September round-up

Tue, 28 Sep 2021 17:16:00 BST

Happy new (academic) year! It’s been wonderful to welcome so many new and returning students to campus recently and plan for in-person activities and events. Everyone is hopeful and optimistic that 2021/22 will offer everyone in our university community a richer experience than was possible over our previous two academic years.

September has had a real civic theme for us, with four major developments. First, we are delighted to be joined by Mags Bradbury who takes up the role of Head of Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement. Second, Professor Richard Jones has been appointed to our senior leadership team as Vice-President for Regional Innovation and Civic Engagement. Thirdly, our five higher education institutions in Greater Manchester and mayor Andy Burnham have launched the first ever Civic University Agreement for our city region to work together to drive social, economic and environmental change. And fourthly, weve partnered with the Manchester Evening News to profile the impact of our graduates who stay in the region and make important contributions to civic life, such as PGCE alumnus Julia Morton who is a local history teacher from Trafford.

On social inclusion, a former Manchester student, Elisa Soto, is putting her Master's dissertation into practice by reforming education law in her home country, Mexico. Our Work and Equalities Institute (WEI) has been awarded a major grant to look at how equality policies and regulation at work have developed across different European countries. Our students have been volunteering virtually to support Rwandan social enterprise, Azizi Life. Researchers from our Cultures of Anti-Racism in Latin America (CARLA) project have developed collaborations with various artists to promote social inclusion for Afro-Colombian youth. And Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA) has been working with the Pensions Policy Institute to inform important social and policy questions about pension outcomes for divorcees.

On better health, our Alliance Manchester Business School's, Naomi Chambers, has co-authored a major new book which contributes to important arguments about better health and improving the service and care provided by the NHS in the post-COVID era. The University's Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health is delighted to welcome back The Linnean Society for the second online Irene Manton lecture which will take place in December. We reflect on five years of Patient & Public Involvement and Engagement. As a result of our Community Festival earlier this year, the Museum of Medicine and Health now has a new, free digital resource for Secondary schools. And the healthcare partnership between Kenya and the UK government has been strengthened through the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

On environmental sustainability, you must check out our wonderful Manchester Festival of Climate Action on 11-14 October which is tackling today’s biggest climate questions in the lead up to COP26. We are running a series of sandpit events on sustainability as part of our partnership with The Alan Turing Institute, the UK's National Institute for Data Science and AI. Policy@Manchester will be hosting the panel debate ‘Achieving cleaner air for all’. Our Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health are building on from the success of their 6R lab protocol to reduce plastics in practical classes, by embedding the approach further into the curriculum. And our Towards Inclusive Environmental Sustainability (TIES) project hosted their first online, collaborative webinar 'How Muslims in Britain engage with, and understand, environmental sustainability'.

On cultural engagement our Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE (Race Archives and Community Engagement) Centre has created a programme of events to celebrate Black History Month. We’ve launched a new, first of its kind, Still Parents exhibition which has evolved from the work the Whitworth’s award-winning Still Parents project. Manchester Museum’s Muso Baby programme has returned this autumn, providing a lifeline for parents experiencing, or at risk of, anxiety or post-natal depression. We highlight one of our ‘Meet the...’ films produced for the University’s annual Community Festival. We’re delighted that our iconic ScienceX event is back this year, at a new location, with a focus on COP26. And David Olusoga OBE, Professor of Public History at the University, is chairing a special panel discussion on the debate around statues and public memorials in Manchester and Bristol as part of Black History Month.

Finally, many of you will be aware that Suzanne Spicer retires shortly after 13 years of work in the University. Suzanne has made a huge contribution to the work of social responsibility and public engagement, helping set up our Beacon for Public Engagement, our Maing a Difference Awards and our Community Festival.

We hope to see many more of you in person in the weeks and months ahead at some of our events noted above. And if you’re still short of inspiration, you could check out our Alliance Manchester Business School’s Vital Topics events, Policy@Manchester’s Party Conference events, or engage with us as part of our upcoming Volunteering and Social Justice Week on Monday 11 October - Friday 15 October.

Stay safe and see you soon.

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility