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Our Universally Manchester Festival – and more!

30 Jan 2024

University to host four-day festival celebrating our 200th year – from Thursday, 6 to Sunday, 9 June – featuring Professor Brian Cox and Professor David Olusoga

Bicentenary festival

The University is to host Universally Manchester, a celebratory four-day festival to mark its 200th year, welcoming up to 60,000 people to its Oxford Road campus from Thursday, 6 June to Sunday, 9 June 2024. 

Universally Manchester will acknowledge our 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, including renowned physicist and award-winning podcaster Professor Brian Cox, and BAFTA-winning broadcaster, writer and historian Professor David Olusoga. 

It will also celebrate the here and now, creating a platform for current students and graduates to showcase their creativity and ideas. 

“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,” Professor Olusoga says. 

“Come along, explore and be inspired.” 

What’s on

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. 

Saturday will provide family-friendly fun with the return of the ever-popular Community Festival while on Sunday, Whitworth Art Gallery presents ‘The Carnival’ – live art performances, free activities for all ages, music and street food – and festival partners Manchester Histories Festival will showcase the richness and diversity of Manchester's heritage. Plus more, details to come at: 

Take part

If you’re a student, staff member or alumnus of the University and would like to be part of the festival programme, there is still chance to apply. We’re open to contributions of all types, including in-person, online or hybrid formats. Find out more and apply

And there’s more bicentenary activities on the go…  

  • In February, our bicentenary lecture podcast series launches with special guests discussing subjects such as health, the environment, community and, of course, education. 
  • Made in Manchester, a bicentenary competition asking our students to show what ‘Made in Manchester’ means to them through art, words, sound or video. The deadline is midnight on Sunday, 24 March and three winners, one from each Faculty, will win £750.  
  • Our Centre for New Writing’s micropoetry competition returns for 2024 with the theme ‘200 years of creativity: Manchester’s past, present or future’. The challenge is to use no more than 280 characters and include #micropoem24, to be judged by a panel including our Honorary Chair of Creative Writing and former Chancellor, Lemn Sissay. The competition is open until midnight on Wednesday, 10 April 2024. 

More information 

Our Universally Manchester festival is at the heart of our bicentenary celebrations, which began with our hugely popular Light Up event as landmarks around the globe were illuminated in our signature colour purple. 

To find out more - with further details to come about events and how to get tickets - please visit: