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Community Festival welcomes local friends and neighbours back to campus

22 Jul 2022

Saturday, 25 June saw over 2,600 people welcomed onto campus for the Community Festival’s much-awaited return

Children enjoying the Festival with Barnabee

Old neighbours and new friends were welcomed onto campus as our doors were opened to the local community to share the wealth of work we undertake here at our University and across our cultural institutions in engaging and interactive ways. The event included more than 60 activities, performances, photography exhibitions and tours, from virtual reality experiences and holding human brains to marvelling at dinosaur fossils and getting hands-on with arts and crafts.

The Festival ensured there was lots to do at this free, fun, family day out which aims to offer an inviting, informal space for visitors to meet our staff, students and community partners, and for us to take part in conversations that connect and inspire. Visitors enjoyed a host of outdoor sport challenges and ventured inside our buildings to discover a new interest and watch musical and drama performances performed by local community groups.

More than 245 of our staff, students and partners were involved in coordinating and delivering the event’s range of activities inside our bustling University Place, Alan Turing and Royce Institute buildings. Visitors of all ages enjoyed learning about our research by engaging in interactive activities such as listening to their own hearts, holding a real human brain and making graphene. Innovative technology was also on hand to amaze children and adults alike, with virtual reality experiences and interactive robots proving to be popular.

Highlights of the day included old favourites like the Flash Bang Show, an exploration of chemistry which attracted 250 visitors, and three new tours giving behind-the-scenes access to the FIRS environmental research station and the new home of Engineering and Materials created as a playground for engineers and scientists!

Our cultural institutions were represented as the pop-up Manchester Museum allowed visitors to marvel at dinosaur fossils and discover ancient artefacts, whilst The Whitworth provided arts and crafts for under the 5s.

Visitors also took part in climate action conversations and contributed to a map of Manchester’s many languages and dialects to promote inclusion and represent the variety of people who attended our Community Festival. Each activity at the Community Festival represented selected UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), enabling visitors to learn more about the relevance of our work in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges.

Dee-Ann Johnson, Public Engagement Manager, said, “It was wonderful to welcome so many people from our local communities and beyond on to the University campus, to take part in curiosity-driven conversations and to not only share what we do here but why we do it and how we can make a difference together.”

One visitor added, “I think it’s really important for universities to do stuff like this and to get the community involved. We’re new to Manchester to so it’s been really nice to see what’s on offer, to find out what the University does and to have a fun day out with the family.”

The Community Festival returns on the 17 June 2023, for another day of discovery, inspiration and conversation. We hope you can join us!