The University of Manchester

Manchester Festival Declared Universally

The University of Manchester has revealed its plans to hold a four-day extravaganza, called Universally Manchester, in honor of its 200th anniversary. This grand celebration will take place from Thursday, 6 June to Sunday, 9 June 2024, and is expected to attract a staggering 60,000 attendees to the university’s Oxford Road campus.

Universally Manchester promises a diverse range of activities and events for people of all ages and interests. Festival-goers will have the opportunity to curate their own unique experience, with options including behind-the-scenes tours, salon discussions, music performances, theatrical shows, comedy acts, art exhibitions, poetry readings, and even wellness activities.

Throughout the festival, each day will have a different focus, covering a wide array of subjects such as poetry, physics, music, medicine, computing, and creative writing. The campus will come alive with over 150 imaginative and immersive events, taking place in unexpected locations such as laboratories, concert theatres, outdoor spaces, and the renowned Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum.

Universally Manchester aims to highlight the university’s global impact and showcase the groundbreaking achievements that have emerged from Manchester. The festival will feature prominent figures, both past and present, associated with the university, including the widely acclaimed physicist and podcaster Professor Brian Cox, as well as the BAFTA-winning broadcaster, writer, and historian Professor David Olusoga.

In addition to celebrating the university’s rich history and accomplishments, the festival will also provide a platform for current students and graduates to showcase their own creativity and ideas.

One of the highlights of the festival will be the return of the popular Community Festival on Saturday, which promises family-friendly fun and engaging performances. On Sunday, the Whitworth Art Gallery will host “The Carnival,” a one-day extravaganza celebrating art, culture, and the vibrant community of Manchester. This event will feature live art performances, free activities for all ages, music, street food vendors, and a transformed sculpture terrace.

Sunday will also offer a range of exciting events organized by festival partners Manchester Histories Festival, providing an opportunity to delve into the rich heritage and diversity of Manchester.

Professor David Olusoga expressed his excitement about Universally Manchester, stating that the festival will not only shed light on the university’s history but also prompt reflection on its future. He will be participating in a panel discussion exploring the history of history on television, alongside other esteemed guests. Another panel will delve into the complex and contested history of Manchester’s institutions, including the university, and their connections to slavery and the Atlantic world.

Throughout the festival, three key themes will be emphasized to demonstrate the university’s commitment to creating a greener, fairer, and healthier world, aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Universally Manchester represents the centerpiece of the University of Manchester’s bicentennial celebrations. The festivities kicked off on 17 January with the highly popular Light Up event, where landmarks across the globe were illuminated in the university’s signature purple color. The celebration will continue with a bicentennial lecture podcast series in February and the prestigious THE World Academic Summit in October, which will bring together 500 global leaders in higher education.

This exciting festival is just one part of the diverse range of activities planned for 2024, ensuring that the university’s 200-year history is marked in a special and memorable way. For more information on Universally Manchester and the bicentennial celebrations, please visit

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