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Met Magazine

Autumn/Winter 2016

rt School





of place




ambition & drive


The magazine of Manchester Metropolitan University


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57 Met Magazine

Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press

Autumn/Winter 2016 Editorial team Met Magazine is published by K  at Dibbits Manchester Metropolitan Chris Morris University Ian Christon


Met Magazine issue 2

Design – Steve Kelly Photography Ade Hunter

Contact us





Vice-Chancellor’s message


Former England manager signs up for Sport Directorship programme 6  7 Times Higher Education Awards shortlist recognises success in business and

entrepreneurial excellence

Honorary degrees for stars of science, sport, arts and business 8  Help create a Greater Manchester dialect map 9 10 Tributes paid to former Chancellor, His Grace The Duke of Westminster


How you can support our First Generation campaign to transform young 12  people’s lives

18 The digital revolution shaping our world 24  A sense of the place: Inside The Manchester Writing School – its luminary leaders and alumni, and the contemporary literary movement in place writing

30  Exclusive: New Chancellor Lord Mandelson shares his vision for Manchester Metropolitan University

36  The role of forensic expertise in fighting crime


Wake up and smell the coffee: Saving the planet one cup at a time

44  Meet the Manchester School of Art future stars whose careers are taking flight 56  Lessons from the playground with Professor Nicola Whitton

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Cover image: Bex Ilsley’s ethereal LED-winged angel Art School Future Stars see page 44

Healthy and happy lives: Introducing the Manchester Movement The truth about lower back pain


Students’ Union President Lewis Bartlett outlines the mental health benefits 11  of keeping active

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins on ensuring Greater Manchester Police is 51  representative of the communities it serves

Transport for Greater Manchester Chief Executive Dr Jon Lamonte has a plan 52  to keep the region moving

Dr Damian Mather explores the future for Brexit Britain 53  It’s time to challenge the single story of Africa, says Lecturer Dr Louisa 54  Uchum Egbunike

People 16 Shaped by the city: Alumni making waves around the world 65

A week in the life of… Clare Knox-Bentham


Food and drink: Debunking the myth of the clean eating movement; 62  Five new restaurant openings in Manchester

64 66 67

What’s on your bookshelf? Culture vultures: The pick of what’s on What’s on listings Autumn 2016


A message from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Malcolm Press


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ollowing the tremendous success of the launch of Met Magazine, this second edition coincides with the beginning of an exciting new academic year. It is a wonderful time of activity, ambition and aspiration as we welcome thousands of new and returning students across the University. I am confident that you will discover these themes resonating throughout the pages that follow. We are hugely proud of the achievements of The Manchester Writing School, which has added to its already outstanding collection of prizes with yet further recognition. Graduate Andrew Michael Hurley won the Costa First Novel Award with The Loney, which was also crowned Book of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards 2016. On top of this, Wyl Menmuir’s graduation this summer coincided with the tremendous news that his first novel, The Many, had been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. We wish both Wyl and Andrew every success with the exciting journeys that lie ahead. As well as producing awardwinning novelists and poets, the Writing School devotes expertise to making a difference to the wider community. In the pages that follow, find out more about these activities and the vision of its Director, Poet Laureate Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy. Across all areas of the University, we pride ourselves on our innovation as well as our creativity. You can read about Manchester Metropolitan’s

take on the digital revolution, which encompasses 3D printing of prosthetic eyeballs, and the provision of space to nurture cutting-edge tech start-ups. In June, we marked the installation of our new Chancellor, Lord Mandelson, in the presence of over 350 guests, students and members of the University in the historic surroundings of Manchester Town Hall. We include an interview with Lord Mandelson, in which he discusses what makes Manchester Metropolitan special, and his aspirations for his term of office as Chancellor. His passion for the North, for Manchester, and for our University shine through, and I am excited about what we can achieve by combining our vision and ambition with his business and international acumen. As he says, we are ‘a thinking, inventing, doing place’, attributes that will be essential as we navigate the challenges that all British universities face during these times of change. All of this illustrates the passion and commitment that I encounter daily at Manchester Metropolitan. And it prompts me to reflect on the young people who will join us in future years. Are we doing our utmost to ensure that we are casting our net wide enough, that we are making higher education a real possibility for everyone with the potential to benefit from it? Universities are not only drivers of economic growth but also catalysts for societal advancement. We must address the fact that for some young people,

the opportunity of a university education might appear closed off to them, particulary if they haven’t grown up with role models who have been successful in this regard. We have an important role to play in ensuring that all those who can benefit from gaining a degree have the opportunity to do so. With this in mind, we are launching First Generation, a unique scheme aimed at reaching out to communities where young people have not traditionally attended university. First Generation will support gifted individuals throughout their student journey, from application to coping with the demands of a degree course, to graduation and the fulfilment of their ambitions. First Generation is an expression of the commitment of Manchester Metropolitan University to the future. It signals the importance that we attach to higher education as a force for good. With generous support from our donors, we will work with schools and colleges to mentor pupils who have the greatest potential to succeed, but don’t come from an environment where going to university is the norm. Find out more about what we’re doing and how you can become involved. I hope that you’ll enjoy reading this edition of Met Magazine. Our aim is to bring you something novel, informative and inspiring, so that you’ll get a better insight into the extraordinary and diverse suite of activities that make Manchester Metropolitan University such a great place to work and study.

Autumn/Winter 2016



Gold medals galore for our Paralympic heroes University Sport Scholars and supported athletes enjoyed incredible success at this year’s Rio Paralympic and Olympic games with new world records and an impressive medal haul. Sport scholar Kadeena Cox (pictured right) made her Paralympic debut this year and achieved four medals across two different sports – cycling and athletics – becoming the face of Team GB’s Paralympic squad in the process. Kadeena is not only the first Briton in 28 years to win medals in two sports at one Games, she’s also the first in 32 years to secure golds in two sports at the same Paralympics. Her wins came in the velodrome in the cycling time trial and on the athletics track in the Maracanã Stadium in the 400m – and she set new world records in both events. Kadeena also claimed a bronze medal in the individual 100m on the track and a silver in 4x100m relay. Kadeena said: “I went into the Games wanting to push boundaries to show people that it could be done. “I had intentions to help a lot of people with chronic illnesses and invisible illnesses, or just any setbacks. Even with setbacks, you can still achieve things and with illnesses, there is still something out there for you. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved with sport.

Credit: onEdition

“I’m looking forward to getting back involved with the University side of things – I can’t wait to get back properly and study.” Kadeena’s success resulted in her being given the honour of being the flag bearer for Team GB in the closing ceremony. She will now recommence her BSc Physiotherapy degree having suspended her studies to concentrate on her Paralympic ambitions. Sport scholar Helen Scott also saw success at the Paralympics. The BSc Sport and Exercise Science student acts as tandem pilot to the visually impaired cyclist Sophie Thornhill. The pair won gold in the Women’s B kilo after clocking in at 1 minute 6.283 seconds – breaking the Paralympic record set moments before. They went

on to add to the gold medal with a bronze medal in the 3000m individual pursuit. Dame Sarah Storey won two Paralympic cycling golds to take her career gold medal total across swimming and cycling to 14, a record for a female GB Paralympic athlete. The University has supported Dame Sarah in her training in the run-up to many of her major successes at its sport science laboratories on the Cheshire campus. Olympian Holly Bradshaw vaulted her way to fifth place in Rio. The British record holder and seven-time British champion is continuing her BSc in Sport Exercise and Science through the University’s distance-learning offering after moving to Cardiff for training.

Sport stars enrol at Manchester Metropolitan The next generation of sport industry leaders has joined the University as part of its executive Master of Sport Directorship programme. Students include former England football team manager Steve McClaren (pictured left), former England Rugby Union international Mark Cueto, Manchester City Women’s FC and England Women goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, and Mike Rush, Chief Executive of St Helens Rugby Football Club. The star-studded course is the only one of its kind in the UK. The part-time, two-year executive programme has been running for three years in conjunction with Visionary Sports Investment. Dr Sara Ward, Director of MBA and Executive Programmes, said: “Our Master of Sport Directorship is at the forefront of equipping sports leaders with the necessary business attributes to excel as Sport Directors. “Our alumni have secured high-profile roles across the sporting industry, bringing innovative ideas that are helping to deliver excellence in leadership, personal development, innovation and governance.” Former students include Ashley Giles, Lancashire County Cricket Club coach, and Steve Round, who was recently appointed Technical Director at Aston Villa FC.


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University continues to challenge for top awards The University has been shortlisted for two prestigious Times Higher Education Awards (THE). Manchester Metropolitan is in the running for the Entrepreneurial University of the Year Award and the Business School of the Year Award. Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press said: “As a University, we’re dedicated to providing the skills needed to help businesses and employees thrive, driven by our researchinformed teaching and training. The nominations are testament to our commitment to nurturing entrepreneurial talent and to the excellence across our worldleading Business School.” The awards take place on Thursday, November 24. It has been an extremely successful year for the Business School after being awarded the prestigious international AACSB accreditation and being named the Business School of the Year at the Educate North Awards Professor Julia Clarke, ProVice-Chancellor of the Faculty

of Business and Law, said: “We continue to thrive as a leading centre for business innovation, commercial partnerships, teaching and research.” The Business School was also nominated for Research Project of the Year for Professor Carol Atkinson’s work on behalf of the Welsh government analysing pay and conditions in the domiciliary care sector. Manchester Law School was also shortlisted for the Solicitors Journal’s Legal Education Provider of the Year Award. Previously, the University was named a Centre for Excellence for Entrepreneurship at the House of Lords.

Universities to explore training extra medics

As a University, we’re dedicated to providing the skills needed to help businesses and employees thrive

Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Manchester and The University of Salford are working together to explore proposals to train health professionals starting with a new independent, international medical school to train more doctors. The proposal draws on the breadth of experience across all three universities in educating and training healthcare and medical professionals. The new School will have an international focus, and will allow the most talented applicants from abroad to benefit from the breadth of skills and knowledge at all three universities. The principles of the future collaboration represents a further development in the devolution of Greater Manchester’s healthcare system, so-called ‘DevoManc’.

Academic standards hit quality standard

Graduate recruitment service launched

An innovative scheme to bring employers to the graduates they need has been launched by Manchester Metropolitan’s Careers and Employability Service. Talent Match offers a range of graduate recruitment services. The primary aim of the not-forprofit service is to match skilled graduates to the specific needs of employers, saving them time and money. A range of services are currently available from Talent Match, including: free vacancy advertising within the

University; recruiting, including CV screening, skills evaluation and preliminary interviewing; troubleshooting and problem solving; targeted promotion of vacancies; and connecting schools with newly qualified teachers. The service will focus on clients based within the Greater Manchester region and graduate candidates currently living or seeking to live and work within the region. Talent Match provides access to graduate talent for those smaller and medium-sized (SME) employers which do not have high-profile graduate schemes or struggle to recruit the skills required to support their growth and development. Talent Match has a particular focus on the positive career opportunities that exist within the region’s high-growth SMEs including Legal Services, Finance and Accounting, and Marketing and PR.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has confirmed the quality and standards of provision at Manchester Metropolitan University following its review in April 2016. A team of QAA reviewers visited the University and judged that its academic standards, the quality and enhancement of its student learning opportunities, and the quality of information about its learning opportunities all meet UK expectations. A successful review means that the University can display the QAA Quality Mark, indicating to UK and international students that it meets national requirements for standards and quality.


Visit to read more news about Manchester Metropolitan

Autumn/Winter 2016


Lord Mandelson installed as Chancellor

Arts and sport figures honoured at graduations

The Rt Hon Lord Mandelson has been officially installed as Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University during a grand ceremony at Manchester Town Hall. The former Labour minister and European Trade Commissioner was presented as Chancellor, becoming the University’s fourth such figurehead. Lord Mandelson was installed as Chancellor by Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press and ProChancellor Vanda Murray OBE. He was also presented with an honorary Doctor of Letters in front of more than 300 University members, leading lights from the business community, political leaders and student representatives. Lord Mandelson spoke of his pride at joining the University. He said: “What struck me about everyone at Manchester Metropolitan is the excitement and ambition. The students, the staff, the plans for the future. It is going to be so exciting to be involved and I think it’s going to be tremendous fun.” Lord Mandelson was appointed to the role of Chancellor from April 2016 for a five-year term, succeeding Dame Dianne Thompson DBE. To see the full video of the ceremony, log on to: Turn to page 30 to read our special feature and interview with Lord Mandelson.

Boxer Amir Khan and arts figurehead Maria Balshaw were among the names receiving honorary degrees from the University this year. Also being honoured were former Manchester Metropolitan Vice-Chancellor Professor John Brooks, technology entrepreneur Lawrence Jones, former University governor Peter Budd, businessman Michael Blackburn, Lord-Lieutenant Warren Smith JP and sport scientist Dr Stephen McGregor. In total, more than 7,500 students crossed the stage and received their degrees at the ceremonies, which once again took place at the Bridgewater Hall. University Chancellor Lord Mandelson said at the final graduation ceremony: “This great occasion is really a very significant milestone in the lives of you all. The completion, so far at any rate, of an educational journey, is a moment of celebration and joy. As your new Chancellor, I know the ceremony is going to be the highlight of my own year and I feel hugely proud and really very privileged to be here today presiding at this ceremony. “The future is going to bring great change in your lives, but change for which you are better prepared and better equipped as a result of your university education.”

I wanted to be a people’s champion and recognition like this – getting honoured – it’s going to help make me a people’s champion



Amir Khan (pictured above) told students: “I’ve always said I wanted to be a people’s champion and recognition like this – getting honoured – it’s going to help make me a people’s champion. I don’t want to be seen as just a boxer, but also a good person outside of the boxing ring as well.” Maria Balshaw praised students’ energy and creativity. She said: “The life of the students at the University makes the city the dynamic, energetic place that it is. My advice to graduates is to follow your best and worst ideas and throw yourself into whatever makes your heart sing.”

Universities join forces to fight dementia

L to R: Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Greene, Manchester Metropolitan, Vice-President Professor Ian Greer, University of Manchester, Dr Ann Johnson, Alzheimer’s Society, and Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor Tony Warne, University of Salford


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Manchester Metropolitan, Manchester and Salford universities are teaming up in a new initiative to combat dementia in the region and beyond. Manchester Metropolitan will be researching new ways to protect the brain against stroke-associated dementia by stopping harmful post-stroke proteins. There is also a keen focus on promoting independent living in people with dementia. In addition the University has launched a new project analysing GPS-enabled wristbands that can cut social isolation. Professor Mark Slevin, Director of Manchester Metropolitan’s Healthcare Science Research Centre, said: “Dementia is one of the biggest health and wellbeing challenges we face in society. By combining our knowledge, experience and disciplines, we’re able to call upon a powerful research resource that will ensure we’re among the best equipped regions worldwide to tackle dementia.” To be known as the Greater Manchester Dementia Consortium, the new memorandum of understanding will run for an initial two years.

University named second most inclusive employer in the UK Manchester Metropolitan University has been named the second most inclusive employer in the UK. The Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers list showcases leading organisations working across all strands of diversity. The list is compiled by the Excellence in Diversity Awards, whiched named the University as the winner of the Diverse Company Award for Education this year. Demonstrating the promotion of all strands of diversity

including age, disability, gender, LGBT, race, faith and religion, the definitive list focuses on representation at management, senior, executive and board level. Equality and Diversity Manager Stuart McKenna said: “I am absolutely delighted that Manchester Metropolitan University has not only made the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers, but that we have achieved such a high ranking. Coming second place in the top 50 is a real recognition of the work, not just of the Equality and Diversity

Team, but of staff across the organisation who have shown a genuine commitment and drive to delivering an inclusive experience for our staff.” The list has been collated based on each organisation’s performance on a range of areas within the diversity arena. Organisations featured have provided evidence on a number of topics including recruitment procedures, training and a host of diversity-related initiatives. To find out more, please visit

2nd most inclusive EMPLOYER

in the UK

Help create a Greater Manchester dialect map

People in Greater Manchester are involved in creating a dialect map of the region with researchers from Manchester Metropolitan. Residents can visit the new website and draw shapes representing where they think people speak differently from one another, name the dialects, describe them, and give examples of the sounds, words and grammar that

they think characterise each area. This is a ‘perceptual dialectology’ project that asks non-experts to identify where local accents and dialects are spoken and to express their attitudes towards them. It helps linguists to understand the social and cultural meanings attached to the way people speak. Maps submitted via the site will be used to create a sophisticated dialect map of Greater Manchester. It will show where distinctive dialect areas are perceived to exist, how these dialects are described, and which linguistic features are thought to characterise them.

The final map will be displayed in an exhibition to take place in Summer 2017, organised as part of the University’s series of events celebrating local identities. The dialect map project is one of a series of research projects investigating the accents and dialects of Greater Manchester. The research seeks to help us understand the ways in which our use of language makes us who we are. The projects are being run by sociolinguists Dr Rob Drummond and Dr Erin Carrie. Visit manchesterdialectmap. org to start creating your map.

Diabetes increases fall risk, research shows Muscle weakness in diabetes patients affects more areas of the leg than previously thought and increases the risk of falls, according to research done at Manchester Metropolitan University. It is well understood that diabetes causes muscle weakness, but it was believed to be confined just to the distal muscles towards the end of the leg, such as in the calf muscle. However, research published in Diabetes Care, demonstrates that diabetes patients have substantial proximal muscle weakness – muscles further up the leg that include the quadriceps. This extended weakness has consequences for patients’ ability to perform everyday tasks and exacerbates the negative effects of the diabetic condition. A greater

muscle weakness is also associated with a higher susceptibility of falling, thereby increasing the risk of injury. Professor Neil Reeves, Professor of Musculoskeletal Biomechanics, said: “This muscle weakness with diabetes has important implications, meaning that patients may find everyday tasks more difficult and struggle to meet the demands of some tasks, thereby initiating a negative cycle of reduced activity, which negatively affects their diabetic condition.” Typically, it is thought that the area of muscle is proportional to the force that the muscle can produce, so in other words, larger muscles are stronger. However, researchers showed that in people with diabetes the area of muscle present is not capable of producing

the force we might expect based on its size – and this is due to the ‘infiltration’ of fat within the muscle. The study is part of a series at Manchester Metropolitan to analyse the impact of diabetes, previously demonstrating that patients are more likely to suffer falls and expend more energy to perform everyday tasks. L

Left: the thigh muscle of a participant without diabetes Right: the thigh muscle of a diabetes patient


Autumn/Winter 2016


Tributes paid to former Chancellor

The University has paid tribute to its former Chancellor, His Grace The Duke of Westminster, who passed away in August. Major-General Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, KG, CB, CVO, OBE, TD, CD, DL, served as the first Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University from 1993 to 2002. The Duke was an integral part of the team that helped Manchester Metropolitan transform and grow during its

formative years as a university. He was committed to higher education and also served as Chancellor of the University of Keele and was the serving Chancellor of the University of Chester. Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of His Grace the Duke of Westminster. “The Duke played an integral role at Manchester Metropolitan, and is warmly remembered by all who had the opportunity to work alongside him and benefit from his invaluable leadership. “The loss is felt by all within Manchester Metropolitan and the Duke remains a treasured member of our University family having served with distinction for nine years. “We would like to express our deepest condolences.” The Duke led an international property group and supported numerous charities, alongside his work within higher education.

Manchester School of Art in Rio


RISER In the Complete University Guide 2017

Formula Student team race to top 10 UK finish Engineering students secured Manchester Metropolitan’s highest position in the Formula Student competition after finishing in the UK top 10. The team competed against 130 others from across the globe with a racing car they have been designing, developing and building during the 2015 to 2016 academic year. The car was put through its paces at the home of British racing, Silverstone, to secure MMURacing’s highest finish in the tournament, coming eighth out of all UK teams. The team also won the IMechE award for most effective communication strategy.


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The Connected Explorers, a student and staff team from Manchester School of Art, were in Brazil during the Rio Olympics to represent the UK’s Education for the Creative Industries at the British Consulate. For Education Day, the team presented at British House, the official Team GB base in Rio, meeting winning athletes, celebrities and leaders in Brazil, as well as sharing their project and digital tapestry. Consisting of images showcasing Manchester’s sporting and cultural excellence, the multimedia tapestry project spanned two cities with a big screen at British House and a display at HOME in Manchester to deliver a legacy of engagement after the Games.

University continues to climb league tables UK top 10 Formula Student COMPETITION

Manchester Metropolitan’s excellence and continued development has been reflected through continued upward progression in a series of league tables published in 2016. The University climbed 16 places, which is the largest rise of any university in this year’s table, in the Complete University Guide 2017. This improvement was added to by Manchester Metropolitan being named as one of the best young universities in the world after being included in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) 150 Under 50 for the first time. It was also placed among the best universities internationally in the THE World University Rankings. The University ranked 64th in the UK and remains among the top 3% of universities globally. Manchester Metropolitan also climbed 17 places in the Guardian University Guide and five places in this year’s Sunday Times Good University Guide.


The mental health benefits of sport are much more valuable than the physical benefits Lewis Bartlett, President of the Students’ Union at Manchester Metropolitan, discusses the benefits of exercise


n my five years at this great institution, I have witnessed students, including myself, struggling with stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. However, I have also seen how getting involved with what The Union and the University have to offer can benefit students as individuals and improve their potential to develop academically. Reports suggest that, since 2010, mental health issues nationally in young people have increased significantly. We have seen approximately £600 million worth of cuts to the mental health sector, even though the amount of people seeking these services has grown from 500,000 a year to 1.7 million. This has reportedly put massive pressure on NHS-led facilities, as well as local council, university and union services up and down the country. Unfortunately, we cannot tell the government to increase the funding to these services overnight, so I would like to highlight how participating in physical activity can help to improve mental health and wellbeing for our students. Sport, in particular the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games, has brought a huge sense of national pride to the UK. We all thought that London 2012 would be hard to replicate, but it does seem that ‘inspiring a generation’ has had exactly the impact everyone was hoping for, and improving on our medals tally this year in Rio has been incredible. There have been several reports about athletes who suffer from depression and other mental health conditions, but they reiterate how important it is to carry on participating in physical activity to improve their health, and actively encourage all young people to get involved in any way they can. Sport in general has many physical and mental health benefits for young people. Regular

physical activity is said to decrease the risk of strokes and heart disease by as much as 10 per cent, whilst also lowering cholesterol, improving organ health and regulating weight. Studies suggest that it also helps to strengthen bones and muscles, which in turn puts less strain on the weaker areas of the body, such as the ankles, knees and hips. It is also reported that an increase in the strength and versatility of these joints helps to keep the body free from pain, which can decrease stress and insomnia. However, in my opinion, the benefits that sport has to an individual’s mental health are much more valuable than the physical benefits. Research suggests that an increase in activity levels enables people to think more clearly, have a greater sense of calm, reduce their risk of developing anxiety and depression and improve their overall self-esteem. It also helps to increase energy levels and improve sleep, all while providing the opportunity to make new friends, socialise and have fun. Where’s the downside? Although it is easy for me to encourage people to participate, I also know the challenges that people with mental health conditions have to overcome. Getting involved with physical activity and sport, especially University team sports, can seem

daunting. I’d like to highlight a few tips for those who may be hesitant to jump in at the deep end. Start off small and work something in to your schedule without putting yourself out – maybe walk to work or University or take up cycling. Find something that you and your friends will enjoy and do it together – encourage them to try something new with you. Most importantly, do something you enjoy. It is a lot easier to feel comfortable if you are doing something that makes you happy. If you are not sure of what you want to do, MMU Sport has a full range of free Active Campus sessions. See the full range of activities here:

Autumn/Winter 2016


A complete student journey of support

First Generation is an exciting new campaign to unlock the potential in 500 young people by supporting them to become the first members of their families to attend university. Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press and other founder donors reveal why they are backing the Manchester Metropolitan University initiative

2k Funds one First Generation scholar


ÂŁ10k A gift of ÂŁ10k will transform the lives of five students

We will support 50 students every year

Every pound raised will make a diference


MILL ON Aiming to raise ÂŁ1 million by 2020


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FEATURE First Generation Student “At college there was a seminar about the benefits of going to university and that explained what being first generation meant. They gave the example of Barack Obama, and I thought, ‘if he can do it, then why not me?’” Hussain El-Amin BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance 2014 MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management


firmly believe that universities transform people’s lives. They allow them to discover who they are, to be who they want to be, and achieve their ambitions.” Those are the words of ViceChancellor Professor Malcolm Press, as Manchester Metropolitan University launches a unique scheme aimed at ensuring the opportunity of a university education is available to as many people as possible. Manchester Metropolitan’s ambitious First Generation campaign will identify gifted and talented young people, from families with no university experience, and give them the life-changing opportunities that academic enlightenment can bring. Imagine the social, economic and personal impact on the young person of getting the opportunity to complete a degree and achieve their full potential. Targeting Manchester sixth form college students who have excelled in their GCSE examinations, First Generation will help the brightest young people to secure an undergraduate place at university and then, for those who choose Manchester Metropolitan, provide them with continued professional and personal support throughout their studies, to graduation and into employment. Participants will also receive a £1,000 First Generation Scholarship. The goal is to ensure that young people from all socioeconomic backgrounds are represented on campus. It will provide a boost for the private and public sector in the region by helping to create the strongest possible talent

pool to support future growth of the UK economy. Participating individuals and companies will be able to contribute financially and through mentoring support. The first cohort of 50 First Generation students will be selected in March 2017 and granted a free summer school place. They will be supported in completing their university application and mentored. If successful in meeting the requirements of the scheme, they will start their undergraduate degrees in September 2018. It is hoped that the First Generation campaign will raise the funds to support 500 young people by 2020. First Generation’s success is a personal goal for the ViceChancellor, a First Generation founder donor, and the first member of his own family to attend university. In his first major fundraising initiative as Vice-Chancellor, he is urging financial support from individuals, businesses and groups who have a stake in the future of young people in Greater Manchester. “I think it’s very important to encourage people with an ability, at an early age, to be ambitious, to be confident, and to think about how going to university can change their lives,” he says. “First Generation is a really exciting campaign. It’s about getting people who have had no familial experience of university into university. That doesn’t just mean that they get a better job, a better salary, it means they are more active citizens, their prospects are enhanced, and they actually change society for the good. We need more people who can benefit from a university

I think it’s very important to encourage people with an ability, at an early age, to be ambitious, to be confident, and to think about how going to university can change their lives

education because it’s good for them, it’s good for society, and it’s good for Manchester.” “First Generation could ultimately be self-sustaining,” the Vice-Chancellor adds. “We will get the brightest and the best from across Greater Manchester, working with our partner schools and colleges, and we will invite our staff, our students and our business networks to mentor those people. “When they leave, we’ll help them with jobs, with prospects, with mentoring networks, with alumni networks, so that they can go on and be successful themselves. And my vision is that those people will be the individuals who fund and support future generations.” Every pound raised through First Generation will go directly towards supporting students, with the University covering its own costs. A £10,000 donation will provide funding for five young First Generation students and the campaign has already attracted strong support from individual and corporate donors alike.

Professor Malcolm Press

Autumn/Winter 2016


Had I not gone to university, I don’t think the world of possibilities would have opened up to me the way that it has

Mike Perls

Mike Perls is Chief Executive of MC2, a strategic marketing agency based in Manchester and San Francisco. He completed a postgraduate degree in marketing at Manchester Metropolitan and MC2 is a corporate founder donor to First Generation. He says his Manchester Metropolitan education made it possible for him to build a business which enjoys global success and wants others to have the opportunities he had. “Had I not gone to university, I don’t think the world of possibilities would have opened up to me the way that it has,” says Perls, a member of the University’s Board of Governors. “The First Generation campaign will act as an effective nudge for the talent in places that we don’t tend to look for talent. There will be areas in east Manchester, areas all around Manchester, where you’ve got people with incredible intelligence, incredible potential, who don’t normally get the opportunities that maybe I had. First Generation will act as a catalyst for them to reach their potential, and will hopefully act as a catalyst for other interventions that will make a difference. “At MC2 we have an essence which is to make a difference. It’s not just a strapline, it’s something we actually do, both with the people who work here, the clients we work with, but also the communities we work in. We, as a business, are a founder donor of the First Generation campaign. We believe that, as part of the collective of founder donors, we will help make a difference to 50


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I was the first person to go to university in my family and though I knew it was an important step for me, I underestimated how much higher education would transform my life

people in the first cohort.” Another First Generation founder donor is Vanda Murray OBE. As well as serving as Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors at Manchester Metropolitan, she holds a portfolio of Non-Executive Directorships and is a member of the Manchester Growth Company Board. She said: “I was the first person to go to university in my family and though I knew it was an important step for me, I underestimated how much higher education would transform my life. My career has opened up new worlds and new experiences for me – opportunities I would never have had were it not for the education, work experience and belief in lifetime learning, which I obtained during my degree. “The First Generation programme will reach out to young people at a critical point in their lives, raising their ambitions and encouraging and supporting them to fulfil their potential. It is a hugely important initiative and will be life-changing for so many young people. I am immensely proud to be a First Generation campaign founder donor.”

Vanda Murray

Manchester Metropolitan masters student Hussain ElAmin, 24, who grew up in Old Trafford, Manchester, is one of three siblings to have attended the University, the first generation of students from their family to gain a university education. He understands the potential for First Generation to make a difference and will be part of the mentoring team supporting participants Hussain studied accountancy and finance at Manchester Metropolitan and is now

continuing his studies in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, while working full time as a community officer with the Manchester Metropolitan’s Student Union. “Although my parents didn’t go to university, they placed an emphasis on us going into further education,” he says. “They see it as an important part of our lives. Leaving school, I thought that I disagreed: I wanted to go straight into work. I carried that through to college. At college there was a seminar about the benefits of going to university and that explained what being first generation meant. They gave the example of Barack Obama, and I thought, ‘if he can do it, then why not me?’ “University isn’t just about getting a degree. There’s more to it than that. There’s the extracurricular opportunities, the things that happen outside of the lecture hall. “Some of the people I went to school and college with went straight into work and are doing really well. Others, like me, went to university. But some went straight into work and are struggling at the moment. It’s not that they aren’t talented, or don’t have the intellectual ability, it’s that work didn’t go so well for them and they don’t have a university degree to back their prospects. “A university degree is a box you have to tick these days, but on top of that, there are the different opportunities and skills that you get from going to university. University can be just about lectures, seminars and tutorials, but people need to come out of their own comfort zone and make it more than that. I think First Generation will make a massive difference in ensuring people get good results, that they succeed in completing their degree, and get the best possible job prospects. “For Manchester Metropolitan to launch this initiative is great. It sends out the message that we don’t just talk about being diverse and inclusive, we’re doing something about it. We’re going to local colleges and finding the students who might never have thought about going to university or considered that career path, especially those whose parents didn’t go to university. It says a lot about Manchester Metropolitan and that we want to lead on such initiatives.”

Proud to be First Generation founder donors Dame Dianne Thompson DBE was Chief Executive of Camelot Group of Companies, operator of the UK National Lottery, for 14 years. Alongside her successful marketing and business career, she nurtured a unique relationship with Manchester Metropolitan University as a graduate and Honorary Graduate, a former lecturer, and the third Chancellor from 2011 to 2016. She said: “I come from a northern working-class background. My parents made huge sacrifices to give me a great education, culminating in my graduation from Manchester Metropolitan University. I was the first in my family to go to university. Thanks to my education, I have had a wonderful career and I want everyone else, whatever their background, to have the same opportunity.”

Dame Dianne Thompson

Mohammad Habeebullah

Mohammad Habeebullah OBE JP is a Manchester Metropolitan graduate who has been actively involved in the voluntary sector, particularly in the setting up of various employment, training and social enterprise projects in Manchester, Bury and Rochdale. Mohammad served as an Area Youth Manager for Rochdale Council for 29 years and as a director of Rochdale Citizen Bureau for over 15 years. He said: “I have seen first-hand the effects of poverty and lack of opportunity in communities, especially the black and ethnic minority communities. I believe that going to university can help change the course of a person’s life. I am supporting First Generation because I believe that it will help to bring down some of the barriers to success, education and stereotyping that so many young people face.”

The First Generation scheme • Targets the brightest young people who will be the first generation in their family to go to university • Starts with students who excel in their GCSEs and then progress to Year 12 at a local college • Provides a pre-entry residential summer school, application support and peer mentorship to help the participants gain a university place

The First Generation scheme can only happen with the generous and visionary support of our alumni, businesses, partners and the whole University community. We would be delighted to talk further about how you can get involved.

• Offers continued professional and personal support to those that choose Manchester Metropolitan, including graduate and peer mentorships, employment as a Student Ambassador, placements, a residential experience at the end of Year 1, and a scholarship • Students successfully completing the pre-entry elements and subsequently applying to Manchester Metropolitan will be eligible for the University’s Unconditional Offer Scheme Donations to the First Generation campaign will fund the Year 1 residential experience (costing £1,000) and the First Generation scholarship of £1,000. The University will fund all administrative costs so the total cost of one place is £2,000 and every pound donated will go directly to the student participants.

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by the city

Manchester Metropolitan alumni are achieving great things across the world. We caught up with three of our graduates to find out how they are making a difference and what their time at university meant to them

Painting a picture


e hails from Poland, and spends much of his time now in the small American city of Moscow, Idaho, where his Japanese-born wife Nishiki is an assistant professor of art. But ask artist Bartosz Beda where he calls home and the answer is Manchester. Bartosz studied for a BA and MA in fine art at Manchester Metropolitan University. “From the first day, I fell in love with the city,” says Bartosz, who was charmed by Manchester’s history, its industrial heritage and its post-industrial renaissance. The fact that it was a more affordable place to live than, say, London, also helped. “I still have my studio space in Manchester. I try to work a couple of months here (Idaho), a couple of months there.” He is grateful for the way his studies in Manchester supported his development as an artist, citing tutors Sharon Hall, Ian Hartshorne and Pavel Büchler in particular. Bartosz was intrigued by art from the age of seven, and


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Bartosz Beda BA (Hons) Fine Art MA Fine Art

attended a fine art secondary school. He worked on two animated films being produced in Poland, one of which was Peter and the Wolf by Suzie Templeton, which won the Oscar for best animated short film in 2008. He then came to Manchester Metropolitan, and at the end of his BA, Bartosz sold all the paintings from his degree show and was picked up by a London gallery, thus funding his MA. “That helped me focus only on my painting,” he says. In 2012, he was chosen to exhibit in the New Sensations show at London’s Saatchi Gallery. Bartosz won a sixmonth scholarship to study at Dresden Academy of Fine Arts, and he has staged solo shows in Madrid, Bogotá and, of course, Manchester. He is currently working on paintings inspired by his road trips in America. “I still think of Manchester as home, but the more I spend time in the USA, the more I start to feel at home here,” says Bartosz.


Fashion recycled


Manchester is such a vibrant city, I learned a lot about life living there. It opened my eyes, because I am from a small town.

final year project on sustainable fashion was recycled into a successful business by Manchester Metropolitan University graduate Shalize Nicholas. Shalize’s studies for a BA in fashion design and technology included a project – her own idea – in which she produced her own fashion from fabric off-cuts found at car boot sales, end-of-line materials and ‘upcycled’ vintage products. “I have turned a curtain into a party dress before now,” says Shalize, aged 28. Her university project was the basis of the business plan for Madia & Matilda, the clothing brand she launched three years ago. Selling online, through pop-up shops and from a small shop-cum-workshop in her home town of Stroud, Gloucestershire, Shalize sells clothing produced from fabrics which may otherwise be thrown away by factories: end of rolls, or materials with slight defects. She also transforms

vintage clothing (she has a vast “library” of garments harvested from charity shops and the like) into one-off contemporary designs. “It’s a growing feeling in the industry, which started off with eco-friendly fabrics and has grown from there to making things last longer,” says Shalize. Shalize recalls the first piece of clothing she made for herself at the age of 17 – a colourful taffeta skirt. Deciding on a career in fashion, she looked at several universities, including Manchester Metropolitan. “When I went to the open day, I just liked the whole feeling of the place, the facilities, the course, and the fact that it was fashion design and technology. I wanted to know the technology side,” says Shalize. Her course included a spell in industry with Littlewoods and Very in Liverpool, which Shalize says was “a fantastic experience”. The degree also meant living in

a city throbbing with culture and entrepreneurship. “Manchester is such a vibrant city,” says Shalize. “I learned a lot about life living there. It opened my eyes, because I am from a small town.”

Shalize Nicholas BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Technology

Supporting tomorrow’s sport stars


Luke Turner BA (Hons) Coaching and Sports Development MSc Exercise and Sport (Physiology)

s women’s football goes from strength to strength, Manchester Metropolitan University alumnus Luke Turner is helping to produce the stars of the future. As head of sports science at Manchester United’s FA Girls’ Regional Talent Club, Luke uses his knowledge to improve the strength and fitness of players, from under 9s to under 16s. 
“Our aim is to produce as many international players for England as possible, and to produce as many players for the Women’s Super League, the professional league,” says Luke, aged 27, from Cheadle, Stockport. Luke is also assistant manager of Sheffield FC women’s team and a member of the support team for the England Women’s Rugby League squad. His interest in the women’s game stemmed from watching his younger sister Danielle progress from the under 10s team at Manchester United to playing for England. “I was seeing Danielle training and I took an interest in the sessions and how they were doing

things,” says Luke. Coaching at Crewe Alexandra Ladies FC, Luke decided to study for a BA in coaching and sports development at Manchester Metropolitan’s Cheshire campus. “It showed me the different styles of coaching, giving me an academic knowledge base for things I was perhaps doing already, but didn’t know why,” he says. Luke then studied for an MSc in sport and exercise science. “That really helped me grow, and look at things in a different way, from a more scientific point of view,” he says. Studying at a Manchester institution also reminded him of the city’s huge importance in sport. “Manchester has a big history, and a lot of those people have links with Manchester Metropolitan,” says Luke. “When I was there, I met Bobby Charlton, I met Sarah Storey, the Paralympian. A lot of the tutors were involved in international sport, so they were giving us their applied experience rather than just the academic side.”

Autumn/Winter 2016



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Revolution From health to high-tech clothing and radical new collaborative working methods, the digital revolution is transforming the world at an unprecedented rate. Leading by example has provided Manchester Metropolitan University with an enviable position at the forefront of change


t was while serving on a charity health project in Bangladesh that Dr Liz Gill witnessed the tragic scenes that would lead to the most fulfilling project of her career. Moved by the pathetic sight of countless poverty-stricken people, open scars where missing eyes had once been, Dr Gill wondered whether there might be a way to fix their cruel and stigmatising disfigurements. Incredibly, the answer lay in the digital revolution. Utilising 3D digital scanners and printers, she has now perfected a way to create prosthetic copies of the human eye, and at a fraction of the cost that was traditionally possible. Prosthetics that were once well beyond the reach of people in the developing world are now becoming affordable. The principle has already been extended to other parts of the body and Dr Gill is actively making the case for Manchester Metropolitan University to provide an invaluable service to clinicians treating patients across the NHS, indeed the world. – See Healthcare case study on page 21. “This work has created endless possibilities to improve lives and support the NHS,” says Dr Gill, who is a Manchester Metropolitan research fellow.

“But it also presents students with an opportunity to use this technology to design new and exciting ways of doing things that we haven’t even imagined yet.” Dr Gill’s work to develop patented technology for the production of prosthetic eyes is among the most tangible examples of the way that Manchester Metropolitan has forged a leading role in the digital revolution. Key to the University’s success has been grasping the importance of collaboration among disparate groups of people, who might have previously had no reason to work together. There is now growing evidence that amazing things can happen when brilliant minds with very different skillsets co-operate. Their common ground is shared interest in digital technology. In the case of the prosthetic eyes, digital has brought together medical science, designers and 3D printing specialists. The all-pervasive influence of “digital”, and the way that it crosses boundaries like never before, has ushered in a new era of collaboration between partners on and off campus, working across a broad range of fields. Nothing illustrates this point better than the work being done within The Shed, home to Manchester Metropolitan’s

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Digital Innovation initiative, 3D printing equipment and the Innospace business incubator unit for start-ups. The Shed is where representatives from faculties across the University are bringing their unique perspective to collaborative projects that serve to exemplify the current state of digital. Professionals, students and academics, apparently with little in common, are now working together to achieve goals that are only now being defined. For Paul Bason, Director of Digital Innovation at Manchester Metropolitan, The Shed is where some of the most exciting evidence of the digital revolution is visible. He shows Met Magazine a space where there is collaboration between departments that might have had no reason to rub shoulders in the days before digital. “It’s here that we’ll see people from creative multimedia from the Manchester School of Art working alongside students from the Manchester Fashion Institute on wearable technology, supported by students within Science Communication,” says Bason. “Who knows what will happen? It’s a tremendously exciting time. One of the most amazing things is the speed of change.” If that wasn’t enough, the digital economy is leading Manchester Metropolitan to forge new links with external partners – sparking valuable conversations


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with industry and commerce. When a team from the BBC wanted to scope the implications of 360 degree filming technology, they chose Digital Innovation’s home in The Shed. A deal was brokered providing an invaluable work experience opportunity for a Manchester Metropolitan student. Also based in The Shed, Laurie Cooper from the School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology is helping students to secure industry experience through real world digital projects for a diverse range of customers. As an associate director of Manchester Metropolitan’s Digital Labs enterprise unit, he plays a vital role in ensuring that students are ready for the world of work. In fact, Manchester Metropolitan’s success in forging valuable partnerships in the digital space is already recognised beyond the campus. The University’s work was cited in Tech City UK’s publication, The Digital Powerhouse: The Innovation Potential of Tech Clusters in the North. Projects considered worthy of mention included collaboration on the TravelSpirit open source code project for commuter applications and a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Stockport-based logistics company ServicePower. Keith Miller, head of the School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology, says undergraduates are prepared

Paul Bason, Director of Digital Innovation

Digital has brought democracy to the world of commerce, but to break through you need exceptional quality, you need luck and you need backers

for the changing shape of the organisations they will work for, even if the digital revolution has changed their ambitions. “Computer science has underpinned the digital revolution for 20 years,” he says. “Now, the boundaries between academic and corporate world are blurring. Look to the likes of ARM Holdings and Google and you’ll see that their work bases are much more campus-like. “Digital has brought democracy to the world of commerce, but to break through you need exceptional quality, you need luck and you need backers. “The entrepreneurs come from anywhere — we have them on our courses — but entrepreneurs need expertise. “What is also true, increasingly, is that our better students would much rather work for a start-up.” There are other ways in which digital has influenced a new approach at Manchester Metropolitan. Having been among the UK’s first providers of Degree Apprenticeships last year – 60 participants started on the Digital and Technology Solutions programme in October 2015 – the scheme is now expanding. Cyber Security and Data Analytics options have now been added alongside the Business Technology and Software Engineering pathways originally offered. The first wave of apprenticeships involved 11 companies, including Barclays, AstraZeneca, Lloyds, and Thales UK, as well as regional small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) such as MC2, Reality Mine and Shaping Cloud. Integrating work-based training with academic learning, the Digital and Technology Solutions apprenticeship is designed to nurture the kind of IT skills that employers require. Professor Richard Greene, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, believes that the digital revolution has shifted the hierarchy of academia in favour of Manchester Metropolitan. “What is the digital revolution? Clearly, it’s all pervasive,” Prof Greene says. “Where is it happening? In creative and media, in design, in new approaches to manufacturing,

which have progressed from reductive processes entailing the removal of materials, to additive processes, where complex components can be designed on screen and printed out. “All of this is serving to put the focus on the quality of design and approaches to design, whereas 15 years ago, the only limiting step was the complexity of manufacturing. That will re-order the hierarchy of universities. Those that have a quality design offering will move up the hierarchy and that’s really important to us as a university.”

Healthcare Producing prosthetic human eyes can be complex. An innovative method, developed by Dr Liz Gill at Manchester Metropolitan University, offers the ability to rapidly manufacture prostheses, capable of clinical chair side modification, to meet a patient’s individual requirements at a fraction of the cost of current production methods. Substitute ink with human stem cells and one can also print skin for burn victims, or even human cartilage. As a result, scientists and companies worldwide are racing to develop 3D printed products for uses in medicine. Here Dr Gill gives her view on the health implications of the digital revolution: “The future of health care is certainly digital. Many patients require new, custom-made, artificial prostheses to replace areas of the face and body as a result of congenital defects, disease, surgery, or trauma. “The current method of manufacture is complex, time consuming and operator dependent and includes repeat visits to hospital and a significant wait between the first consultation and final delivery/fitting of the prosthesis. This can often be weeks and sometimes months. “The impact of facial disfigurement as a result of trauma, tumour or congenital deformity, cannot be underestimated and affects all aspects of personal and social life leading to social exclusion in some cases. “Prosthetic replacement can significantly enhance a patient’s quality of life, employability,

and improve their psychological wellbeing in terms of reducing mortality and morbidity factors. “The training of competent personnel able to design and manufacture complex facial and body prostheses is extensive, which is recognised throughout the profession of Reconstructive Science. “However, the number of qualified experienced scientists in the UK is decreasing with existing training programmes in a transitional phase resulting in less personnel undertaking existing and future work in the NHS. “The application of computer aided technology [computer aided design] and additive manufacture [computer aided manufacture] allows us the unique advantage of rapid production through an automated process – it will allow us to produce accurately fitting life-like prostheses in a more time and cost effective manner. “The aim is to produce and deliver quality and consistent manufactured prostheses in 36-48 hours as an alternative to current techniques, the goal being to reduce the financial outputs within the NHS. “Scientists using stem cells and/or various forms of scaffolding have taken advantage of 3D printing technologies in a very short period of time, and

many different human parts have been reproduced: skin, ears, nose, eyes, bone, parts of a skull and blood vessels. “The idea of producing human parts is not new — prosthetics have been featured throughout history, with major advances in recent decades. “With 3D printing, one can produce these prosthetics in a fraction of the time, with details that can be easily customised.”

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Enterprise The Digital Labs enterprise unit housed within The Shed provides evidence of the new links that are being forged with commercial partners beyond the University campus. It provides students with opportunities for paid work experience, while potential employers get to know more about the graduate workforce. Two of the projects it has recently been involved in were cited as examples of modern working practices in The Digital Powerhouse report published by Tech City earlier this year. It revealed how Manchester Metropolitan is part of the TravelSpirit consortium – an infrastructure platform with a “commons of code” that developers can use to build open source transport software. The report explains how “tech businesses will be able to dip into accessible source code to build new products and services, which can be sold to municipalities or commuters. TravelSpirit intends to demonstrate that, with the right infrastructure in place, products built on open source code can be a viable alternative to the proprietary software developed by big suppliers.” Another project singled out for praise was a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Stockportbased logistics company ServicePower. Highlighting the value of


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KTPs, student placements and consultancy work as ways in which universities can collaborate with tech businesses, the Tech City report states: “A good example of a recent partnership is that between Manchester Metropolitan University and a Stockport-based logistics company called ServicePower. Through a KTP, ServicePower worked with researchers at MMU to develop a quantum computing programme that could optimise the fastest routes for vehicle delivery.” Laurie Cooper is enterprise associate in the Digital Labs in The Shed, providing programming services in the way that any commercial digital lab would, while also mentoring student talent. “What we are offering students is the experience of a proper company – getting them ready to understand what is expected of them,” he says. “The external partners we work with come to us because we are cheaper but also because of our ability to put together perfect teams from across the University. It also works as a recruitment tool. Companies get to see how students work.”

The Shed digital innovation centre The Shed houses an affordable incubator unit for start-up companies and solo entrepreneurs, but is also a place which serves to illustrate

the spirit of collaboration and innovation at the heart of the University. The hot-desk facilities within Innospace can be used for as little as £50 per month, providing digital entrepreneurs with a firm base, the backing of likeminded individuals, and a prime Manchester city centre postcode. Collaborations between faculties and the outside world are becoming increasingly important and this building provides a focal point for much of that work too. It was here that a team from the BBC chose to explore the potential for immersive ‘360 degree’ filmmaking – providing invaluable work experience opportunities for a student. Other organisations who utilise the space include the Raspberry Pi Foundation, who host Manchester’s Raspberry Jam Saturday school for users of the Raspberry Pi affordable computer. Other facilities within The Shed include a media production space which is used in the production of a number of weekly podcasts, and an Internet of Things lab, where the devices that will shape the future are being tested and brought to life. From wearable technology to augmented reality and the ‘Internet Of Things’, Manchester Metropolitan is leading the way. To find out more about how you can become part of the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Digital Revolution, visit

Fashion Digital fashion designer Andrea Zapp has an office in The Shed at Manchester Metropolitan… and a following across the art world. A Senior Research Fellow in Media Arts at the Manchester School of Art, she has focused her artistic practice on narrative digital imagery for fabric and fashion design, embroidery and sculpture. In 2014 she set up a spin out company with the University that benefited from collaborative research between the School of Art, Hollings and the Business School. She describes her AZ. conceptual fashion label as “a canvas for intricate digital imagery” and produces items of clothing and accessories that serve to exemplify the difference that new technology has made to fashion and print. Her distinctive photography forms the bases for AZ. designs with unaltered and unusual photo-real imagery that is carefully mapped onto patterns, creating outstanding textures and accentuating garment shapes. In her launch collection, Zapp translated photographic searches from her global travels into a unique visual portfolio on fabric, with photo-realistic shapes and inspirations forming the essence of each stunning handmade garment.

Since then the brand has showcased at international fashion weeks and galleries and has also built a profile in site-specific design stories with exclusive limited editions being commissioned by museums and other public partners in the UK. Presently, Zapp is investigating the potential of digital technology embedded into smart materials. “I am curious to prototype with scientists what I would call ‘printerless’ digital-visual fabric concepts such as the upload of imagery and via new ink formulations,” she says. “It’s a new and exciting approach but it harks back to my interactive media installation work. “In that context I am working now also for an upcoming exhibition on a networked garment that changes in colour and pattern via wireless network inputs.”

Augmented reality What would Albert Einstein make of the digital revolution? Just imagine if there was a way for the world’s most famous thinker to speak on the subject. Well he can, kind of… Einstein was one of a number of key scientific figures brought back to life through the medium of augmented reality by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Projects Officer for Augmented Reality, Tor Yip. Part of a project developed for the European City of Science event in Manchester, other late and great scientific figures brought back to life included Alan Turing, John Dalton and Elizabeth Gaskell. The Talking Scientists were viewed hundreds of times by visitors to the European City of Science week event. Visitors who

downloaded the Wikitude app were able to see the static images come to life on their smartphones. Tor says that gaining exposure for Manchester Metropolitan through the European City of Science week event was invaluable, with visiting scientists from across the world now keen to collaborate on further projects. “Augmented reality is a tremendous tool for teaching and sharing information,” he adds. “We’ve been incredibly busy helping faculties across the University with individual projects and have also been able to demonstrate the value of augmented reality through projects with external partners, including organisers of the European City of Science festival, who approached us for support.”

Other augmented reality projects include support for the Business School, summer school outreach programme and an initiative that helped the University’s Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching bring a microbial fuel cell to life.

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of place

A new chapter is opening for The Manchester Writing School, which has now added a new place writing strand. Met Magazine explores the history of the Writing School, explores what place writing involves and speaks to the school’s director, Poet Laureate Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy.


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nyone walking past No. 70 Oxford Street, the current home of the Manchester Writing School, would be forgiven for being startled by the frequent whoops of delight emanating from its walls. The School – led by the Poet Laureate Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy – seems to produce more than its fair share of award winners and nominees. Andrew Michael Hurley, winner of the Costa First Novel Award for The Loney — a former student and now lecturer. Wyl Menmuir, longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize ­— a recent graduate. Michael Symmons Roberts, one of the country’s most garlanded poets, with a shelf groaning under the weight of literary prizes — Professor of Poetry. It seems nigh on impossible to turn a corner without bumping into a literary heavyweight or a hotly-tipped bright young thing. It’s one of the toughest Writing Schools to gain admission to in the country. Yet this is no gilded tower where distant scholars sit around discussing Baudelaire and Proust. Despite its undeniable cachet, this is a group of writers that passionately believe in getting out into the community – be that performing at the Royal Exchange Theatre or hosting the Manchester Children’s Book Festival. And neither is the School inwardlooking – each year the Manchester Writing Competition rewards the most talented new authors from around the world. Many of these projects are driven by the School’s Creative Director, Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy. Since her elevation to Poet Laureate in 2009, the nation’s foremost poet has had the power to get things done. And she does. James Draper, Manager of The Manchester Writing School, sums it up, saying: “From then it really has been a different level because she has that power to say ‘I’d like my team to do these things’. As

Creative Director she can be a global ambassador; come up with the really big ideas. She is the heart and spirit of the school.” Draper adds that the School has gone out and worked with partners “even when it was unfashionable”. One of the first schemes was the monthly “Carol Ann Duffy and Friends” events at the Royal Exchange Theatre, where students have the opportunity to appear alongside Carol Ann and another star poet in front of a real, paying audience. Draper says initially there was hesitation from the University about taking events to venues off the campus, but “we knew that if we wanted to reach a broader audience we needed to take the best of what we had to offer out there”. Now the Writing School runs a healthy mix of events both on and off-campus. Carol Ann adds: “Giving the students the opportunity to read in a theatre, with nationally known poets and to a full house means they can see the journey from their poem on the page to their poem on the stage, so it becomes a real living event as well as the essentially solitary event that writing poetry has to be.” “For some students there’s a psychic barrier against going into these cultural spaces – so doing events out in the city has a huge effect on people,” says Draper. “They become familiar with the broader cultural landscape of the city. Carol Ann’s vision is of us being for the city and of the city.” “My mates were all a bit scared of poetry but now they come to poetry nights with me,” says current student Natalie Burdett, who has herself appeared at Carol Ann Duffy and Friends. “I do like to perform – I don’t write performance poetry, but it’s a nice way to get out there. Being at the Royal Exchange was brilliant, a great opportunity to get involved and share some work. It’s big, being on the same stage as Carol Ann.”

