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By Kim Gowland on

Wonder Materials in the Press

Our new exhibition presented some challenges for the press team charged with drumming up interest—Kim Gowland explains how these were overcome.

Please note: Wonder Materials ended on 25 June 2017. To find out what exhibitions and activities are open today, visit our What’s On section

When we began planning our press campaign for Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond, we wondered about the level of interest there would be among journalists over graphene. How, for example, might we pique the interest of the non-science media? Would the national press be interested? And how exactly can one show an invisible material on TV?

Wonder Materials press launch

In the end, we needn’t have worried. Working with two fantastic freelance media consultants – Four Colman Getty for national media and Rachel Furst PR on the regional campaign – there were so many things for the media to talk about and so much content in the exhibition, that the coverage was all over Manchester and in the nationals.

From specially created artworks and new commissions, such as Random International’s Everything and Nothing video installation, Anna Meredith’s musical residency and Lemn Sissay’s rousing graphene poem The World Wakes, to rare opportunities to interview Andre Geim, one of the scientists who isolated graphene, there were plenty of avenues to interest the media.

Here is just some of the coverage:

TV and Radio

Jonathan Ross interviewed Random International artist Florian Ortkrass and Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond curator Danielle Olsen on the Radio 2 Arts Show, while Random International also featured on BBC Radio 4 Front Row talking about the exhibition.

Meanwhile, Anna Meredith was interviewed ahead of her performance at Glastonbury by Radcliffe and Maconie on their BBC 6 Music show, and gave a fantastic introduction to her residency here (though alas, the BBC have taken it down from the iPlayer).

The exhibition was also featured by both regional TV news outlets, BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports, with Ray Gibbs (CEO of Haydale) even bringing along his very own ‘graphene car’ to feature on the BBC.


Our press trip on the exhibition’s opening day was well attended by national and regional journalists. The star of the day was Nobel Prize-winning scientist Andre Geim who, along with Kostya Novoselov, isolated graphene at the University of Manchester in 2004.

The Times gave a 4-star rating (behind paywall), answering their own question “How do you make people care about the story of a material that is far smaller than the eye can see?” with “The [museum’s] curators’ answer is clever, engaging and even heartwarming”.

The New Statesman came up to Manchester for our press trip and wrote an excellent review, while Creative Review published a great piece discussing the quality of the design of Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond, featuring interviews with curator Danielle Olsen and Universal Design Studio.

The Daily Telegraph wrote an inspiring feature that not only looks at our exhibition, but also focuses on female scientists working in the field of graphene. In particular, they talk to Catharina Paukner, founder of Cambridge Nanosystems, whom they dub “the First Lady of graphene”.

In addition, the exhibition was featured prominently in the Manchester Evening News, both in print and online.


Graphene feature in the Manchester Evening News



Since the launch, Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond has also been covered extensively online. Highlights include a feature on Wallpaper, which looked at the design of the exhibition, as well as articles on regional arts and culture sites such as Creative TouristThe Skinny, and Pocket Manchester to name but a few.

And, with further graphene related events planned for the coming months, and with the exhibition open until June of 2017, we hope to see even more great coverage like that featured above very soon.

Wonder Materials: Graphene and Beyond is open daily, 10am to 5pm, until 25 June 2017.

Top image credit: Jason Lock Photography

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