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1st February 2024

University bicentenary celebrations light Oxford Road purple

The University of Manchester launches its bicentenary with a special Light Up event on Oxford Road and in the Manchester Museum
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University bicentenary celebrations light Oxford Road purple
Photo: Jacob Robinson @ The Mancunion

The University launched the celebrations of its bicentennial year with a special “Light Up” celebration on January 17.  

The celebration consisted of numerous university buildings being lit up in purple across Oxford Road at 18:24, marking the foundation of the University of Manchester.

Large crowds gathered to watch the lighting up, particularly by the Whitworth Arch.

University of Manchester centres in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai and Singapore held similar events in the same week. 

An exclusive special event was also held for university stakeholders, civic leaders, and selected students and staff in the Engineering Building from 5pm. 

A neon sign has also been erected across Booth Street West. The sign read “I’m meant to be here” a quote from a specially commissioned bicentenary poem by Rebecca Hurst.

Hurst recited this poem at the sister Manchester Museum ‘Museum Late’ event, which was opened by the museum’s director Esme Ward after Oxford Road was lit up.

The event included a performance from David McFarlane and his band, who used music to recreate the experience of sound-to-colour synaesthesia. 

The evening was also used to launch the Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester’s annual poetry competition. This year’s theme is “200 years of creativity: Manchester’s past, present or future.”

Bicentenary events will continue throughout the year, including a flagship Bicentenary Festival in June. 

Miles Davenport

Miles Davenport

Co-Editor of News, 2023-2024, 3rd year student in History & Sociology

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