Giving the students the opportunity to read in a theatre, with nationallyknown poets and to a full house means they can see the journey from their poem on the page to their poem on the stage

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e v e i nchester W el a M b riti o he It t t ng seems hard s ago Sch n ’ t d i r d e oo l a ven e y that 20 exist .


anchester Writing School opened in 1998 when Janet Beer – now ViceChancellor of The University of Liverpool – took the role as the first-ever Head of English at Manchester Metropolitan. Realising that there was an increasing interest in creative writing, she decided to create a postgraduate programme, with Michael Schmidt joining from the University of Manchester to become the first Professor of Creative Writing. James Draper remembers: “Janet and Michael were very savvy in spotting that there would be a rising interest. It appealed particularly to mature students – it was all taught at night, outside working hours.” Schmidt spent half his time at the Writing School and the other half at Carcanet Press, founding the tradition that the tutors have strong links to the publishing industry “as it is right now”. A concerted effort to bring down the walls between fiction and poetry writers has led to greater collaboration between the two and, in anticipation of


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publishing industry trends, a strand in children’s writing was added in 2006, led by Sherry Ashworth. A new strand will be added – a Masters in Place Writing (see overleaf) – for 2016. Each student is expected to write a novel, children’s book, poetry collection or book about place, with Master of

It gave me three of the most important things you can have as a writer – time, direction and purpose

Andrew Michael Hurley

Arts students submitting an extract and Master of Fine Art students going on to complete a full-length manuscript. Work is shared in sessions between groups of students who have the opportunity to discuss each other’s writing. Natalie Burdett says: “It’s been intense – a workshop where you put out your work for critique is intense, but I’ve learned so much from that, it’s really worth it.” For Booker-longlisted Wyl Menmuir, who trained as a journalist, the pressure to finish the novel in order to graduate was a necessary driving force. “The Masters at the Manchester Writing School gave me the structure and discipline that I needed. I need someone breathing down my neck to get anything done and the course gave me that,” he says. “There’s a community of writers who helped shape it, they were so supportive. And [tutor] Nick Royle always knew the right prod or the right prompt – he never told me what to do but he made me question the way I worked, it was incredibly valuable.” The draw of a community of writers was also crucial for Andrew Michael Hurley — winner of the Costa First Novel Award for The Loney — a former student and lecturer. “Because I wanted to write as a career I saw it as a really good opportunity to work with other writers,” says Hurley. “It gave me three of the most important things you can have as a writer – time, direction and purpose – and the knowledge that I would come out of the end of it with a novel. I was guided through the process of writing a novel and exposed to other writers that I wouldn’t have necessarily picked up and read.”

Carol Ann Duffy: The heart and spirit of the school “Once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or conversation?’” Who would have known that the seven-year-old girl who “completely fell in love” with the adventures of Alice, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and their motley band would, several decades later, have well over 50 publications to her name, containing their own pictures or conversations, or neither, or both. Carol Ann Duffy was appointed Poet Laureate – the first woman to receive the honour – in 2009, but her association with the Manchester Writing School goes back far longer. She joined the University as a lecturer in poetry in 1996 – before the School existed – later becoming Creative Director of the Writing School under the leadership of Andrew Biswell, Anthony Burgess’ biographer and another stillserving member of staff. “The first book I read was Alice in Wonderland when I was seven or eight and I completely fell in love with it – after that I was a complete bookworm and spent all my time reading,” says Duffy. “I had four younger brothers, so it was a very sporty, football household and this was a way of removing myself from that. And then through my reading I started

imitating stories and poems, so that’s how it started for me.” The lure of the city of Manchester – where Duffy was living at the time and where her daughter was at school – meant the already-successful poet was looking for a good reason to stay, and when the offer came from the University it was impossible to turn down. “They had a fantastic creative writing department in the University, before we had the Writing School, and I really enjoyed working with the poets,” she says. Along with her colleagues – who include poets such as Michael Symmons Roberts, Jean Sprackland and Adam O’Riordan – she leads small groups of students through critical workshops every week, teaching them to analyse and edit their work rigorously. Working with new talent is still her favourite part of the job. “Working with the poets who are developing the manuscripts – discovering new talent and trying to support them, that’s hugely rewarding. Over the years we’ve found many poets. I’ve also enjoyed helping to set up the Children’s Book Festival and also the Manchester Poetry Prize, which is an internationally significant prize now. “There’s a fantastic number of poets that work here. I think we’re among the best in the country… maybe even the best.”

How to write – by those who know Carol Ann Duffy: “I tell my students the importance of rewriting and drafting and not always going for the default verb or the cliché – it’s always good to look at your work afresh and quite critically rather than possessively like you can do.”

Andrew Michael Hurley: “I don’t think you can write without reading. We had a lot of first novels and that was interesting – a real breadth of different styles and approaches from across the world. You see different ways that you can express yourself.” “I try to treat it as a job – although it doesn’t always work like that, it’s not easy to be creative in a particular time frame, but to write something of that length you need to spend some time writing in front of a computer, unfortunately there’s no shortcut. I’m quite a slow writer – I’m not easily satisfied with what I’ve done – and I work quite intuitively, so it’s more like feeling my way through.” Natalie Burdett: “Take it slowly – don’t put too many

expectations on yourself. If you think you have to write excellent poetry you’ll never get anything done. Make time to read a lot, don’t listen to other people’s rules and believe in yourself.”

Wyl Menmuir: “Everything I do is about words and about using words to their best potential – even though the modes are different the challenge is always to make words do what you want them to do, to make people react.” Autumn/Winter 2016


Northern e h t u o y e Qua I giv rt e


ozens of graduates from the Manchester Writing School have gone on to see their work in print, but two of the most successful of recent times are novelists Wyl Menmuir (pictured right) and Andrew Michael Hurley. Both received honours for their debut novels, and while both are very different, they tap into a sense of the uncanny that leaves the reader feeling uncomfortable and unsettled. “I like books that are quite edgy and dark – that’s why I wanted to get involved with [publishers] Salt,” says Menmuir, who graduated this year and describes The Many as containing elements of gothic, horror and sci-fi. “It’s quite dense and punchy – I hope it forces people to slow down and think about what it is they’re reading.” Hurley, a 2007 graduate, said that fear was the driving force he wanted to run through the book, but that he was also inspired by the landscape near his home. “The setting came quite early on and I had the ending in mind quite early too,” he says. “The Loney is a real place, and one I know reasonably well as I live near Preston, and the landscape really spoke to me – it felt fresh like no-one had really written about it before. “Its changing nature struck me – one minute it can be quite peaceful and beautiful and the next it feels very dangerous – I found that fascinating. Its history is very evident at times – when it’s low tide you can see the shipwrecks.” Place is also an important part of Menmuir’s book, which is set in an isolated fishing village that becomes more bizarre the longer the protagonist remains there. Menmuir, who works as an editorial consultant and holds literacy training sessions in schools, was having coffee with his grandma when he received the call to say he’d made it onto the Booker longlist. “Just after midday my phone started ringing – I didn’t answer


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You always hope to get on a prize list, but I couldn’t have imagined it would be the Man Booker

because I was having coffee with my grandma, who is 90. She was telling me what she thought of the book. She had written me a review – whatever happens now, I


Place writing is one of the most popular genres in contemporary literary culture and a recent addition to the Manchester Writing School prospectus. Met Magazine spoke to the experts

think that will always be the most special review. “It’s hugely exciting – something I definitely had no expectation of. You always hope to get on a prize list, but I couldn’t have imagined it would be the Man Booker.” A self-confessed “collector of words”, Menmuir, studied for his Masters via the online route, but said that the relative lack of faceto-face contact with his fellow students didn’t stop them forming a tight-knit community. Hurley says he was equally surprised to have received the Costa First Novel Award for The Loney, describing the experience as “a huge surprise and very surreal”. But the fact that both writers admit they hoped their books might attract some sort of interest from judging panels is testament to the ambition that fills the walls of The Manchester Writing School.

Four books about place The Outrun by Amy Liptrot The wildness of Orkney provides a renewal following a life of addiction in London. This critically acclaimed debut won this year’s Wainwright Prize, given to the best UK nature and travel writing.

The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks The lives of sheep farmers in the Lake District do not, generally, make for bestselling novels, but Rebanks’ account of raising Herdwick sheep was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and Rebanks has a large Twitter following.

Edgelands by Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley An exploration of England’s post-industrial forgotten spaces, Edgelands eschews hills and lakes in favour of mobile masts and landfill sites. The Guardian described the book as “a delight: witty and wryly contrarian”.

Strands by Jean Sprackland This Portico Prize for Non-Fiction winner is another early example of place writing. “Strands is classed as travel writing in a lot of bookshops, but it’s actually about staying in one place,” says David Cooper.

ory, sun l g e l z an z i r d a t s o p

Michael Symmons Roberts On Your Birthday

p lam rc

s t i , p m a v in full

Jean Sprackland Andrew Biswell

James Draper picks these successes as highpoints in his own career overseeing the students, but adds: “It really shows that it’s not just about having brilliant students and a brilliant book, but that having the formula of reading and writing works. They read almost as much as they write and they read as writers, building up a toolkit and editorial skills, which are almost as important as building creative ability.” That’s not to say that it always comes easily, even for writers as skilled as Hurley and Menmuir. “The challenges came every day!” says Hurley. “It is like an obstacle course, you come up against a brick wall sometimes and it takes time to get over or around it. Getting the pacing right was a challenge. You have to take one little bit at once – I found it hard to hold the whole thing in my head, the architecture is massive. “You put them in different situations and make them talk to other characters and the tensions form. Father Bernard popped up pretty fully formed, I could see him right away, but some of the other characters took longer. I really wanted them to seem like real people.” Draper says: “As Michael Schmidt used to say, talent strikes like lightning – what we try to do is find it, nurture it and celebrate it.”


ike many students, poet Natalie Burdett is intensely interested in place as a subject for her writing. The new place writing strand of the Masters will feature teaching from the likes of Jean Sprackland and Michael Symmons Roberts, whose own book Edgelands won the Jerwood Prize for Non-Fiction in 2010 and was an early example of the genre. Burdett’s first degree was in

geography, and she is planning to continue her studies with a PhD in place, poetry and politics. Highly politically aware, she says she sees parallels between geography and writing. “I’m interested a lot in place – I write a lot from the outside,” she says. “Geography is about looking closely at the world and poetry is the same. “I’m interested in politics and environmental issues, about looking outwards not inwards. A lot of political poetry can be quite ranty – I don’t think that’s effective. I’m interested in ways you can use metaphor and look at little details.” Dr David Cooper is a literary critic working within the Manchester Writing School, and the creator, alongside Jean Sprackland, of the place writing strand. He says: “Over the past 10 years there’s been an explosion of creative non-fiction about space, place and landscape. Different labels have been used – landscape writing, nature writing, place writing – but whatever the name it’s about the relationship between people and the places we live, and the spaces through which we move.” He names The Shepherd’s Life and The Outrun as two surprise bestsellers that show how popular place writing by any of its names has become. “Jean and I said it’s definitely ‘place’ that we’re interested in, not just landscape,” Cooper says. “It’s not all about the countryside and it’s not all about urban spaces. “There has been an explosion of interest in place in popular culture – Countryfile for example is really popular again now and has changed quite a lot. People want that connection with place in some way.”

Nicholas Royle

Dr Cooper describes the curriculum on the new strand as incredibly broad, with psychogeographic writing about London at one end and books like The Outrun about wilderness and retreat at the other, but says what combines them all is their authenticity – a desire to understand a place in a way that is deeper than the superficial tourist view. And like all the strands at the Writing School, the new course combines critical thinking with creative writing. “We’re really fortunate in terms of the people we’ve got here,” says Dr Cooper. “Jean Sprackland and Michael Symmons Roberts are two of the biggest names in creative nonfiction. We’ve just appointed Helen Mort – a lot of her work is about place. “For me it’s really exciting – the Manchester Writing School has such a reputation for creating an environment in which writers flourish.”

David Cooper

Adam O’Riordan

Michael Symmons Roberts

Autumn/Winter 2016



ambition & drive

Lord Mandelson on what makes Manchester Metropolitan so special and his ambitions as Chancellor


t’s a thinking place. It’s a doing place. It’s an inventing place,” says The Right Honourable Lord Mandelson, who has taken Manchester Metropolitan University to his heart as its new Chancellor – a beacon of its pride, ambition and burgeoning confidence. Lecturers, students, friends and esteemed guests were present to witness his inauguration as the fourth Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University at a ceremony within the resplendent Manchester Town Hall this summer. However, the journey began back in 2015 when the former


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Member of Parliament was first introduced to the University’s campus, situated next to Manchester’s beating city centre heart. Lord Mandelson learned of the University’s nationwide partnerships, inspiring teaching, impactful research and relentless drive for innovation. Fast-forward a year and Lord Mandelson is now an indelible part of the Manchester Metropolitan story, investing his invaluable experience to forge a confident new path alongside Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press. Imbued with a sense of alacrity for the University’s vision, Lord Mandelson is a new advocate of

What I like about Manchester Met is the new sense of aspiration, ambition and drive it has

the bold mission of Manchester Metropolitan and ready to proudly represent the University. It marks a new chapter for Manchester Metropolitan. “I have only been in post a short while but what I like about Manchester Met is the new sense of aspiration, ambition and drive it has,” says Lord Mandelson. Outlining his role, he says: “At a simple level, it is just making sure that everything it does is professionally delivered and operates at a high standard. People really feel that this is an organisation that is well led and knows what it is doing. I like that about the University and it makes a big impression on me.

“It’s a thinking place It’s a doing place It’s an inventing place”

Autumn/Winter 2016


I am very sensitive to the danger that people from modest financial backgrounds will be put off going to university because they fear the debt


“I like the fact that the University has a real sense of belonging in the city. I admire what it puts into the community and its partnerships. It is getting more and more people to want to be associated with the University and to work with us. The University is aware of all the new imperatives of sustainability and being environmentally conscious.” He continues: “I went to university myself, I know how I gained from it and what a leg-up it gave me. “I was the second person in my family after my brother to go to university and I feel passionately about first generation university entrants because I regard it as an individual right for people to have the chance to develop themselves to fulfil their potential and make the best of their lives. “Also, in government, I have been responsible for industrial business policies and skills, and I know how a strong, growing supply of university graduates feeds straight into our economic success and prosperity.” Chief among the initial attractions to the University was its home, the city of Manchester. Lord Mandelson is a new figurehead for an effervescent city. An exciting era beckons for Manchester and a devolution revolution is underway. He is keen to be a part of this success story while at the helm of one of the city’s key institutions. Indeed, as a former northern MP, Lord Mandelson is investing his energy to help realise the devolution agenda and Northern

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Powerhouse proposals on behalf of the University. “Becoming Chancellor is like joining a family, but it is not just a university family, it is an extended family across the city,” he adds. “Manchester is building such a powerful brand for itself, you’re attracted to it, you want to be part of it, you want to be caught up in it. I was lucky to be approached by Manchester Met and given the opportunity to become part of the action in Manchester.” Combining the University’s academic prowess with Lord Mandelson’s political instinct, a fearsome partnership has formed to drive Manchester Metropolitan’s expansive ambition. Lord Mandelson can call upon years of hard-won experience and persuasion. As a founding father and architect of New Labour, he is a veteran of some of British politics’ most successful election campaigns, with negotiating talents sharpened in the partisan cauldron of Parliament and at the heart of trade delegations. From an influential powerbroker in Whitehall’s corridors to his time as European Trade Commissioner, it is a glittering CV. Among these roles, Lord Mandelson has been Minister without Portfolio, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Northern Ireland Secretary and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the British government. As European Trade Commissioner between 2004

and 2008, he negotiated trade agreements with many countries and led European negotiations in the WTO Doha World Trade Round. He was Member of Parliament for Hartlepool in the UK, from 1992 until 2004, and Director of Campaigns and Communications for the Labour Party between 1985 and 1990. He is now a working peer in the House of Lords, President of the Policy Network think tank and chairman of Global Counsel, a consultancy and advisory business he co-founded in 2010. He became President of the Great Britain China Centre in 2015. Importantly, Lord Mandelson has unrivalled insight into the development of the modern higher education sector, having overseen university policy as Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in Gordon Brown’s government. It has given him a unique understanding of universities and, importantly, the pressures faced by today’s students. He explains: “I believe in cohesion of society and inequalities being kept to a minimum – everyone having the chance both to put into and take out of society. Education at every level is the strongest driver available to us to achieve that sort of society. “I am very sensitive to the danger that people from modest financial backgrounds will be put off going to university because they fear the debt. “In my last post in government,

university policy was added to my brief. It was only then that I really started thinking seriously both about how we can develop our education sector, but also increase individual access to it. “I was faced with a very painful dilemma about financing university education. It was straight after the global financial crisis that hit our economy for six and we were entering a period of austerity. “I knew that if we allowed austerity to drag down our university sector it would not only mean fewer opportunities for people to advance and make the best of their lives, but that it would also damage the economy of the country in the longer term. “But how to finance it, how to strike the balance between government financing from general taxation versus the individual paying in? I had to recognise that whereas ideally you would want to keep individual costs and financing to a minimum, that just wasn’t realistic given the economic circumstances that had befallen us with the banking crisis and the credit crunch that followed. “I think we have to be eagleeyed still about striking the right balance between taxation funding and individual payments. I don’t think we have got it right. I blanch when I see stories of students who are leaving university with massive debts to repay, but at the same time I recognise that they are likely to earn more in their lives as a result of being at university. It’s an investment in your future income.”

