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5th February 2024

The University of Manchester announces bicentenary festival plans

The University of Manchester’s bicentenary is to be marked by the “Universally Manchester Festival,” showcasing student creativity and highlighting the past, present, and future of the University
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The University of Manchester announces bicentenary festival plans
Credit: University of Manchester website

Words by Patrick Bell

The University has announced plans to celebrate its bicentenary with a four-day festival, from Thursday 6 June to Sunday 9 June 2024. 

Coined as “Universally Manchester,” the event is open to the public, and hopes to welcome up to 60,000 guests over the four-day period.

All the events are based on Oxford Road; from labs to outdoors spaces, to the cultural hubs of Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum. 

A few names to note at the festival are Professor Brian Cox and BAFTA winner David Olusoga. More well-known figures from the University’s past are to be announced closer to the time.

The weekend hosts over 150 events, centred on acknowledging the University’s impact. Each day holds a different focus. 

The Saturday is said to be a “family-oriented” day and will see the return of the popular Manchester Community Festival, including musical and drama performances and interactive demonstrations. 

On Sunday, The Whitworth is presenting “The Carnival,” a cultural celebration of Manchester’s vibrant art scene with a range of live art performances.

As well as being a celebration of its past, the University will celebrate its present and future, hoping to create “a platform for current students and graduates to showcase their creativity and ideas.”

There are currently opportunities to apply and take part in the festival’s programme. The University’s website advertises the chance for students to give talks, run an open lab, or run a workshop among other activities. Applications close on Friday 22 March.  

Bicentenary celebrations were launched early this year, with Oxford Road’s “Light Up” event on 17 January.

The University is also running competitions as part of the bicentenary celebrations.

“Made in Manchester” gives students the chance to express what Manchester means to them through the medium of art, words, sound or video. The winners will win £750 each.  

The bicentenary festival is free and aims to be a source of inspiration for future generations as past and current work is put on show. As David Olusoga says, “come along, explore and be inspired.” 

More details will be announced in Spring 2024.


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