A look ahead to Universally Manchester

GRRRL at Universally Manchester
GRRRL © Jacob Simkins

John McAuliffe, Professor of Poetry and Director of Creative Manchester at The University of Manchester, looks ahead to Universally Manchester, a free festival celebrating 200 years of education and innovation at the University, taking place from 6-9 June.

Universities have always been a hot bed of creativity, set up to better understand the world, respond to challenges and, sometimes, re-make our future. The University of Manchester has, over the past 200 years, drawn together great teams, pioneering researchers and writers who have shaped the life of this city, and the wider world.

This June, we draw on this rich seam of creativity and innovation through Universally Manchester Festival. Four incredible days of insightful discussions, entertaining performances and family friendly activities, at our iconic Oxford Road campus, and online, from Thursday, 6 – Sunday, 9 June.

Four incredible days of insightful discussions, entertaining performances and family friendly activities


Experience everything from poetry to physics, music to medicine, computing to creative writing and more – you can take a dazzling journey into the universe with Professor Brian Cox, or let loose at The Carnival, a celebration of art and culture taking over the Whitworth.

As the Director for Creative Manchester (our University’s research platform for arts and culture), I felt it vital that we take centre stage in these celebrations, hosting a series of talks, performances and commissioned artwork, which reflect on our history and looks beyond to our third century of cutting-edge creativity.

On Friday, our historian colleagues David Olusoga and Michael Wood, who have been pioneering leaders in public history, take a critical lens on the world of tv and film to help us better reflect upon cultural narratives. In partnership with The Guardian Live, we will explore how transatlantic slavery shaped The University of Manchester and consider the emerging question: ‘what should we do next?’. Before the British Pop Archive consider Manchester’s musical heritage.

Mr Wilsons second Liners A look ahead to Universally Manchester

Woven through the festival weekend, Creative Manchester present vibrant musical performances too, including a vocal performance inspired by nature’s beauty by Kantos choir, a collective of dynamic and creative vocal artists in the north. Four-time Grammy award winning percussionist, Carlos Maldonado will be joined by the Music Department’s jazz ensemble.

The University of Manchester grew out of the inspired, future-shaping imagination of Manchester citizens. Jeanette Winterson puts it best; ‘Creativity is what defines us’. The festival will celebrate and continue that work, drawing on the city-region for inspiration, acting as a stage for new ideas which may well shape the next century’s progress…

Find out more about the free programme of events presented by Universally Manchester Festival, and sign up early bird tickets for in demand events by visiting universallymanchester.com.

by John McAuliffe,
Professor of Poetry and Director of Creative Manchester at The University of Manchester

Summer Edition

This article was originally published in the Summer Edition of the Oxford Road Corridor zine which is available to pick up for free around Manchester or download. Download
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