Community Festival 2021

Our annual Community Festival returned for three days of exploration, interaction and conversation to engage families and audiences from the under 5’s to the over 60’s, from across Greater Manchester and beyond. The festival fosters links with our local neighbours to engage and share in our knowledge, culture and facilities and provided opportunities for interactions between staff, students and community members.

This year, the programme of digital events which ran from 18-20 June, was delivered in collaboration with Manchester Museum, the Whitworth, John Rylands Research Institute and Library, and our three Faculties. The programme of 13 live interactive events and 11 broadcast events included science experiments at home; stories of local history; creative sessions with poetry, music and art; wellbeing activities and virtual tours.

The community mapping event hosted by Dr Jonny Huck, a lecturer in Geography enabled our attendees to help map the way for prosthetic and orthopaedic surgeons to reach those in need of healthcare and prosthetic limbs in Northern Uganda. One attendee said: “What a wonderful thing you’re doing. I’m old enough to remember before the war, the days of Idi Amin!!” whilst another said: “Thank you very much. It was very useful. It was also new to me as I’m only 16 and I’m glad I just got to find out about this.”

Many of the sessions offered creative, playful and wellbeing opportunities. Drawing inspiration from the Whitworth’s collection, the art workshops offered participants the chance use materials they could find at home to create new and exciting inventions. Particpants reported that they felt “very inspired”, “shared a wonderful experience” and said “such a good session – just what I needed!”

The popular Frogs and Friends behind-the-scenes virtual tour at Manchester Museum, welcomed local and international visitors from as far afield as Taiwan, Australia and the United States. The curious frog questions kept our Live Animals team on their toes as they explored the wonderful word of the Vivarium.

If you missed out on getting along to this year’s virtual festival, the great news is you can still access many of the resources. You can explore the legends behind some of the most celebrated Chinese festivals, delve into the science and stories of eye and ear medicine, or discover more about the intriguing history of the Guardian newspaper born in Manchester 200 years ago, and more!

And in our ‘Meet the…’ film series, we asked our staff, students and community partners to share their own personal stories and perspectives of being a part of the University. Find out what they do, what’s important to them about their work and their most memorable moments. Jen O’Brien, Senior Lecturer & Academic Lead for Sustainability, tells us about her role in teaching and learning, her specialism in the Sustainable Development Goals, and her passion for empowering, informing and equipping our students to effect positive change. Take a look at Jen’s story.