We received many strong applications for the first round of projects supported by SALC SR funding in 2023-24, and the following overview shows the diversity and range of SR-related work going on in our school.

A reminder, too, that our next round will close in January (deadline: 5pm on 29 January 2024), with an online workshop aimed at offering feedback and suggestions taking place in January (details will be circulated via email). We especially welcome colleagues who are thinking of applying for the first time! If you have any questions in the meantime, you can contact either Simon Parry, Director for Social Responsibility or Anke Bernau, the Associate Director.

Wishing everyone a joyful 2024.

Simon and Anke

Project Leads: Sonja Bernhard and Steven Pierce
Title: The Collective Futures Project: Accessible PSHE Workshops for Greater Manchester
Summary: This project will support young people in Manchester to develop citizenship and allyship skills. We will work in partnership with  The Collective Futures Project (CFP), an organization that was founded by two SALC graduates: Amber Barrow (2022, BA Hons History) and Nelly Gypkens (2022, BA Hons Politics and Modern History). The CFP delivers EDI workshops to schools across the UK that complement schools’ PSHE (Personal, Social, Health & Economic) curriculum. The project leads will work with CFP to run activities in 3 local high-priority WP schools and will support the training of SALC students as new facilitators to expand the Manchester-based team.

Project Leads: Marco Biasioli, Thomas Drew, Réka Polonyi
Title: Defiance: Artists at Risk in Central and Eastern Europe
Summary: Defiance is a public engagement event which seeks to expand the outreach of art from the post-Soviet space, particularly from areas of conflict. It aims to provide a platform for artists to perform and raise awareness of their work among UK-based audiences, and to develop a conversation between audiences, artists and academics in Manchester. Building on our first festival in May 2023, in which we showcased the work of Ukrainian artists, we will envisage the 2024 iteration to be dedicated to an exploration of contemporary art in Armenia. This is due to the political conditions currently affecting the country, which have been largely neglected in the British media and in the UK government.

Project Lead: J. Michelle Coghlan
Title: Radical Motherhood Then and Now: A Collaborative Project Exploring Maternal Activism Across Borders with Manchester-based Cultural Institutions and North-west based Artists and Activists
Summary: Just over a century ago, US-based activists for women’s suffrage proclaimed women should get the vote because mothers could be trusted not to agitate for systemic change — as one banner succinctly put it, “The hands that rock the cradle will never rock the boat.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, motherhood has often been imaginatively conscripted into the service of both nationalist fantasies and right-wing politics. But while “radical motherhood” might then seem a contradiction in terms, mothers have nevertheless engaged in and reshaped a number of radical movements, from early twentieth-century suffragette campaigns for free childcare to contemporary maternal activists campaigning on behalf of reproductive rights, racial justice, and migrant rights in the UK. This project brings together activists and artists for a series of immersive public events at the Whitworth and the Working Class Movement Library reflecting on the legacies and challenges of radical motherhood then and now. It will also feature a hands-on performing arts workshop aimed at directly engaging audiences in creating short collaborative performance pieces rooted in their lived experience of mothering and making change across borders.

Project Lead: Jerome de Groot
Title: DNA Threads
Summary: Manchester’s DNA is an ongoing project developing relationships with communities around Oxford Road and enhancing relationships between UoM researchers and local groups. DNA Threads expands this work by focussing on co-production and community-led research. DNA Threads highlights the story of the communities involved in our historic textile industry and the common threads running from that time through to modern life and contemporary textile practices – foundational to Manchester’s DNA. Sarah Joy Ford will hold public engagement textiles workshops at the Elizabeth Gaskell House. Oral history techniques will be used to collect memories of the House and to expand our understanding of this heritage space within the wider community. New, co-created material works created will be displayed in the Gaskell House as an exhibition.

Project Lead: Kate Maguire-Rosier
Title: Care Lab Online (co-funded with Creative Manchester)
Summary: The Care Lab is an award-winning hybrid public engagement platform of the Care Aesthetics Research Exploration (CARE) project. Rooted in feminist ethics of care theory, care aesthetics is a new concept and practice describing the embodied ways care is given, experienced, and received. The Care Lab presents public events drawing on the experience of care workers, care recipients and artists. In order to sustain and increase the accessibility of these events, we aim to create a dynamic online resource and event programme with complementary social media support to be called Care Lab Online. For example, Care Lab Online will produce digital content including E-newsletters and promotional material. We will connect to new collaborators in the local Manchester community but also reach national and international audiences including prospective partner labs. The aim is to develop an international-facing network attracting members of the general public, care practitioners, researchers and artists alike.

Project Lead: Peter O’Connor
Title: A Personal History of Manchester KS3 Writing Contest
Summary: This project builds on the success of a pilot scheme that ran in 2022/23 at Manchester Academy (Moss Side) which involved supporting a group of KS3 students writing a 500-word piece on the theme of ‘global Manchester.’ A masterclass session was held in the school in February, and an on-campus celebration event was hosted n June for the 30 students who submitted work. The 23/24 version of the writing contest will involve five schools within the Greater Manchester area, with an emphasis on how students can connect something personal to the history of the city. As with the previous incarnation of the contest, the plan is to encourage the group to get creative both in terms of the topic they are researching (it can be a person, object or event) and the way the final submission is presented (as a traditional essay, a first-person narrative etc). Training will be provided in schools and an on-campus event over the summer for the winners.

Project Lead: Kerry Pimblott
Title: Teaching Black History
Summary: Teaching Black History is a collaboration between Manchester-based community historian, Linford Sweeney, and a team of scholars and archivists working at the University of Manchester that aims to train a new generation of local Black (African and African Caribbean) educators in delivering Black History curriculum. This six-week training programme is open to young people between the ages of 18 and 35 who have taken an Inspired Histories course or attended multiple sessions and have an interest in researching and teaching Black history within a community context and/or seeking to further their studies in the subject. Successful applicants will attend a series of lectures and workshops designed to develop both their historical skills and field-specific knowledge.

Project Lead: Emilia Terracciano
Title: A Forgotten Holocaust: Remembering the Bengal Famine of 1943
Summary: Eighty years ago, a terrible man-made tragedy struck the Indian subcontinent: the Bengal Famine of 1943, known in Bengal as Panchasher Akal. It is estimated that between 4-5 million people perished during this Famine. Rarely discussed in the west, this ‘forgotten Holocaust’ is gradually receiving attention as historians and scholars unearth novel findings on how then Prime Minister Winston Churchill exacerbated the famine through a series of military interventions (scorched earth and boat denial policies) designed to break the Japanese advance on India’s eastern frontier. The ‘collateral damage’ was horrific. This commemorative project will involve the screening of the film In Search of Famine (Aakaler Sandhane) by radical Indian film director and screenwriter Mrinal Sen who was closely associated with the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) between 1943-47. After the public screening there will be a panel discussion – involving historians, film scholars, and art historians – followed by a Q&A open to students and the public. Several questions guide our discussion: Why view Sen’s film today? What is the relationship between memory and hunger? Has famine departed from Bengal?

Project Lead: Sarah Weston
Title: Vocal Confidence and Vocal Care with Greater Manchester Carers
Summary: This project will investigate the benefits of exploring the voice in relation to social inclusion, particularly when working in diverse and/or deprived communities in Greater Manchester. Initiated in partnership with Unlocking Wellbeing in Bolton, a three-year lottery-funded project concerned with effecting change and improving wellbeing for carers, our aim is to run a series of practical vocal workshops that explore to what extent physiological engagement with the voice can enhance wellbeing and support advocacy, with a specific focus on vocal care. The project will begin with a four-week pilot programme of voice workshops for local carers at The Octagon Theatre, Bolton, with the aim of establishing a longer programme of events leading up to Carers Week in June 2024.