Recently, I was asked to talk about the value of a degree, which goes way beyond the earning power of our graduates to include multiple positive impacts on wellbeing, from health to happiness. Additionally, the collective impact of our graduates can be seen in industry and felt in communities locally and globally.
The contents of this edition of Met Magazine highlight these points beautifully. We show some of the strong contributions that we are making in sport, in the arts, and to businesses. We highlight the work of two of our alumni, Martin Stelfox and Amber Flewitt. Martin’s efforts to remove discarded fishing nets from the ocean help to protect marine life, while Amber’s work is instrumental in saving a species once thought to be extinct. I always feel a sense of pride when I witness our graduates making important contributions to the most significant challenges that face our world.
Conservation efforts of a different nature have seen colleagues in arts, engineering, and physiology departments working together to preserve models made by legendary special effects creator Ray Harryhausen, as well as by local animators Cosgrove Hall, and Mackinnon and Saunders. You can find out how their work will help curators protect their small-yet-iconic charges, as well as offering the opportunity for future digital animation.
Some of the technologies used in this project are part of PrintCity, just one of the ways in which we are embracing the innovation driving the fourth industrial revolution, or what is known as Industry 4.0. These new technologies challenge existing business models around the world, as Siemens UK Chief Executive Professor Juergen Maier acknowledges in his interview with Met Magazine.
We are focusing on ensuring that people and businesses have the skills that they need to thrive in the future through our highly rated degree, masters and apprenticeship programmes
Manchester and the wider North West have long been home to manufacturing innovation. We are working with business and the public sector to harness that spirit and to develop new applications that improve lives. While there is concern that new technologies could sweep away whole areas of employment, we are focusing on ensuring that people and businesses have the skills that they need to thrive in the future through our highly rated degree, masters and apprenticeship programmes.
Innovations in the creative sector are just as important as those in traditional industries and manufacturing. We have started work on our School of Digital Arts (SODA), championed by, among others, director Danny Boyle, who features on our cover and who is interviewed in this edition. SODA will be right at the heart of the arts and digital technologies – technologies that complement the long-standing creative energy at the heart of our city.
The abundance of such energy was part of the draw for Simon Stephens, our recently appointed Professor of Scriptwriting. His new play, Light Falls, will premiere at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. It is fantastic to have writers of his calibre as part of our Writing School, under the leadership of former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Collectively, our talented writers provide our students with the best possible start to their creative career, as well as ensuring that we can contribute to the wider cultural and entertainment offer in Greater Manchester.
Of course, this offer would not be complete without sport. Manchester might be better known for its Premier League teams, but Rugby League is also in our DNA. I can say this with confidence because researchers at Manchester Metropolitan work with the Rugby Football League (RFL) to evidence the social and economic impact of the sport, revealing how it is improving life satisfaction and increasing aspirations. Our world-class sports facilities will support the Rugby League World Cup in England in 2021 and we will be working with the RFL on their ambitious plans to increase participation and ensure positive impacts for local communities. There will also be many opportunities for our students to get involved in the World Cup.
We are here to make an impact, globally, nationally and locally, for our students, our communities, and the wider world
Meanwhile, moving from sport to exercise, our physiology researchers have been studying how fitness regimes and daily activities can help older people to age well. Their findings have informed new government advice that older people should try to keep moving regularly through the day. It is this breadth of impact, from local sports activities to national health policy and international events that characterises Manchester Metropolitan’s approach. We are here to make an impact, globally, nationally and locally, for our students, our communities, and the wider world.
Part of this global impact is in China. Our new office, in Manchester’s sister city of Wuhan, builds on existing research collaborations with local universities such as Hubei University, Wuhan Institute of Technology and Wuhan Textile University. As China’s fifth largest city and in a province with a population the size of Italy’s, the opportunities for partnerships and collaborations in this part of China are immense.
I hope that you enjoy reading this issue of Met Magazine. As ever, you are welcome to get in touch and join us in our endeavours by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.