Europe’s future

Devolution revolution

As a prominent face within Europe, it was with a heavy heart that Lord Mandelson witnessed the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in the summer’s referendum. Undeterred, he is now striving to ensure the country, northern England and Manchester will continue to flourish regardless. “We are now facing in our country the biggest challenge of our lives in leaving the European Union,” he explains. “The reason why this is so important is because over the last four decades our economy has become reshaped around the trading opportunities and competitive advantages we derive from our membership of the EU and from membership of its vast 500 million consumer single market. “By choosing to detach ourselves from what is our own home market is a very counterintuitive step to take. Now we have to mitigate the consequences of this action and we have to find alternative opportunities to enable our economy to grow in the future.” He continues: “My deep anxiety is that this separation will lead to less trade, less investment, fewer jobs and less wealth to go round in our country. We must now do everything we can to reduce that risk. Britain has been such a big player in Europe, and through Europe, the rest of the world.”

In this new post-referendum landscape, Lord Mandelson is keen to shape and influence. As Chancellor, he hopes to harness Manchester’s economic potential formed, in part, by Manchester Metropolitan’s knowledge exchange, research, teaching and industrial partnerships. He says: “In the North of England, as the government turns its mind to alternative economic strategies and means of sustaining industry in Britain, we have to make sure that the North doesn’t lose out, that it maintains its share of prosperity but, importantly, grows that share in the future. “We have got to be very hardheaded in identifying the North’s economic and industrial interests post-Brexit and make sure that those interests and claims that we have on government policy, in respect of industry and trade, are pressed really hard in the way that, for example, Scotland and London are already doing. “We have got to define those interests, organise around them and press them home very hard. If I can play a part in that using my position as Chancellor of Manchester Met, I will do so.” While seismic political reverberations continue across the country, Manchester’s growth continues apace after taking the reins of billions of pounds of funding for health and social care, colloquially termed ‘DevoManc’. It is the first UK city to experience such delegation of powers from national government

Team Manchester in my view, of which Manchester Met is part, needs to see itself as part of that northern analysis and process of persuasion

Autumn/Winter 2016


to a subnational level, helping to unleash new levels of autonomy in the process. Simultaneously, the Northern Powerhouse concept, cultivated by the previous government led by David Cameron, promises to mirror the same revelatory advancements for Manchester. The freedom and future opportunities granted to the city call upon the combined dynamism of its constituent institutions, including Manchester Metropolitan. The University is developing new partnerships in social care, promoting citywide dementia strategies, and underpinning regional health and wellbeing, among countless other schemes. It is ideally placed to play a pivotal role should the Northern Powerhouse dream become a reality. The DevoManc and Northern Powerhouse concept, says Lord Mandelson, are welcome developments – but they are just the start. “Team Manchester in my view, of which Manchester Met is part, needs to see itself as part of that northern analysis and process of persuasion, so that the interests and needs of the North are not overlooked in the scramble for attention and resources in this new post-Brexit terrain that we are facing,” he says. “I regard the Northern Powerhouse concept as good, welcome and progressive, but it is also a downpayment as well as a rhetorical flourish. We have


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got to work hard to make the Northern Powerhouse relevant and very much a part of the new Prime Minister’s outlook and plans. “In that sense, Brexit may provide an opportunity to stop Britain as a whole falling behind. We have to persuade Prime Minister Theresa May that northern prosperity is national prosperity and that she must look to the northern political leaders and the councils of the combined authorities to help sustain Britain’s economic performance post-Brexit. That means revising and redefining, wherever needed, wherever necessary. “The potential the North has, its sources of innovation and competitive advantage, and where we can be drivers of economic growth for the country as a whole – this takes analysis, it takes intellect, and then a lot of hard presentation and persuasion.”

Ambition Lord Mandelson is now proudly part of the Manchester Metropolitan family as it embarks on a new era: delivering innovative teaching and developing new learning pathways, conducting lifechanging research, creating accessible education, and transferring vital knowledge to society’s key health, business, science and industrial sectors. Having succeeded Dame

Dianne Thompson DBE, Lord Mandelson will serve, in the first instance, for a five-year term to help the University confidently stride the regional, national and global stage. It is upon this global stage where Lord Mandelson is keen to help Manchester Metropolitan develop and forge new partnerships with fellow universities, which is foremost among his ambitions as Chancellor. “The academic and social purpose of the University is uppermost in my mind,” he adds. “If Manchester Met is going to maintain its relevance and its social role, it has got to enable the students who come to the University to find their place amid this fast-changing landscape in society and the economy. “Academically, the University must go for quality of content, relevance of subject, and the bridge building that is vital between the University and so many different walks of life. I think I can help by helping to build a network of relationships and partnerships, both regionally and nationally. “Applied studies, and excellence in them, need to be the hallmark of the University. Everywhere you look innovation is taking place. The job of a university is to help drive that innovation and equip people with the knowledge, skills and discipline to take that innovation forward.”

The job of a university is to help drive innovation and equip people with the knowledge, skills and discipline to take that innovation forward

Postgraduate & Professional study Benefit from the new Postgraduate Loan Scheme of up to £10,000 per student. Enhancing your employability Studying for a postgraduate taught degree can increase skills and knowledge in your chosen profession. In today’s competitive climate it is increasingly important to stand out; a postgraduate qualification is a smart way of achieving this.

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Find out more about our Postgraduate courses


Loyalty Discount Our alumni are eligible for a 20% discount on postgraduate taught programmes.* loyaltyaward *Terms and conditions apply



Forensic expertise across the University is supporting criminal investigations and advancing police training


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S S O R C T O Autumn/Winter 2016


Fom the Netflix series Making a Murderer to conventional crime drama, the process of policing continues to thrill and intrigue in equal measure. But what’s the reality? Manchester Metropolitan University’s forensic experts have the answers.


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‘Profiling’: Facts not Fiction


he police psychologist – an inscrutable maverick in possession of mysterious powers of perception, able to delve into minds, solve cases and unravel riddles. At least that’s what their TV manifestations would have us believe. A familiar trope, the image of the profiler lives large in the imagination secured by countless characterisations from hit films such as Silence of the Lambs or the popular Cracker TV series. But how well does this reflect real life? The eccentric criminal ‘profiler’ tracking down elusive murderers is a colourful work of fiction but far removed from the reality of the job, say Manchester Metropolitan University’s leading forensic psychology academics. The Forensic Psychology team has vast experience working within the criminal justice system spanning policing, prison, secure settings and probation. They conduct applied and practitioner-focused research, encompassing: the investigation of crime; homicide and police decision-making; eyewitness and alibi evidence; expert witness evidence; and juror decisionmaking, to name but a few. Manchester Metropolitan Investigative Psychologist Dr Michelle Wright has witnessed the shift in profiling activities from the former freewheeling days in the early 1990s to the evidencebased practice approach today. Her research has examined police decision-making in murder investigations and the behavioural analysis of offender actions in a number of high-profile cases. “As an Investigative Psychologist, I apply psychological principles and theories to advance understanding of police investigative processes and offending behaviour,” she explains. “My own area of research is focused on the most serious of crimes – homicide – and looking at how Senior Investigating Officers make decisions. “My interest in this area stemmed from a fascination with offender profiling, which a lot of people are familiar with from films and TV – but they do not depict the reality of it. “The term, profiling, is no

longer used in the UK, replaced with Behavioural Investigative Advice, which refers to the range of services provided to the police that go beyond predictive profiling, and is governed by professional standards. “Since 1993 in the UK, forensic psychological advice regarding likely characteristics of an offender has not been used as evidence in a criminal investigation – it will only ever be used as intelligence. “We know that an offender’s actions at a crime scene can be analysed and hypotheses derived about likely characteristics such as previous offending history, but these hypotheses need to be evidence-based to be of any practical use to the police, which is why academic research is so important. “There is a need for more research on offending behaviour to provide an evidence base for the police and Behavioural Investigative Advisers to draw upon in difficult-to-detect cases where no suspect has been identified.” She adds: “So what you see on the big screen, while it makes for an exciting storyline, isn’t how it is in reality, leading to myths and misconceptions.” The Forensic Psychology team collaborate with local and national organisations, including Greater Manchester Police. Dr Wright is a member of the National Policing Homicide Working Group (HWG), leading on homicide-related research. This practitioner-infused knowledge is shared in teaching

including on the masters degree in Forensic Psychology, accredited by the British Psychological Society, preparing students for successful careers in a wide range of forensic settings. These collaborations are helping to drive new insights. “In general, most academic research on homicide is conducted on the hard-to-detect cases – those involving strangers and sexual offences,” says Dr Wright. “But these make up a small percentage of all cases as most homicides are committed by people who are known to each other. So the challenge for researchers is to identify and carry out research which is of most practical use to the police and this is best carried out in collaboration: practitioner-focused research.” She adds: “One area I’m currently working on is looking

at the characteristics of offenders who move the victim’s body after death and how that can impact on an investigation: post-offence behaviour and how offenders are trying to avoid detection. “What can we do by looking at these cases that are solved to help the police? If they know that a victim has been moved, what do we know about other cases that could help them narrow the search for the offenders in this particular case?” Of course, this research will feed into policing practice, but another aspect of Dr Wright’s research lets officers know what they may have suspected all along – often depicted on TV as a battled-hardened detective’s ‘hunch’. Intriguingly, there may be more science behind this hunch than previously thought. Years of psychological inquiry has focused on inherent biases in human decision-making, focusing on our limitations rather than strengths – the ‘bad’ rather than ‘good’ decisions we make. But what about the decisions detectives make? “I originally started off looking at what the police do during a murder investigation – the types of decisions they make,” Dr Wright explains.

In general, most academic research on homicide is conducted on the hard-todetect cases – those involving stranger and sexual offences

“How did their skills, knowledge and experience shape the initial decisions they made during the golden hours of an investigation, from being notified of a crime and arriving at the scene? “I designed a sorting exercise and got detectives to talk me through the decisions they would make in a range of different cases. I found that when given basic information – a photograph of the crime scene, details of the victim, where they were found and how they had been killed, 67% of the inferences made by the detectives were accurate. “The fact experienced murder detectives were able to derive detailed and accurate profiles, inferences about the type of crime and likely offender, was significant.” In addition, there was a link between officers’ investigative experience and number of inferences made. Therefore, by embedding this knowledge in training, officers can be taught to generate hypotheses for a range of different types of cases to develop their experience, argues Dr Wright. She concludes: “Intuition is a vital investigative skill, it should be nurtured rather than dismissed.”

Autumn/Winter 2016


Crime online


ith cybercrime comes cybercriminals and an ongoing battle between high-tech hoodlums and digital detectives in ones and zeros. Traditional policing has evolved. A new breed of officer is now tackling the threat posed by digital criminals preying on the new opportunities offered by the online environment. As a result, a new type of policing resource and computing is offering new avenues to supplement traditional policing techniques. At Manchester Metropolitan, this information intelligence is being utilised by police to crack cases and secure convictions. The University’s Digital Forensic researchers stand in the vanguard of efforts to solve some of the most challenging problems in forensic computer science. Researchers are extracting the wealth of information spread across our online lives to comprehensively map social circles and provide detectives with a consummate intelligence resource. They can build visualisation data that elucidates people’s social networks to help officers to either focus or broaden their enquiries. In addition, time-pressed detectives are calling upon the services of the Digital Forensic researchers to scan seized computers up to 10 times faster than previously possible, thereby providing vital time in investigations. Dr Rob Hegarty, who leads the Digital Forensics team, works with police forces specialising in computing and investigating emerging technologies on their behalf. “The internet as a source


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of intelligence information, even open source intelligence, is increasingly prevalent for police forces,” he says. “Here at Manchester Metropolitan, we work with the police assisting them across a range of serious cases. “It’s very rewarding making a difference, and interesting to be able to work on real-world problems each time.” He continues: “Social networks can be an important resource for police, helping to solve crimes and support victims. We create a visualisation of people’s social networks and can identify persons of interest to police across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and so on. “This virtual map demonstrates the relationships between the different actors in that network – friends or followers – and that can facilitate broadening or focusing on a smaller group of people. It gives police an overview and better situational awareness of people in that network rather than just having a list.” While the advent of these new technologies and the proliferation of information creates opportunities to coalesce traditional policing techniques with new online networks, it also gives police new headaches. It generates masses of information that has to be painstakingly sifted through. Often this can be the proverbial needle in a digital haystack. Even in non-digital crimes, the flood of relevant data collected by police can be huge as the technology we use in our daily lives grows – everything from smartphones to Internet of Thingsenabled TVs or fridge freezers.

The students use a range of industrystandard forensic tools to analyse evidence that we provide them with. They develop their own tools and software, and in the final year they create a significant piece of software that is related to police programmes used as a case study

So police forces are increasingly using the Digital Forensic team to do the digging. Dr Hegarty explains: “New technology utilising block-based search techniques can scan for files of interest. That speeds up the process of investigation and reduces the backlog of devices to be searched. “The technique scans hard drives that police seize up to 10 times faster. This is critical in terms of time and workload as there will be a backlog in most high-tech crime units as the quantity of data is exponentially increasing with more devices.” The obvious benefit of consultancy partnership is the ability to keep police investigations at the forefront of technological innovation. However, it is also informing the teaching at Manchester Metropolitan for a new generation of digital forensic pioneers. This has led to the development of new courses, such as the MSc in Cyber Security. “Importantly, what we learn feeds back into our courses,” Dr Hegarty says. “The students use a range of industry-standard forensic tools to analyse evidence that we provide them with. They develop their own tools and software, and in the final year they create a significant piece of software that is related to police programmes used as a case study. “They are in high demand not only in the security industry but across a range of sectors. We’re seeing a big increase for forensic experts in the legal sector, for example. “They are the next generation.”

Words that tell a story


hey say a picture is worth a thousand words, but for forensic linguists, the picture emerges in the words themselves. The applications are endless: analysing kidnappers’ notes, predicting terrorist behaviour, exposing false witness appeals and training police negotiators. Mirroring the forensic excellence elsewhere in Manchester Metropolitan, the forensic linguistics team undertake consultancy work with police and security forces. Professor Dawn Archer, Professor in Pragmatics and Corpus Linguistics, explores the way speakers seek to influence, manipulate and deceive via their language choices. “Forensic linguistics is about being a language detective,” she says. “One strand is about authorship attribution – can you work out who wrote any particular text? You need evidence of how that person writes usually and you can work out the language features. “Behavioural analysis draws on deception detection literature. It looks at language, voice, gestures and demeanour. It pulls together all the communication channels and asks ‘what are people doing that stands out in a crowd when it comes to the A, B, Cs?’ That is, the account – the story or message an individual is seeking to tell us – as well as their baseline behaviour in this particular context. She adds: “These stand-out features then become ‘points of interest’ for us to analyse in more depth. The excellence in Manchester Metropolitan’s forensic linguistics team is among the best in the country.

Forensic linguistics is about being a language detective

My colleague Dr Samuel Larner is interested in formulaic language, which are sequences of words that create a holistic whole and whether you can use these formula to detect deception. “For example we use ‘in a way’ as an expression – that can identify one out of 20 people. The idea behind it is that you’re not thinking about the expressions that are formulaic so they’re more likely to come out as a feature of your conversational style. Being deceptive takes a lot of cognitive effort so you may use stock ways of saying things because it’s easier. “People have their own linguistic tics, for example Tony Blair would say ‘entirely accept’ rather than ‘entirely endorse’, which is a more common parliamentary phrase. If we can find the chunks that you’re using subconsciously, we can use them to distinguish your conversations from others and detect deception. “Normally, forensic linguists are looking at some sort of criminal activity, but it can also be literature or speeches made by politicians, for example. “In security or policing scenarios, there has to be enough data to give a good probability of being one thing or another and provide a hypothesis – others then decide how to act. “Really well known cases have included linguists looking at notes from kidnappers to find evidence of where they are from.” Reinforcing the industryinformed teaching and research at Manchester Metropolitan, Professor Archer works closely with the Manchester-based EIA Group, a company that specialises in emotional intelligence and behavioural analysis training and consultancy. Police forces also understand the power of words. A familiar big screen representation of the police is that of the negotiator, employing their powers of persuasion in tense hostage situations. Careful management of precarious real-life stand-offs requires subtle, but effective, communication procedures. Expertise at Manchester Metropolitan ensures negotiators are continually refining their training through professional development. “We enhance continuing professional development for police negotiators – how to influence people for positive

reasons,” says Professor Archer, who also consults with business and public sector organisations to inform customer service practice. “What we look at is how influence works at a language level and how you can get people to start to think about something in a different way. It’s hard to do and negotiators need to understand their own way of communicating and how they can adapt that for greater rapport. “They listen to people and their language and that tells them what people think and their emotions. For example, one of the techniques is known as active listening – feeding back to people what they seem to have said but without repeating, and then matching them to a different mental space. “We’re likely to do things for people that we like, so negotiators want to create similarity with the people they’re interacting with. “There is minimal room for error in police negotiations. Language techniques such as these are a powerful tool to bring about successful resolutions.” Among the more familiar uses of forensic linguistics has been its retrospective applications in public appeals. Taken at face value, the primary purpose of such appeals – usually televised – is to publicly plead for information pertaining to a case, such as a missing person. The appeals may be delivered by anxious relatives or friends. However, there can be more than meets the eye in respect to such cases. In these instances, the appeals are deceptive: crocodile tears concealing the true role of the appealer in the crime. In the future, technology could automatically pick up on tell-tale linguistic signs that are unwittingly offered up by the person during false public appeals. Once again, Manchester Metropolitan will be at the forefront of these developments.

Autumn/Winter 2016



Perfect Manchester Metropolitan University is in the top three in the league of green universities. Making sustainability a way of life is the job of Head of Environmental Strategy and Acting Assistant Director of Estates, Dr John Hindley


recent tweet to Dr John Hindley from a concerned student urged: “I definitely think we should have a meeting about our University’s coffee cups.” In making Manchester Metropolitan University a more sustainable institution, there are big ideas — designing greener buildings, innovative heat and power networks, exploring the possibilities of hydrogen fuel cells — and there are little niggles such as coffee cups. For paper to be recycled, it has to be clean. Used coffee cups are regarded as contaminated. What’s the answer? Reusable cups? Pressing the supplier to find a way to recycle? It’s just one item on a long to-do list for Hindley, Manchester Metropolitan’s Head of Environmental Strategy. That tweet is also a reminder that it is students – inheritors


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of whatever planet we leave them – who have helped to push the green agenda to which the University is so successfully responding. Before Hindley’s arrival in December 2007, the University stood at 91 in the People & Planet University League, which measures environmental and ethical performance. In sustainability terms, it was a failing institution. “It was really the students that stamped their feet and said: ‘What’s the University doing about its environmental impact? We want to recycle and we can’t’,” says Hindley. By 2013, Hindley and his 12-strong team had taken the University to number one in that People & Planet League. It remains in the top three today. Previously, Manchester Metropolitan sent 1,300 tonnes

Implementing recycling across the University cost £320,000 in investment, and saved at least that in four or five years

of waste a year to landfill. By embracing recycling and energyfrom-waste technology (burning waste to produce energy) the University today sends less than 13 tonnes to landfill. The aim is zero. “Implementing recycling across the University cost £320,000 in investment, and saved at least that in four or five years,” says Hindley. You cannot go too far in the Manchester Metropolitan campus before spotting recycling bins urging: “Let’s make a sustainable planet.” Not just a sustainable university, then? “Our students come from all over the world, and they go all over the world,” says Hindley. The business case for green thinking is obvious. The University’s gas consumption is now 35 per cent down on a

FEATURE decade ago, despite now being a bigger estate, and electricity consumption is down nine per cent. Such savings matter hugely when your annual gas bill is £1m and your electricity bill is £3.5m. Energy efficiency is now a key principle in any new building. The University is working towards a sustainable and smart campus by using or growing its technical estate. Sustainability also means looking at the whole life cycle cost of a building. Top of the maintenance list is light bulb replacement. The University has tackled this by, where possible, using durable LED lighting. “The one building that has complete LED lighting is the new Student Union, even including the disco lights,” says Hindley. “The argument for LEDs is not just the energy payback, it’s the maintenance. We are designing out process waste.” Another example of this is self-cleaning glass, such as that in the Business School. “The glass uses sunlight to breakdown dirt on the surface, before rainwater washes it away. We get quite a lot of rain in Manchester, so it makes sense for us to use it in a positive way,” says Hindley. At Birley campus, the University’s new campus for education and health professionals, there are combined heat and power networks. “You put gas in and get heat and electricity out, so you are reducing what you import,” says Hindley. “At Birley campus, when there is low base-load demand, we don’t import any electricity off the grid. It halves our electricity bill per month.” Hindley is working towards a similar heat and power network for the All Saints campus, supplied by a central energy centre. The savings would be “huge”, he says, and the University would be an even greener place. “Give it, don’t bin it” is the motto for students who have left-over tins of food, books and clothes when they move out of student accommodation. With a constantly churning student population of over 36,000, this adds up to many tonnes of waste every year. “This was all getting put into landfill. Now what is left behind gets redistributed around the city and to the British Heart

42.4% of waste reused or recycled


of waste diverted from landfill

Dr John Hindley



Foundation to sell on through their shops,” says Hindley. More than half of Manchester Metropolitan’s fleet of vehicles is now electric, and the University boasts one of the city’s only rapid charging points. But it doesn’t stop there, Manchester Metropolitan is looking yet further into the future by leading the Greater Manchester Hydrogen Partnership, bringing together academics, local authorities, businesses and energy companies in the quest for clean power from hydrogen fuel cells. Other members of that partnership include waste giant Viridor Laing, Manchester City Council and the University of Manchester. In addition, the University’s Waste 2 Resource Innovation Centre is looking at how science can be applied in industry to make waste processes more efficient, turning rubbish into energy. But success is not just about good ideas; it’s also about people. “We have an integrated approach to sustainability, with a very supportive Vice-Chancellor and executive team. That’s one of the secrets to success,” says Hindley. “Getting it right is about effective leadership at all levels.”

Manchester Metropolitan’s sustainability guru has an appropriately sustainable hobby... wave-powered, in fact. Dr John Hindley was one of the pioneers of the surfing scene in Scarborough, where he grew up. “You’re at one with nature,” he says. He was only eight years old when David Attenborough’s Life On Earth TV series first fired that enthusiasm for nature. Growing awareness of global warming set him thinking about how we save the planet for future generations. After a BSc in environmental science at the University of Bradford, and a PhD at Lancaster University, Hindley worked as an environmental advisor to the estates team at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, just as the idea of sustainability was gathering in importance. He joined Manchester Metropolitan in December 2007. Married with three daughters aged 15,13 and 3, he lives in Liverpool. “My three-year-old knows how to recycle,” he says. “This generation coming forward know how to do things, which is a massive step forward.”

Autumn/Winter 2016


Manchester School of Art’s annual degree show is lauded as a platform for rising artistic talent. We gave Art School tutors the difficult task of selecting 2016’s standout exhibitors


ex Ilsley’s ethereal LEDwinged angel provides a shimmering insight into the stunning creativity that is showcased each year by the Manchester School of Art degree show. Captured pre-flight by photographer Sam Green at the Hotel Silken Puerta América in Madrid, Spain, in 2016, Puerta del Cielo (it means Heaven’s Door in English) is part of a portfolio of work that is already attracting attention across the world. Like her artistic angel creation, the Manchester School of Art graduate’s career is really taking off. Choosing the most worthy examples of degree show student work to share with readers of Met


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Magazine is a difficult task, and one we laid at the door of the Art School tutors themselves. As you’ll see across the following pages, they had a diverse range of talent to choose from. This year’s Manchester School of Art degree show took place from 11 - 20 June, with exhibits on show across the Grosvenor Building and Holden Gallery, Chatham Building and Benzie Building, wih film screenings at No.70 Oxford Street, Manchester. All visitors are welcome during the Manchester School of Art degree show. including school and college groups. Be sure to make a date in your diary for the 2017 Manchester School of Art degree show.

rt School

FUTURE STARS Bex Ilsley Bex Ilsley, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art, was a runner up in this year’s Woon Foundation Prize. Her practice is centred around the concept of the performed personality in virtual space, and the ways in which this practice has the potential to be both more and less honest than the performance of personality in physical space. She asks questions such as “Can we still expect to be treated humanely when presenting as avatars?” and “Will debates surrounding the body remain relevant as we merge with technology?”

Autumn/Winter 2016


Andrew Page Graphic design graduate Andrew Page deliberately pushes the boundaries of typography, narrative and control to create conceptual designs that challenge the way the viewer thinks. Alongside Adam Tranter, he won gold at the International Spin Awards Young Talent Finals, for WHack, a mobile application that allows a user to digitally place social content in real threedimensional spaces through the use of augmented reality. The app celebrates street art and provides users with a new platform for expression. @AmpersandPage

Rebecca Halliwell-Sutton Fine Art graduate Rebecca Halliwell-Sutton was this year’s winner of the £20,000 Woon Foundation Prize – described as the Turner Prize for students. Her intense, sculptural pieces are intended to reflect the lived experience of the matriarch, referencing the body and invoking harmony and conflict. Pieces range from delicate to imposing, monolithic to verging on the edge of collapse. As part of her prize, Rebecca will spend a year in the Woon Tai Jee studio in Newcastle where she will receive mentoring and have her own exhibition.


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Rudi Morris

Rudi Morris takes an “alchemical” approach to his work

Rudi Morris, who studied on the acclaimed Three Dimensional Design course, takes an “alchemical” approach to his work, using saggers (a protective vessel used for firing) as a crucible. This experimental, material-led approach influences and informs the aesthetic of the objects. Pieces made are fired one inside the other, each vessel, or sagger, acting like a small kiln during the firing process. The sealing of one pot inside another creates a particular environment where glaze material and heat can ‘play’. Unique effects are revealed post firing and the sagger becomes the vessel.

Autumn/Winter 2016


Cavan McPherson applies “values and morals to design”

Cavan McPherson Cavan McPherson is a multi-award winning fashion graduate. As one of four winners in the Denim 2020 Levi’s X Arts Thread Design Challenge, she will be heading off for a paid internship at Levi’s headquarters in San Francisco, after impressing judges with “her strong and articulate belief in what she called, ‘Design Ethics’ – that is applying values and morals to design”. Cavan is also one of three “dedicated and exceptionally talented students” from across the UK to be selected for a British Fashion Council scholarship. Her final year collection was based around the theme of “industrial luxury” and she hopes to launch her own label in her home city of Glasgow.


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Lydia Hiles Textiles in Practice graduate Lydia Hiles won a top award at this year’s New Designers. Lydia took home £1,000 after winning the Worshipful Company of Weavers Associate Prize for her textile design. Her work is inspired by an interest in methods of recording and storing information. She is particularly keen to add a contemporary edge to traditional menswear fabrics by employing an innovative approach to colour, yarn, and structure. She now hopes to launch a career as a freelance woven textile designer.

Visit to find out more about this year’s students. And don’t forget to check the Manchester School of Art School website - for details of 2017’s degree show.

Autumn/Winter 2016


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I see the best and worst in our communities Chief Constable Ian Hopkins says a modern police force must be representative of the whole community — including students


reater Manchester is a vibrant place and as the Chief Constable I have a unique position that means I see both the best and worst in our communities. We have played host to some of the most significant moments in history, and the eyes of the world are often trained on Manchester. Our policing style has to support the development of the region; being visible when required, but working out of sight behind the scenes when needed. We are seeing huge changes in Greater Manchester with the move to devolution and public sector agencies working more closely through integrated teams. This is real partnership working, done in a way that we have not seen before, and it is changing things to improve the service to local people. In Greater Manchester Police we are also transforming to meet the increasing demands from the changing nature of crime. More and more of our work is about tackling online criminality, whether it is fraud, harassment or abuse. We have to ensure we are supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities. When I became Chief Constable last October, I outlined the developments we need to implement in the next four years. In short, there are five elements: • A commitment to working in integrated teams alongside public sector services • Focusing our work on those who are most vulnerable and at risk

This is real partnership working done in a way that we have not seen before and it is changing things to improve the service to local people

• E  stablishing a contract with citizens so they are aware what policing can deliver and what we need them to do to support us • Developing the workforce who have to do their work in a different way • Making the best use of the information we have and introducing new technology to support our work The programme of work has already seen smartphones and computer tablets being rolled out to frontline police officers. It allows them to have their office in the palm of their hands which can maximise the time they are out and about. Officers are also being given body cameras which can assist in the capture of evidence. Technology has the ability to assist the transformation that is underway. But we all need to be aware of the risks from doing more business online. Criminals are using technology to commit crime which they think will be out of sight of the police. It is not. We have a specialist digital team that provides expert help and guidance to police officers. The team is dedicated to keeping one step ahead of the criminals, which is not an easy task. We need businesses and communities to protect themselves online in the same way we remember to protect and secure our homes. It is vital that we have up-todate software on our computers, strong passwords that we change regularly and that we are vigilant to online scams and fraud.

GMP’s ambitious four-year journey is about us providing the best possible service and managing the impact of the budget reductions we continue to face. It isn’t easy and we need the support of agencies, businesses and above all the people in our communities. People can help in many ways. They can provide information to help us catch criminals, they can become volunteers or special constables, and they can join us as police officers. If we are to maintain our legitimacy, we have to be representative of the communities we work in. We are striving to ensure the workforce reflects the diverse communities we support. This year we are able to recruit police officers for the first time in five years. It will maintain the current number of police officers. A significant amount of work is underway to take this opportunity to bring people in from across the county and to encourage those under-represented groups to join us. If you are interested in joining GMP as an officer, member of police staff or Special Constable you can find details on the website Change always brings uncertainty but it also brings opportunities to do more and really make a difference to people’s lives. If we work together, we can do more and achieve more; our communities are stronger when they come together. Ian Hopkins was appointed Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police in October 2015

Autumn/Winter 2016


The transformation of the Oxford Road corridor Dr Jon Lamonte says the journey towards improved city centre transport links starts on Manchester Metropolitan’s doorstep


t could be said that there’s never been a better time to consider living, studying or working in Manchester city centre as we find ourselves on the very edge of something big, something special. There are many new and exciting developments currently taking place on Oxford Road and I’m extremely proud that Transport for Greater Manchester is playing such a key role in this once-in-a-lifetime transformation. Anyone that regularly visits the city centre will no doubt have noticed the sheer amount of work that’s currently under way. Whether it’s new business sites, residential apartment blocks, themed hotel developments or expansions to existing facilities – there’s something being built whichever way you turn. At the heart of all this is the development of an improved transport system to connect it all together. Right now we’re in the final stages of implementing Metrolink’s Second City Crossing. When complete early next year, it will enable us to provide an even better and more reliable service to all our customers. Metrolink is already the UK’s largest tram network and currently sees more than 34 million passenger journeys each year, but it’s essential we continue to expand and serve even more people, in even more areas. In addition to the expansion of the tram network, we’re also working to improve people’s travel experiences across all modes of transport. Whether you travel by bus, catch the train, cycle or simply enjoy walking – we’re working on something for everyone. Earlier this year the final phase of work on Oxford Road got under way to implement one of the biggest transformations we’ve ever undertaken. Considered by many to be Manchester city


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centre’s most important transport route, Oxford Road is also one of Europe’s busiest bus corridors. Our ground-breaking redevelopment of the corridor will see it transformed into a pedestrian-friendly Europeanstyle boulevard, complete with dedicated ‘Dutch-style’ cycle lanes, improved public spaces and better and safer crossing points. While I can’t promise European-style weather, I can promise that we will deliver faster, more punctual and even more reliable bus journeys. Once complete in early 2017, the new look Oxford Road will form the final piece of a £122m scheme – the bus priority package. Signalling one of the largest investments into Greater Manchester’s bus network in decades, the scheme has already seen us introduce the North West’s first ever guided busway between Leigh and Salford, new bus priority measures along one of the region’s busiest routes – the East Lancs Road – town centre improvements in towns such as Atherton and Tyldesley and fundamental changes to the way buses are able to operate within the city centre, most notably on Portland Street. The final piece of the jigsaw, and the one which when in place will enable us to provide true cross-city bus services, is Oxford Road. The corridor is important for many reasons, none more so than the fact that it is home to some of the best education, health and leisure facilities, not just in Greater Manchester, but in the whole of the UK. Our underlying ambition is to provide people from across Greater Manchester with much better opportunities to access key destinations such as Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Manchester, the

Central Manchester Hospital sites and the many and varied health and leisure facilities Oxford Road is home to, such as, the Aquatics Centre and the Royal Northern College of Music. One of the things I’m most excited about is the opportunity the scheme gave us to introduce new cycle facilities along the whole corridor. While Oxford Road is an extremely busy bus route it’s also one of the most used cycle ways for many people, especially students. Having listened to the concerns of cyclists over the years we knew that changes needed to be made to make it easier and safer for people to cycle and I know that you’re going to really like what we’re working to achieve. The introduction of ‘Dutchstyle’ cycle lanes along Oxford Road will, I’m sure, prove to be the benchmark for all other cycle schemes to follow. Linking in with the cycle measures already in place on the adjoining Wilmslow Road, the Oxford Road facilities will provide a seamless journey experience for cyclists of all abilities and enable people to stay fit and healthy in the process. Our mission is to ‘make travel easier’ and I’m confident that we’re on the right path to providing a truly integrated transport system. Even when we’ve delivered the current programme of works we won’t rest on our laurels. In fact, we’re already planning for what travel will look like up to the year 2040. With the creation of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ I’m extremely confident that Greater Manchester will lead the way for many years to come. Dr Jon Lamonte is Chief Executive of Transport for Greater Manchester

Our groundbreaking redevelopment of the corridor will see it transformed into a pedestrianfriendly European-style boulevard, complete with dedicated ‘Dutchstyle’ cycle lanes, improved public spaces and better and safer crossing points

What the future holds for Brexit Britain Dr Damian Mather on how a deal between the UK and the EU could look


n 23 June 2016, voters of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. My colleagues and I have been attempting to understand the implications of this result for the legal relationship between the two. The first question that confronted us is the legal effect of the referendum result itself. Does it bind Parliament or the government? The accepted constitutional view is that referenda are merely consultative and advisory, and therefore, not legally binding. However, the law does not exist in a vacuum. The referendum does have very significant political weight and, like all referenda results, is viewed as politically binding on our organs of state. Even though Theresa May proclaims ‘Brexit means Brexit’, those who voted to leave the EU may find that the final settlement is far from what they believed they were voting for. Working on the basis that the government takes heed of the referendum result, the second question that has faced us is how withdrawal might legally take place. How does the UK sever itself from the EU and from a deeply embedded 43-year relationship? Before the Treaty of Lisbon came into force in December 2009, there was no formal mechanism for any Member State to withdraw. However, since then, the much talked about, but never tested, Article 50 lays down the procedural rules for the withdrawal process. Despite a number of legal challenges arguing that this decision should be taken by Parliament alone, the government is clear that it, and only it, has the right to trigger Article 50 under the so-called Royal Prerogative. While the President of the European Commission and a number of Member States, notably France but less so Germany, have put pressure

on the government to invoke Article 50 sooner rather than later, it appears that the decision as to when to trigger the Article is a matter entirely for the UK. At the Conservative party conference, the Prime Minister confirmed plans for Article 50 to be invoked by the end of March 2017. It is evident the government wants to fully understand all of the options available to the country and their implications. It will need to put in place appropriate civil service machinery and carefully set out its negotiating position in order to secure the best ‘deal’ for the country in any future relationship. In technical terms, the Article 50 trigger involves the Government formally notifying the European Council of the intention of the UK to withdraw. The UK and the EU then have two years from that date to conclude a deal. This will set out the terms of the UK’s exit, but not necessarily its future relationship with the EU. If a withdrawal agreement cannot be reached in the two years, the Treaties governing the Union will cease to apply to the UK and it will exit the Union unless the European Council unanimously decides to extend the negotiating period. If a withdrawal agreement is successfully concluded, the Treaties will cease to apply from the date of its entry into force, at which time the UK will exit the Union. The third and most difficult question is what the future will hold for any relationship between the UK and the EU. The UK has been politically, economically, legally, diplomatically, socially and culturally entwined with the Union. Given this entwinement, it is hard to see that there will be a complete severance. Between the withdrawal agreement and any new agreement for the future relationship, it would be advisable for the government to seek to remain in the single market in the interim to minimise any economic

disturbances and to firm up the negotiating strategy. In the longer term, it is likely the government will seek some kind of hybrid deal that allows manufacturers and financial service providers to access the single market but which entails restrictions on the free movement of persons into the UK; immigration being one of the principal reasons for the leave vote. Could this be acceptable to the remaining 27 Member States? It is too early to say. However, given that the free movement of persons is one of the four fundamental freedoms upon which the Union is based, it might very well not be – and it only takes one Member State to veto such an arrangement. The UK might have to accept the free movement of persons to retain single market access for its goods and services. This would effectively mean membership of the EEA – or EU membership-lite – without any say in the framing of laws, especially in the coveted area of financial regulation. Failing that, the Swiss model of policy area-by-policy area bilateral agreements with the Union could be adopted or ‘goods-only’ trade deals à la Canada or Turkey. It is unlikely that a full divorce will take place with the UK having independent WTO membership, but this still remains a possibility. The view among the Manchester Law School’s EU lawyers is that Brexit will more than likely not mean full Brexit, despite the vote to leave, and that we will continue to contribute our legal expertise to those involved in shaping the UK’s future relationship with the Union.

Those who voted to leave the EU may find that the final settlement is far from what they believed they were voting for

Dr Damian Mather is a Principal Lecturer in the Law of the European Union and LLM Programme Director at the University’s Manchester Law School

Autumn/Winter 2016


Challenging the single story of Africa As the 50th anniversary of the NigeriaBiafra war approaches, Dr Louisa Uchum Egbunike looks at how it shaped views of an entire continent


n the summer of 1968, images of young malnourished children with swollen bellies, ribs masked only by taut skin and hair the colour of rust, dominated news reports and magazines in Europe and North America. These images would become shorthand for the NigeriaBiafra war – the first civil war in independent Africa. As a legacy of the colonial divide and rule policy, tensions that had been brewing within the nation over the preceding decades, erupted in the most violent of ways. Biafra’s declaration of independence from Nigeria in 1967 followed a spate of killings of Igbo people, one of Nigeria’s larger ethnic groups The secession of Biafra presented a challenge to the legitimacy of African nations created during the colonial era. Given the new nation’s subversion of colonial borders, Biafra considered itself as the first truly independent nation in Africa. The lasting impact of war reportage, for example, has created a prevailing image of the continent, which has been described by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as ‘the single story of Africa’. In other words, the image of Africa that continues to be presented to the world is one of perpetual suffering. In the last decade, publications by some of Nigeria’s most prominent writers, such as Adichie and Chinua Achebe, have challenged the culture of silence in Nigeria about the war, encouraging us to look once again, at a war that not only shaped the trajectory of Nigeria, but


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also that of the continent. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the NigeriaBiafra civil war, which lasted for almost three years. In spite of the impact this war has had both locally and globally, Nigeria’s post-independence politics has largely been shaped by a series of precursory events to the outbreak of the war. The coup of 1966 was followed by a counter coup, and the transmission of power from one set of military rulers to the next became the dominant form of power transfer in Nigeria from 1966 until 1999. The differences in international responses to the Nigeria-Biafra war provide insight into the global power dynamics and various national interests. France’s informal support of Biafra was underscored by the desire to see Britain’s control in West Africa diminish. Many African nations did not recognise Biafra for the fear of a similar occurrence happening in their own countries. In the wake of the war, French aid workers who had responded to the humanitarian crisis in Biafra founded Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors Without Borders. In order to mark the anniversary of the war, I will be working with a team of colleagues on a series of projects. In April 2017 we will host a conference and exhibition entitled ‘Legacies of Biafra’ which reflects on the legacies of this three-year period in Nigeria’s post-independence history. The conference, which will be held at SOAS, University

As a legacy of the colonial divide and rule policy, tensions that had been brewing within the nation over the preceding decades, erupted in the most violent of ways

of London, in association with Manchester Metropolitan University, seeks to update existing research on the Nigerian Civil War, by providing a platform for contemporary scholarship on the war’s ongoing impact. I will also be working with artists from the Nigerian Art Society UK to stage a series of exhibitions which reflect on this important period in Nigeria’s history. The artists will produce original artwork for the exhibition, approaching the topic through a range of media and perspectives. We are also inviting the public to lend us items that represent Biafra, such as Biafran money, pictures, letters, newspaper cuttings, flags and so on. These will be displayed as part of the exhibition. Finally, I am working with the filmmaker Nathan Edward Richards, focusing on the artistic journeys of members of the Nigeria Art Society UK in the build-up to the ‘Legacies of Biafra’ art exhibitions. The narratives told through their artwork will be interwoven with archive footage of the war and a selection of oral narratives. With a range of approaches to marking this important anniversary the hope is that people will be encouraged to reflect upon the significance of this conflict, which is largely forgotten by the British public. Dr Louisa Uchum Egbunike was named one of the BBC’s New Generation Thinkers 2016. She is a lecturer in the University’s Department of English.

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The notion of playtime is a thing of the past for most adults. Manchester Metropolitan Professor of Professional Learning, Nicola Whitton, explains why there are benefits for grown-ups too


n a world of financial reports and choosing the most sensible mortgage deal, Professor Nicola Whitton wants us all to rediscover our inner child – and play. Whitton, who is Professor of Professional Learning at Manchester Metropolitan, first became interested in the idea of ‘playful learning’ when researching how video games could be used in Higher Education. She says that there is a huge difference in the way children and adults approach the concept of playing, but that both provide much-needed opportunities to


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make mistakes and learn from them. “Play is about just letting yourself be something else or be in a different space where you can re-imagine the rules,” says Whitton. “It allows you to try things; it allows you to fail. “I think failure’s really important in education. We don’t let children or adults fail enough and actually to try something, fail, manage risk, be resilient, try again and to see failure as part of the learning strategy is really important. Play in adulthood can provide valuable spaces for failure.”

Play is about just letting yourself be something else or be in a different space where you can re-imagine the rules

Many currently popular adult pastimes – such as the rising number of ‘Escape Rooms’, the return of the Crystal Maze in London or the hit adult ball pool at last year’s Manchester Science Festival – already contain an element of playing, whether we are aware of it or not. Despite this, the radio presenter Lauren Laverne wrote in The Guardian that there have been times when her playful attitude to life has been frowned upon. Whitton agrees that play for adults can be stigmatised, particularly when it comes to her specialist subject – higher

FEATURE education – which some believe should be treated as entirely serious. “In terms of learning, in terms of play for adults, it has a lot of stigma associated with it, it’s either a sexual thing or it’s something that’s childish and frivolous,” she says. But, she adds: “Actually if you look at how adults play, lots of adults do things that are playful, be it doing puzzles, watching quiz shows, playing games as part of the family. “There is a big push around experience with events like the return of a real-life Crystal Maze – these things are just popping up, and they are focusing on adults having a playful experience.” However, while it has been claimed that playing can help tackle societal inequality and boost health and wellbeing, Whitton says there is much more research that needs to be done on the topic, particularly in terms of looking at who has access and opportunity. “We need to know if play in adulthood is actually about more than just fun, and if so, what about the people who can’t do it. Escape Rooms are quite expensive, and there might be a lot of people who will benefit from that experience, but don’t have £20 to spare for an hour of entertainment. We need to ask if there are other ways that we could think about making play more accessible to people and think about why people choose not to play.” She cites the example of an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project she took part in a few years ago, looking at using certain games to help effect social change. One of the things she noticed was that the majority of the people who were actively getting involved in the project were middle-class people who wanted to help make a difference, but that the disaffected and disadvantaged communities the project was actually targeting were not necessarily able to engage in the project. Nicola says: “That’s when I started to think that being able to play is about privilege and social status and social capital – do you have the time or the money? Play might be very advantageous, but it’s also a luxury, and one that we don’t really know enough about. We need to know if it

matters whether or not people play, so that’s what I’m looking at researching now.” She says one of the problems is that play for adults does not yet have the classification systems and language that make it possible to research. “Play is nuanced; we don’t really have any taxonomies or ways of understanding adult play in terms of learning, social glue, or what happens if you don’t play,” she says. “We know a lot about what happens if children don’t play, it’s absolutely intrinsic to what they do, but at some point between primary school and when we get students in here, the value of play and the ability to play has been knocked out of them. “But when we did some work a few years ago talking about fun

exhibited at the Playful Learning Conference, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan in July. The project had definite benefits for the participants, who boosted their skills in several areas. “The idea was that they had maths and computer science problems involved,” says Whitton. “They were just amazing. We gave them the brief, then I went into the school two days later and all three groups had working prototypes.The collaboration and problem solving they were doing were absolutely amazing.” Nicola’s early work looked at how computer games could be used to help adults learn. While she says that games can be ruined if designers try too hard to push an ‘educational’ angle, subsequent projects have shown that gaming

in learning, students felt very strongly that learning should be fun and we’re looking at how you can bring that back into higher education – not in a frivolous way, but in a way that increases engagement and the love of doing something for its own sake. That would be a way of starting to rethink what higher education is about.” One of Whitton’s recent successful projects was carried out in collaboration with students at Cheadle Hulme High School, where sixth formers designed their own escape rooms to engage others in maths and computing. These were

communities are a great way of getting people to do things. “Look at Pokemon Go,” she says. And while Nicola cites mobile gaming and augmented reality as the ‘next big things’, she adds that physical space is still very important for gaming, particularly when looking at the potential to mix virtual and physical space. And, while the range of games available in the real or the virtual world – from Candy Crush to Call of Duty – means that researchers have plenty to get their teeth into, there’s one thing that unites them all. “So is it okay for adults to play?” asks Whitton. “Absolutely.”

At some point between primary school and when we get students in here, the value of play and the ability to play has been knocked out of them

Autumn/Winter 2016


HEALTHY AND workout keep regular hours

medical examination

fruit and vegetables

water and juice


happy living The Manchester Movement network will drive positive lifestyle changes alongside the city’s health and social care devolution revolution

regular exercise

get enough sleep

healthy eating


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ehind the headlines of Manchester’s devolution is a complex picture of the population’s health and wellbeing. While much fanfare surrounded the devolution, the city was under no illusion about the challenges that lay ahead. In April, Greater Manchester’s £6bn health and social care budget was taken over by regional leaders as part of an extension of devolved powers, granting new autonomy. The task is a tough one and, despite significant economic growth over the past decade in Manchester, health outcomes remain among the worst in England with both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy remaining below the national average. The vision of the Manchester Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy declares that in ‘ten years the people of Manchester will be living longer, healthier and more fulfilled lives’. The strategy strives to initiate a shift in the focus of services towards prevention of problems and intervening early to prevent existing problems getting worse. So agencies are coming together to build a better future with the freedom delivered by devolution and utilising the resources on the city’s doorstep – including Manchester Metropolitan University – as a catalyst for positive lifestyle change. Against this backdrop, the University has stepped into the breach as a community partner in the drive for healthier, happier and active lives. As part of this new responsibility, the University has launched ‘the Manchester Movement’. The communityfacing health network will provide services ranging from physiotherapy to alternative therapies and biomechanical assessment. Its raison d’etre is to provide an accessible and affordable haven for both practitioners and patients to benefit from the University’s facilities, teaching, research and expertise. Dr Chris McCarthy, Clinical Fellow and lead for the Manchester Movement unit, believes it is just the start. “This is a public health initiative from the University to get people active and together,” he says. “No one in the UK has both the facilities and expertise to develop this properly. There will be nothing else like it. “At the heart of the Manchester Movement network will be

allied and complementary health practitioners who can come and work in a multi-disciplinary clinic in a collegiate fashion. “Through the Manchester Movement network, we will be reaching out to the community and all of the allied health professionals outside of the NHS who can help as part of the wider health ecosystem. The physical hub for the network is housed in the clinical practice within the Brooks building on our Birley campus. “It will provide an accessible hub and affordable clinical facility for practitioners and the community to bring them in contact with vital public health messages and clinical services. “We will be bridging the gap between health education messages and the target population. Whilst patients are seeing their therapist for yoga, massage, Alexander technique, or whatever, they will also receive the best health and wellbeing advice. After all, ‘every consultation counts’ as an opportunity to encourage healthy behaviours and be educated on aspects of wellbeing.” The Movement unit has three treatment clinics at separate locations in the city: the Birley campus, Manchester Metropolitan’s Platt Lane Sports Complex and the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance. The unit offers high-quality physiotherapy, counselling, acupuncture, stress management, treatment of stroke and other neurological conditions, biomechanical assessment, shiatsu massage, and sports massage treatments, among many other treatments. It offers competitively priced treatment to anyone from the UK and particularly from the Greater Manchester area. This would come as no surprise to interested followers of Manchester Metropolitan. The community-facing clinic was designed into the Brooks building as part of the University’s community commitment. The clinic already sees patients from the student body and Manchester Metropolitan staff. In addition, it treats the University’s sports development athletes and the many sport teams at Manchester Metropolitan. This strategy perfectly aligns with Manchester’s ambitions, Chris adds, forming a severalpronged attack on the city’s unwelcome health statistics.

This is a public health initiative from the University to get people active and together

“At the heart of the DevoManc strategy is the drive to increase physical activity and healthy ageing,” he explains. “When you look at the skill sets of the Greater Manchester universities, we are ideally positioned to significantly influence change as we have dedicated departments looking at healthy ageing, physical activity and rehabilitation. These are all perfect fits for the strategy for a healthy Manchester. “Physical activity is right at the heart of the strategy and we have the clinical, educational and research experience to advance that.” He continues: “How do the public become aware of what the best advice is? How do they know what services are available? Our network of practitioners will form the web of contacts that can personally tell a large proportion of the population of Manchester the information they need – bridging the gap between the science and those who need to know. “The Manchester Movement unit will be at the hub of clinical and wellbeing advances for staff, students and the population of Greater Manchester for many years to come.”

Autumn/Winter 2016


Myth busting lower back pain

Dr Chris McCarthy, Clinical Fellow and lead for the Manchester Movement unit, has advice for people troubled by lower back pain

L Many people with lower back pain don’t manage it well because of wrong advice

ower back pain is the greatest source of global disability, ahead of nearly 300 other conditions, leading to huge levels of healthcare costs and suffering. And the effects go far beyond pain, weakness and stiffness – they also have a huge impact on the social and family lives of sufferers. Many people with lower back pain don’t manage it well because of wrong advice – and a lot of unhelpful myths about what back pain is and what you should do about it. Healthcare professionals all over the world speak to patients who think, for example, that back pain can damage their backs. This is not always the case. The weight of evidence shows that many assumptions made about lower back pain are wrong and, what’s more, could be harmful. Below are some of the most common misconceptions.

1. M  oving will make my back pain worse Do not fear twisting and bending. It is essential to keep moving. Muscles that are in spasm, due to pain, relax when gently moved and stretched. Gradually increase how much you are doing, and stay on the move.


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2. Avoid exercise (especially weight training) Back pain should not stop you enjoying exercise or regular activities. In fact, studies have found that continuing with these can help you get better sooner – including weight training. All exercise is safe provided you gradually build up intensity and do not immediately return to previous levels of exercise after an acute episode of pain. Don’t stop exercising.

3. A scan will show exactly what is wrong There is a poor correlation between findings on a scan and sources of pain. Most adults without back pain will have changes in the anatomy of their spine that are visible age-related adaptations that don’t cause any problems (they are the spinal equivalent of skin wrinkles, visible but not a source of pain). Finding a feature on a spine scan that is strongly related to pain or a serious threat to health is exceptionally rare (less than 1%).

