Message from our President – March 2024

Peter Wright

peter wright manchester lit and phil president

March 2024


A reflection of where we are

As I write these updates, I often focus on the future, and how we can prepare and adapt the Lit & Phil to thrive in a changing world. That focus can often lead me to forget the good work that continues to go on and the progress we are already making.

I attended two online events in February, both of which reminded me why I was so keen to volunteer and help Manchester Lit & Phil: Dr Leon Barron, helping us understand the urban water cycle; and Mandy Baker, combining her passion for the planet and her photography to highlight the impact of plastic waste on our environment. Both events were balanced, fact-based, engaging and educational, with the subject matter being of broad interest.

In other areas, we have teams working on several exciting projects for 2024, and our recent partnership with The Wire, which has now published two articles, is increasing our website visits and the time people spend on the site – hopefully a precursor to an increase in event attendance. Our membership has also increased since the start of the year.

The Lit & Phil has so much to offer the population of Manchester. We still have a path of change ahead of us, but now we have celebrated our 243rd birthday I am confident that what we do from this point will allow us to hit the 250th anniversary in good health.


Moving forward

As I have mentioned previously, the next few months are focused on delivering our program but also defining the future direction of the society. Whilst I do not expect everyone in the Society to agree with what will be proposed, I do want to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, every member is informed and that a majority of our members back the changes.

Starting next week, we will issue a members-only newsletter to make everyone aware of the challenges we face and the options open to us. To allow dialogue, we will also be arranging virtual “drop-in sessions”, based on each topic to allow an open sharing of views and ideas.


A Lit & Phil by Manchester, for Manchester

You will have seen the call for new volunteers that was sent last week. This is the first of several requests we will be making for additional help. The roles mentioned in the last post are areas that need urgent attention.  The campaign was sent out to our entire mailing list as we want to widen our pool of active volunteers and hear from as many different voices as possible.

The value of cognitive diversity in driving new and innovative solutions has long been recognised. Due to our relatively small pool of active volunteers, several people currently have to fill multiple roles, which is a huge commitment on their part.

A ‘broader church’ approach will allow us to reduce the burden on individuals and will open opportunities for new ways of thinking.


First step on the journey

In mid-March, there will be a Trustee workshop to review and refresh our Mission, Vision and Strategic priorities. The outcome of this meeting will be communicated in the new members’ newsletter, and all members will have the chance to contribute towards the steps in the journey.

Whilst it’s true we have a long way to go to forge a Lit & Phil that truly serves Manchester, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s vital that we establish a solid foundation and shared ambition.

Please help us prepare for the future, please let us hear your voice and have your support.


Peter Wright 


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