Happy new (academic) year! It’s wonderful to welcome our new and returning students back to our campus.
As October approaches, we’re looking forward to celebrating Black History Month in the UK, taking the opportunity to recognise and appreciate our Black history at numerous events taking place across the University. Professor David Olusoga OBE will present a lecture exploring what it means to be black and British and the role of black history today. Our Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network are delighted to be hosting an afternoon with Dame Elizabeth Anionwu. Creative Manchester will be steering Guilt by Association, a panel discussion with leading experts to explore how our laws racialise criminalise particular communities and cultures. And our Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre have a multitude of events focusing on the theme of ‘Carnival’, exploring how carnivals have become festivals and celebrations tied to freedom and emancipation from slavery. Be sure to check them all out!
This month on social inclusion, two multi-disciplinary teams from the University have been working with The British Council (UK) and AdvanceHE to promote improved gender equity in academia. We look back at our Faculty of Science and Engineering’s International Women’s Day #ChooseToChallenge project. And we are delighted to confirm the appointment of black author and broadcaster Jeffrey Boakye as a Senior Teaching Fellow in our Manchester Institute of Education (MIE).
On prosperous communities, our academics have been able to capture the indirect impacts, and spillover benefits from R&D investment that helps contribute to the levelling up agenda. Our University Skills and Development Team have been working with Outward Bound to inspire young apprentices and provide essential life-skills. And we’ve launched a major new report On Productivity which seeks to understand and address gaps in economic performance across the UK.
On better health, we’ve launched a new podcast: One in Two: A Manchester Cancer Research Podcast to highlight the impactful work of cancer researchers at the University. Our Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health launched a very successful Talking Science Competition where students were invited to share their ideas on how science can create a healthier, fairer and greener world. A £6.95 million Global Health Research Unit on Neurodevelopment and Autism for children in South Asia is to launch with the help of University of Manchester expertise. And Policy@Manchesterplatform announced a new online collection called Health Inequalities.
On environmental sustainability, over 40,000 of our staff and students have been nominated for The Earthshot Prize for practical action on climate change. Dr Jen O’Brien, our Academic Lead for Sustainability Teaching and Learning, has been awarded a Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grant by the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Our new animation is highlighting how the behaviour of water companies, and the roles of regulators in tacking illegal activity, is negatively impacting on levels of microplastic pollution in rivers. We’re asking the University community to share how their work impacts towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We’re continuing to support VegBox by providing access to affordable, locally grown, nutritious food. We recap on a 2022 Making a Difference Award and Better World Award winner, who has developed an Urban Heat Resilience Plan for Bristol. And we’re working in partnership with Ardwick Climate Action and Manchester City Council to combat climate change.
Finally, on cultural engagement, our Linguistic Diversity Collective and Creative Manchester present a free public event entitled Supporting Manchester’s language communities. The winning entries of our collaborative Schools Poetry Competition can now be viewed on campus. We share the personal stories behind those involved in public engagement at the University. You can join John Rylands on one of their upcoming tours to experience the enduring power of a literary classic. You can head to the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre to check out The World Reimagined display, which invites the public to explore the UK’s relationship with the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, its impact on UK society and how we can take action to make racial justice a reality.
Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility