Archive for January, 2024

Message from our President – February 2024

Posted on: January 31st, 2024 by mlpEditor

February 2024


Welcome to this month’s newsletter. We are well into 2024, and I hope your year has started positively.

Our theme for this term is the environment. Two events – both happening online – are showcased in the newsletter, and our complete program is available on the website. Alongside these events, the ever-popular Philosophy Forum will occur during most months in 2024.

Those of you who booked tickets will know that due to a late change to his itinerary, we had to postpone our event with Andy Burnham. I want to thank everyone who worked on setting up the event. It sold out a larger venue in 48 hours. This is an excellent indication that we can increase our event participation.

If you attended last year’s AGM in September 2023, or read the supporting documents, you will know that Manchester Lit & Phil is facing several challenges. Without going into too much detail in this post, they can be summarized as static event attendances, awareness of who we are and what we offer, and an imbalance in our income and costs.

Several behind-the-scenes changes have occurred over the last few months to start addressing these issues. The most visible to this audience is the theme selection for each term. We have also reviewed our operating model, supplier relationships, and marketing and partnership opportunities.

As you will see from the newsletter, we have moved our office location. This change was planned but was hastened by Colony’s changes to our old location infrastructure.

The next set of decisions will broadly impact our membership; therefore, we must engage and consult with our entire membership.

Currently, our monthly e-newsletter is sent to all mailing list subscribers – not just Lit & members – and its primary aim is to showcase future events and keep people aware of changes in the Society that are of general interest.

To keep the membership informed, we will launch an additional member’s newsletter, issued regularly and topic-focused. This will also be accompanied by a set of online and face-to-face meetings to allow the issues and potential solutions to be explained and explored before their adoption. These sessions will occur over the next three months as we prepare the budget and operating plan for the 24/25 year. The nature and timing of these will be communicated in more detail in the next two weeks.

I invite anyone on the mailing list who is not yet a member but would like to help support the Society and be involved in its evolution to sign up. Members are key to our success, and new perspectives and ideas are always welcome.

Thank you for your continued support. I look forward to seeing you at one of the upcoming events.


Peter Wright 


Bicentenary of the University of Manchester, and the Purple Wave!

Posted on: January 29th, 2024 by mlpEditor

On 17 January 2024, at precisely the time of 18:24, the Oxford Road campus and all adjacent University of Manchester buildings were lit up in purple! Manchester City Council Leader Bev Craig and the University’s Vice-Chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell pressed a big gold button, and the spectacular light display appeared.

As the University General Assembly Manchester Lit & Phil representative, I was very privileged to attend the formal ceremony, with many prominent guests such as the University Chancellor Nazir Afzal, the Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Yasmine Dar, RNCM Principal Professor Linda Merrick, and many more. A specially commissioned bicentenary poem had been written by University alumna Rebecca Hurst and she read parts of it to us. There were also large numbers of the public watching the event, and we were shown live pictures from Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Shanghai, where the University has Global Hubs.

Walking back down Oxford Road I saw so many people about, with a huge queue waiting to enter Manchester Museum – people of all ages too (the lure of free chai lattes provided by a local restaurant might have had something to do with that!). The purple lights were everywhere, creating a very impressive and special atmosphere. A line from the Hurst’s poem Mast Year – ‘I’m meant to be here’ – beamed in huge neon letters as part of a wonderful installation across Booth Street East, where it will remain until the end of February.

On Oxford Road, the Museum’s much-loved spider crab was ready to party – and dressed up for the occasion – following a glamorous disco makeover. The ‘disco crab’ proved a huge favourite with the crowds, many of whom posed for selfies and danced with their new decapod friend! It was a very happy evening!

During the bicentenary year there will be many events to mark the importance of the history and future of the University. You will find these listed on the University of Manchester’s bicentenary website. Do go along to be part of the celebrations.


Manchester Lit & Phil Voices: Nazir Afzal in conversation with Darryl Morris

Posted on: January 11th, 2024 by mlpEditor

Nazir Afzal speaks to Times Radio’s Darryl Morris about his life and career on the frontline of the British legal system. From tackling Rochdale’s sex ring, to risking everything with pioneering cases against perpetrators of honour killings and modern slavery. Nazir’s personal reflections on his ground-breaking prosecutions reveal unexpected insights that anyone interested in justice needs to hear.

Recorded live on 30th October 2023 at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester.

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