Manchester China Institute manager departs after leading sustained growth

Over the past 4 years, MCI Manager Will Kirkby has substantially improved and expanded the work of the Manchester China Institute.

After four years of running the day-to-day operations of the Manchester China Institute (MCI), Manager Will Kirkby has left the University to move to Bangkok. MCI promotes excellence in China studies and mutual understanding in UK-China relations.

Will joined the MCI in Autumn 2019, just before Covid. Despite waves of lockdowns in both the UK and China, Will’s agile leadership enabled MCI to continue to grow. For instance, Will transitioned MCI’s in-person speaker series into an online webinar series, extending MCI’s impact to a global audience from Boston to Beijing.

Will also coordinated the launch and implementation of the Manchester-China Friendship Programme in 2021, creating vital opportunities for Chinese and British students to benefit from each other’s presence on campus. From 2020 to 2023, Will also managed four UK-China International Photo Competitions, including organising separate exhibitions in both Chengdu and Wuhan when lockdowns halted events in the UK.

In 2022, the University of Manchester recognised Will’s excellent work running MCI with the University’s Rewarding Exceptional Performance Award.

Will cares deeply about MCI’s mission of improving mutual understanding in UK-China relations,” MCI Director Peter Gries said. “That was reflected in his tireless efforts on all of our programs. He was the heart and soul of our growing China studies community. I will miss him.