The iconic University of Manchester is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, and as part of a whole roster of celebrations, a special festival is being held this summer. The University of Manchester has announced it will be hosting Universally Manchester, a celebratory four-day festival to mark its 200th year, welcoming up to 60,000 people to its Oxford Road campus from June 6 – 9, 2024.
Festival goers will be able to curate their own varied programme, from behind-the-scenes tours to salon discussions, music, theatre, comedy, art, poetry, wellbeing and more, with something on offer for all ages and interests.
From poetry to physics, music to medicine and computing to creative writing, the festival will have a different focus each day. More than 150 imaginative and immersive events will take place in unexpected places across campus, with events popping up everywhere: labs, concert theatres, outdoor spaces and the University’s award-winning culture hotspots Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum.
Universally Manchester will acknowledge the University’s global impact; the world firsts, the life-changing discoveries, the music, art, science and creativity, all sparked in Manchester. Many well-known figures from the University’s past, present and future will feature, with renowned physicist, award-winning podcaster and proud Mancunian Professor Brian Cox, and BAFTA-winning broadcaster, writer and historian Professor David Olusoga, the first to be announced.
Saturday will provide family-friendly fun with the return of the ever-popular Community Festival – insightful performances, have-a-go activities and an engaging experience for all. On Sunday, Whitworth Art Gallery presents ‘The Carnival’, celebrating art, culture and our vibrant community.
The Carnival is a one-day programme of live art performances – inside the gallery and in its gardens – with free activities for all ages, music and street food vendors. The Whitworth’s sculpture terrace will be transformed into a carnivalesque experience for one day only.
Sunday also includes a range of exciting events led by festival partners Manchester Histories Festival, offering a unique opportunity to revel in and explore the richness and diversity of Manchester’s heritage.
Professor David Olusoga said: “Universally Manchester will open the doors to our institution, shining a light on two centuries of history, and providing a platform to consider our future. I’m delighted to be part of this moment in our history.
“I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion exploring the history of history on television; also on that panel will be the great Michael Wood, himself a professor at the University. Another panel will address the complex, contested history of many of Manchester’s institutions, including the University, and their links to slavery and the Atlantic world. Come along, explore and be inspired.”
Three themes will run throughout, as the festival shows the University’s commitment to creating a greener, fairer and healthier world, in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
February will see the launch of a bicentenary lecture podcast series, with special guests discussing subjects to which the University is committed – such as health, the environment, community and, of course, education. Then between October 7 and 9 the University will host the prestigious THE World Academic Summit, welcoming 500 global leaders in higher education to Manchester.
A great range of other exciting activities for staff, students, alumni, residents and the wider, global community are lined up across 2024, to mark this special moment in the University’s history. Find out more and keep track of the events at the University of Manchester here.