4. Pain equals damage This was an established view, but more recent research has changed our thinking. Level of pain has very little relationship to damage

to the spine and more to do with your unconscious and conscious interpretation of the level of threat the pain represents to the sufferer. Cultural influences, work, stress, past experience and duration of symptoms have a stronger relationship with pain than the number of normal age-related changes you have on your scan.

5. Heavy school bags cause back pain Heavy school bags are safe. There is no established link between heavy school bags and back pain, but interestingly there is a link with the development of back pain and the child or parent perceiving that the bag will cause problems. Having episodes of back pain is so common that it is abnormal not to have some back pain at some time in your life. Because it is so common, a lot of everyday things, including slouching, twisting, carrying heavy things and exercise, are wrongly blamed for causing or worsening the problem. Having an episode of spinal pain is a normal event in life and, while most episodes are brief, it is useful to see a healthcare professional for guidance on aiding recovery on occasion. And it is much better to heed good advice, rather than myths, for a speedier recovery.

24th October — 16th December

The new exhibition at Manchester School of Art’s Holden Gallery David Claerbout João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva Hans Op de Beeck Adrian Paci Hannah Starkey @HoldenGallery

Opening Hours Monday — Friday: 10am — 4:30pm Thursday: 10am — 7pm


When you research around the phrase ‘clean eating’ there’s no definition. It’s an attitude rather than a way of eating



he stratospheric rise of the wellness blogger means social media feeds are now full of glossy-haired and brighteyed men and women singing the praises of eating clean. But is this anything more than another passing fad? And is there a dark side to this bright and bubbly world? There are more than 33 million images on Instagram using the hashtag #eatclean – from beetroot smoothies to chia seed and goji berry bowls, and plenty of impressive before and after shots demonstrating the amazing transformation that eating clean and hitting the gym can seem to promise. Googling “how to eat clean”

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provides millions of results from sites encouraging readers to cut out processed foods and eschew sugar, with one blog claiming “clean eating will make you a healthier, happier person,” albeit, judging by the site’s photographs, one who has a strained relationship with carbohydrates. Haleh Moravej, Senior Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at the University, and founder of the sustainable food movement MetMUnch, says: “When you research around the phrase ‘clean eating’ there’s no definition. It’s an attitude rather than a way of eating — a phrase created by bloggers and diet ‘gurus’, to make food an institution where you go to worship rather than something

that nourishes you physically and psychologically.” Haleh points out that very few of these bloggers have studied for a relevant degree, meaning they are not legally allowed to refer to themselves as nutritionists or dieticians, specialist job titles that can only be held by people with the correct qualifications. However, this does not dilute their appeal to the public. “Bloggers can reach millions of people and can change people’s behaviour to make them try a wider variety or experiment with different types of food,” she says. “But when they misuse that power to sell products that are labelled as something scientific, that worries me — the general public

FEATURE are very suspicious of mainstream medical advice and are looking for alternatives.” She continues: “It’s dangerous because it’s making food an emotional issue, if you eat something and it’s clean then you should feel good, and if it’s bad it’s ‘dirty’ and you should feel guilty. But food should be about nourishment, not punishment.” At its worst, an obsession with clean eating can tip over into orthorexia, an eating disorder where a person develops a maniacal focus on consuming only healthy food. Dr Kathy Kinmond, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan, says: “Whereas anorexia is a focus on getting thin, orthorexia is about being ‘healthy’. But there isn’t necessarily a distinction, and there are suggestions that sometimes anorexia can appear under the guise of orthorexia.” The term first appeared in the late ’90s, but has increased in recent years. Part of the issue with the disorder is that it doesn’t have a specific definition, incorporating elements of anorexia, bulimia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is not at present included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, created by the American Psychiatric Association and used by psychiatrists across the world. Haleh sees clean eating as having some links to the “proana” movement which celebrates extreme thinness. For Dr Kinmond, the danger in orthorexia comes from its perceived social acceptability. “Society is far more accepting of someone saying they are ‘eating clean’ than someone starving themselves,” she says. “We’re all getting messages about what we should be eating and this movement reinforces the desire to restrict what is going into the body to keep clean – that is seen as positive and applauded in a way that wanting to be thin isn’t necessarily.” Haleh adds: “Our environment is encouraging us to eat more – high calorie food is pushed at us, portions are bigger because people want value for money. But at the same time we’re getting messages that we should be thin, we should eat clean, we shouldn’t eat ‘bad’ food. When you get that push and pull you get confusion, which is quite dangerous.”

While the social cachet can feel rewarding, in the long run orthorexia is as restrictive and damaging as anorexia or OCD, and the causes behind it are just as complicated. Dr Kinmond says: “We have an idea of what causes eating disorders generally, but it can be very different for different people. Often there is an element of controlling the body if you can’t control your environment, or people who have been ill and lost a lot of weight like the way it feels and want to stay like that.” She advises anyone who thinks they may have an eating disorder to speak to their GP or seek out a therapist who has understanding of eating disorders, adding: “In some ways the internet has helped as there is more information available to help people and they can make initial contact via email so it doesn’t feel as threatening.” Haleh says that despite the constant appetite for new ways of eating healthily, nutritional advice from registered dieticians and nutritionists hasn’t changed over the years – the key is moderation and balance. The real experts, she believes, have a responsibility to communicate this message in a way that will appeal to the same audiences as the wellness bloggers speak to. “The majority of people who have these blogs have exuberant personalities, but they don’t have degrees in nutrition,” says Haleh. “There’s a lot of pseudo-science, so we have a responsibility to make science more accessible to the masses. We need to prevent people following fad diets which are a little bit of real science and a lot of pseudo-science.” For those looking for an alternative to clean eating, Haleh points out that: “All fruit and vegetables are super foods – they all have antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and are all super for you. “Rather than thinking about eating ‘clean’ food, we need to be thinking about eating food that is nutrient rich. For example having five different colours on your plate. “If you follow someone else’s diet, you’re still following someone else’s diet – people should create their own super empowering diet that they can cook, shop for, afford and experiment with.”


new restaurant openings in Manchester St Great Northern Warehouse A (semi) permanent home for the pop-up food collective, complete with its own gallery space.

Grafene King St Modern British fine dining and an eclectic wine list, led by Executive Chef Darren Goodwin.

Volta at The Refuge The Palace Hotel The award-winning West Didsbury restaurant team Volta have taken over the plush space at the Palace Hotel.

Milk Jam Oxford Street A 12-month pop-up housing ice cream geniuses Gingers Comfort Emporium, plus BakeOrama and Lush Brownies.

The Cat Café High Street So not a restaurant per se, but who wouldn’t want to nibble a muffin while cuddling one of the adorable kitties?

Autumn/Winter 2016


What’s On Your Bookshelf?

Met Magazine takes a look at the bookshelf of Senior Lecturer in Law, Dr Kate Cook The Changing Experience of Women – Elizabeth Whitelegg In 1990 I did an Open University course called The Changing Experience of Women – up until then I was a bank manager. Doing that course really changed how I saw feminism and got me involved in activism.

Rape: The Power of Consciousness – Susan Griffin The first piece of activism I did was getting involved in a rape crisis centre. This was one of the first books in the second wave of feminism discussion of rape. The second wave was the first time we really got active around rape, domestic abuse, child abuse – it was done by talking to women about their own experiences and realising that rape wasn’t this rare thing that it was being stereotyped as.

Provoked – Kiranjit Ahluwalia Justice for Women is trying to change the laws for women around murder – one of the women we worked with was Kiranjit Ahluwalia. She was a young woman in an arranged marriage which was abusive from


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day three – her husband used to do awful things physically and emotionally to her, and one day she set his feet on fire while he was in bed. She said that she wanted him to understand what pain was like, but he suffered terrible burns, died a few days later and she was put on trial for murder. Her case brought a number of different sets of women together – I got involved in Justice for Women and campaigned for Kiranjit. There aren’t many women who kill their violent partners, although there are lots of cases that are the other way round, but there was a big difference in how the law treated them. In the end we got the law changed.

Sisterhood is Forever – Robin Morgan Another of my inspirational authors is the American feminist Robin Morgan. This is a collection of writings trying to move feminism forward. I think ‘Sisterhood is Forever’ could be my motto.

Criminal Law – Jonathan Herring After I got involved in activism I came to Manchester Metropolitan and did a law degree to retrain, then did a PhD and started teaching in 1998. The obvious

thing for me to teach was criminal law, so there are lots of books like this on my shelves.

Rape Crisis: Responding to Sexual Violence – Kate Cook & Helen Jones In the middle of the noughties, rape crisis centres were struggling for funding and started closing. My colleague Helen Jones and I got together and decided to write a history of the rape crisis movement in the UK. One of the things that happened in response was that I wrote to my MP, Paul Goggins, to say he didn’t have a rape crisis centre in his constituency and as a result we got Trafford Rape Crisis Centre. Paul made people come and meet me and give me money — we wouldn’t have got the centre without him.

Am I Safe Yet? Stories of Women Seeking Asylum in Britain – Edited by Ursula Sharma One of the things that I’m doing now is work with women who are asylum seekers or who don’t have secure immigration status and are experiencing violence. So we’re continuing to lobby the government on improving the situation for these particular women and victims of crime.

A week in the life… Clare Knox-Bentham, Manchester School of Art Outreach Manager


rt was my first passion as a child, but I was persuaded to aim for a ‘proper’ job and qualified as an IT teacher. It wasn’t until I had my own children that I realised how much I really wanted a career in art. I was 31 and on maternity leave when I started an arts foundation course at Lancaster and Morecambe College. Then I completed the 3D Design degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. One of my Manchester Metropolitan tutors was Jane McFadyen, who is in charge of the Outreach Programme. I volunteered as much as I could, working with schools to keep up my teaching skills. My plan after graduation was to spend half my time running school workshops and half doing my own practice. But then I was asked back by the Manchester School of Art to help them out with a number of projects and eventually became a permanent School of Art Outreach Manager. I think my experience of not following my first passion makes me perfect for this job. Given the emphasis of the national curriculum on ‘core’ subjects, it’s absolutely vital that young people

It’s absolutely vital that young people aren’t deterred from an arts career before they have even done their GCSEs.

aren’t deterred from an arts career before they have even done their GCSEs. There has never been a better time for people to forge creative careers in the North West of England, home to amazing initiatives like MediaCityUK. My role is constantly evolving. I come up with ideas for exposing as many different groups of people as possible to different art forms, while also encouraging and nurturing talent. A major date in the outreach calendar is our Out of Schools exhibition, a showcase for the vast array of talent from young people in the region. It’s brilliant to be able to put it on display in Manchester School of Art’s Benzie Building. We collaborate with many other amazing institutions including Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth Art Gallery and events like Manchester Children’s Book Festival. Something else I really enjoy is supporting the outreach work that undergraduates do in the community. The Outreach Team has developed the Peppered Moth Project, which is aimed at embedding Art within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering

and Mathematics) subjects, and centred around a type of moth that evolved to cope with the extremes of the industrial revolution. The project is part of the European City of Science Festival, and a collaboration with the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and the Manchester Museum. I also manage the Marketplace Studio in Stockport, which serves as both a business incubator for graduates from Manchester School of Art and an exhibition, retail and workshop space. I’ve been spending a lot of time sifting through applications and it’s really exciting to be able to support them in achieving their ambitions. Perhaps one of the most exciting projects I have been involved in this year is a ‘digital tapestry’ containing 6,000 sporting moments that we took to the 2016 Rio Olympics. My job is artistic, creative, and never boring. No wonder I love each working day so much.

To find out more about Manchester School of Art’s public participation programme, visit

Autumn/Winter 2016


CULTURE What to watch, hear and do this Autumn and Winter


e asked academics from across Manchester Metropolitan what events they were looking forward to in the next six months. Here are their arts and cultural highlights for this Autumn and Winter: “I am very much looking forward to the UK release of Nate Parker’s controversial new film Birth of a Nation (main image), about the 1831 Nat Turner slave rebellion in Virginia, which will, once again, focus attention on racial justice and the legacy of slavery in America, just as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign continues to dominate headlines.” Gervase Phillips, Principal Lecturer in History “David McVicar’s sumptuous period staging of Richard Strauss’ comic masterpiece Der Rosenkavalier returns to Opera North over the Autumn, along with a brand new production of Britten’s Billy Budd with the great Alan Oke as Captain Vere – it looks like it will be a landmark production, following their stunning Peter Grimes a few years ago. They’re at the Lowry in late November. “I’m going to the Old Vic in November to see Glenda Jackson’s return to the stage after leaving the Palace of Westminster. She’s


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playing King Lear – in a cast that includes Celia Imrie, Jane Horrocks and Rhys Ifans. It’s a quarter century since Glenda was last on stage and at her age (she is 80) it will be a challenge for her. Brilliant and inspiring to see her giving this a go, though! Along with Vanessa Redgrave, she was very much the British stage actor of her generation and no one can spit venom as sourly as her, so the Lear curses from out of her mouth should really hit home. “One of the other highlights of the winter is going to be Matthew Bourne’s ballet production of The Red Shoes, based on Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s classic 1948 British film. Bourne has abandoned Brian Easdale’s original music in favour of a score which re-uses music by Hitchcock’s frequent collaborator, Bernard Hermann. It’s on at the Lowry in late November, and touring round the UK.” Dr Andrew Moor, FHEA, Reader in Cinema History “I love Manchester at Christmas – the lights, the markets, the crowds. I am also hoping to see Stockport County working towards promotion!” Joanna Verran, Professor of Microbiology, National Teaching Fellow

“I’m looking forward to You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970, at the V&A, which ends in February 2017. They say it’s about some of the greatest music and performances of the 20th century alongside fashion, film, design and political activism. “For me it was the greatest era of popular music ever which I spent hunched over an electric guitar in my bedroom and copying LP covers in biro. Unmissable.” Professor Steve Hawley, Associate Dean Research, Manchester School of Art

Do you have something you’re looking forward to doing this Winter? Tweet us @ManMetUni and use the hashtag #metmagculture

24/7 There is a huge range of events taking place around the University and beyond this Autumn and Winter. Check out our pick of the best events below

On campus Axis Arts Centre

Cheshire Campus, Crewe Green Road, Crewe

Judy Dunaway

Avant-garde composer and “balloon virtuoso” invites audiences to join her balloon symphony. Tuesday, November 1, 7.30pm

For more information, visit

 rofessorial Lecture Series P @ John Dalton John Dalton Building, Chester Street, Manchester

Prof Martyn Amos

The Crowd Myth: Why (almost) everything we think we know about crowds is wrong Thursday, November 24

Around the city HOME

Tony Wilson Place, Manchester

Behind the Scenes at the Museum

BA (Hons) acting students star in this adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s bestselling novel. November 10 – 12


Existing and new work by Sarah Spanton focusing on social engagement and regeneration. Tuesday, November 8 – Friday, November 18

Joe Stretch

Award-nominated author of Friction, Wildlife and The Adult. Wednesday, November 9

Lemons, lemons, lemons, lemons, lemons

Award-winning debut show from new theatre company Walrus, exploring what we say and how we say it. Thursday, November 10

Words at Play III

An “off the page” celebration of language, poetry, stories and scripts. Thursday, November 24 – Friday, December 16

The Novella Award

This year’s winner of the £1,000 award is revealed from the international shortlist. Thursday, November 24

Manchester Centre for Regional History

Geoffrey Manton Building, Oxford Road, Manchester

Andrew Abram

The Twelfth-Century Constables of Chester: Reassessing The Evidence Wednesday, November 16

Charlotte Mallinson

SciBar @ The Salutation

The Salutation, Higher Chatham Street, Manchester

Kieron Flanagan

Science and the Northern Powerhouse – Brexit and beyond Monday, November 28

International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Chorlton Mill, Cambridge Street, Manchester

RedEye: Photographing Customs, Rituals and Traditions

Prof Paul O’Brien

Three artists discuss their individual approach to photographing customs, rituals and traditions and talk more generally about their work and practice. Thursday, November 3

Dr Jenny Cole

RedEye: An Evening with Melinda Gibson

How Small Can You Get? Entering and defining the Nano World Monday, January 30 The Science of Gossip – Why we love it and why we need it Monday, February 27

Dr Marloes Peters

Plastic Fantastic – Can we replace complex natural antibodies with a simple polymer? Monday, March 27

Dr Anna Bergqvist

Evaluative Delusion and Narrative SelfOwnership Monday, April 24

Special Collections

Sir Kenneth Green Library, All Saints, Manchester

Rena Gardiner: Artist and printmaker

Through her work with found imagery, Melinda Gibson takes an experimental approach to the form, creating ‘visual remixes’ that force the viewer to reconsider the medium and its canon. Friday, November 18

Manchester Art Gallery

Mosley Street, Manchester

Fashion & Freedom

New fashion and film inspired by the women of the First World War, including work by current students. Until November 27

Are you a graduate with an event in Manchester you would like us to know about? Email:

Paintings, pastels, linocuts and sketch-books by the renowned artist. Until November 18

Deviant Spaces in Bradford and Leeds During the Yorkshire Ripper Murders Wednesday, December 14

Claire Robinson

Black and White: Sport and Leisure in Victorian Manchester Wednesday, January 18

Autumn/Winter 2016


Manchester Metropolitan University values its relationships with alumni, companies and organisations, and is keen to make new connections. To find out more about any of the schemes or stories in this issue, please contact us.

Contact us Alumni and Development Email: Tel: +44 (0)161 247 2158 Careers and Employability Email: Tel: +44 (0)161 247 3483 Expertise for Business, Public Sector and Communities Email: Tel: +44 (0)161 247 2186 Marketing, Communications and Development Email: Tel: +44 (0)161 247 3405

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Profile for Manchester Metropolitan University

Met Magazine Autumn / Winter 2016  

The magazine of Manchester Metropolitan University

Met Magazine Autumn / Winter 2016  

The magazine of Manchester Metropolitan University

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