be hosting a weekend course which aims to explore the themes and techniques in the work of John Piper which is currently being exhibited at the Whitworth until the 7 April.

March is Women’s History month and to celebrate you’ll find a plethora of events under the banner Radical Women, from political activists to artists and scientists. The Whitworth Art Gallery is also doing its bit by hosting a series of talks about women in the arts. This will include a celebration of some of the most important figures behind their collection – more information can be found here.

Further out at Liverpool’s Kazimir is the Lift-Off Film Festival which will highlight some of the best new filmmaking talent on 27 February. It promises to be a broad and thought-provoking experience with documentary films, shorts, and stories about love, travel and belief – all in beautiful celluloid.

MadLab can be found at 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN.

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