‘This century is the century for the North’; these opening words from Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, certainly rang true as over two days the Northern Power Futures Festival brought people together for discussions on the future of the North by those who will shape it.

As the most liveable city in the UK, it’s no surprise Manchester was chosen as the location for this inaugural conference, with a line-up of inspiring speakers, practical panels and interactive workshops covering all things work, community, culture, lifestyle and wellbeing.

The festival was the brainchild of Northern Power Women, a campaign to accelerate gender equality from the North of England. Equality was key throughout the event, and the widely-accepted links with productivity and diversity were emphasised to the many organisations that came along; from start-up companies to global corporations.

Speakers tackled subjects like getting more women into STEMM subjects, sustainability in an ever-developing world and why there is starting to be a sea change of people being attracted to the North.

The positive messages of the weekend drove home the point that our future is bright; dispelling the old myth that ‘it’s grim up North’.

Written by Ciara Wright