University’s new Creative Manchester project is officially launched

The University of Manchester has officially launched its new Creative Manchester project, which is investing £3.3m to support its ambitious arts, cultural and creative industries strategy.

The creative industry sector is one of the fastest growing in the UK, which accounts for over 5% of the UK’s economy and employs 2 million people. Creative Manchester aims to position the University as a leading player in this sector at local, national and international level, and at the forefront of public conversations about the role of Arts and Humanities.

It builds on commitments made by the Government in the recent Industrial Strategy White Paper by providing an opportunity to develop exciting new courses such as Heritage Studies, which will attract the very best students with the brightest talent to the city. This complements the University’s wide range of existing undergraduate and postgraduate courses centred on the creative industries, including Art Gallery and Museum Studies, Arts Management, Creative Writing, Drama, Music, Film Studies and Screenwriting.

The project will develop placement opportunities and employability initiatives, using the University’s access to some of the best collections and cultural minds in the world, as well as taking creative ideas, skills and resources out into local communities to create new ideas, innovations, skills and relationships. This will bring social and economic benefits to the city and beyond, as well as creating opportunities for our students to gain real-world experience with some of the best creative organisations.

The project was launched at an event at Whitworth Hall, where leading individuals from the city’s arts sector, Manchester City Council and other stakeholders gathered to hear speeches, view artistic performances from Klezmer Ensemble and Manchester Vox, and listen to poetry and music written by current students. Attendees also heard that the University is set to begin a partnership with HOME, Manchester’s centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film, in January 2019.

The University hosts an array of cultural institutes including the Whitworth and Manchester Museum, the John Rylands Research Institute, the Centre for New Writing, the Institute for Cultural Practices, Multilingual Manchester and Digital Humanities (bringing together digital experts from across the University).

As well as leading the successful recent bid for Manchester to become a UNESCO City of Literature, the University plays a key role in Manchester Literature Festival, Manchester Histories Festival and Manchester International Festival (MIF). As part of the MIF link, the University recently appointed its artistic director and CEO John McGrath as an Honorary Professor of Performance and Society.

John’s appointment is one of several new creative and cultural academic posts being established as part of Creative Manchester, which will support the new courses and the University’s ambitious research agenda. Another of these is former Manchester student and Artistic Director of the Royal Theatre Court Vicky Featherstone, who has been appointed as an Honorary Professor in Theatre and New Writing.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell
The University of Manchester is a place where creativity is fostered and recognised for its transformational value. We now need to ensure that creativity is embedded in all of our activities. Our investment in new research, new posts and new courses will take our work across the creative and cultural sectors to a new level of significance and impact.
President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell

"Creative Manchester is about ensuring that we continue to offer the most exemplary teaching and leadership," said Jeanette Winterson CBE, Professor of New Writing. "Employers look to Manchester when seeking the best talent - we’re one of the most targeted universities in the UK by the nation’s top graduate employers. We know that creativity in industry is integral to its success, and that the economy is supported and enhanced by these creative minds."

"We have established Creative Manchester as a platform to bring educators, civic leaders and employers together in a dynamic union to collaborate and importantly, help the next generation of innovators reach their true potential," said Alessandro Schiesaro, Head of the University’s School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. "There will new and pioneering research that has a direct impact on the creative sector; we will make innovative changes to our curriculum, particularly where it can benefit employability; and we wish to become a much more active partner in the cultural sector, in Manchester and beyond."

"Through partnerships and engagement, each of these things will make a measurable difference to our graduates, to the creative economy and to Greater Manchester, one of the most innovative, creative and diverse cities in the world."

For more information, visit www.creative.manchester.ac.uk.

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