SEED at UoM’s Community Festival

As Dame Nancy Rothwell, the University of Manchester’s President put it, ‘Universities should be a force for public good’.  Social Responsibility at the University of Manchester aims to make a positive difference to the social and economic well-being of our communities through our teaching, research, and public events and activities.  A big part of that aim is to (literally) break down the ivory tower and share who we are and what we do with our communities.  The, now annual, University of Manchester Community Festival does exactly that.  SEED was delighted to showcase just some of its research to the 2,000 people from our local and wider communities who were welcomed onto campus on Saturday 16th June.

Dr Judith Krauss challenged our guests to consider where cocoa comes from.  Based upon her extensive research in conjunction with UoM’s Global Development Institute with farmers, NGOs and consumers in the Global South, Judith challenged our guests to consider who grows cocoa and whether they earn enough to make a living out of our tasty treats.  The quizzes and games  – and naturally cocoa and chocolate to taste! – engaged the community in fun activities which in turn equipped them to make informed decisions about more positive, sustainable consumption.   Further details of Judith’s research is available on the Global Development Institute’s blog for National Chocolate Week.

Judith at Community Fest my photo
Photo: J O’Brien


Dr. Alexander Baratta who is a lecturer in SEED’s Manchester Institute of Education, engaged the public with his research about accent. He explained how your accent is an oral ID which contributes to your overall sense of self and identity, but that can also represent a challenge.

Alex Baratta Community Festival 2018 from UoM SR FB
Photo: University of Manchester

Alex used his research to encourage the public to think about how accents might impact experiences at work and school, to learn more about different accents and where they come from, to celebrate the diversity of accents and even to have the chance to try a few new accents.

Beyond SEED’s research there was something for everyone in our free event that showcased the University of Manchester’s research. Our guests could discover how drugs get to the right part of the body and use tiny materials to treat diseases, to the art of a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, they could create electronic music and walk on water and even had the opportunity to scale the climbing wall and brave the helter-skelter (face painting optional).


Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility, said: “It was exciting to welcome so many people from our local communities onto the University campus, getting involved and finding out more about our work. This was the University at its best, sharing our knowledge and involving the public in the full spectrum of our work”.

Rob Nixon, a visitor to the event, said: “This is the 2nd time my daughter and I have been to the University’s Community Festival. It’s a great day and fantastic way to see all the different things that go on at the University. We really enjoyed it and will be looking out for next year’s Festival!”

To see the full Festival programme visit the social responsibility website.

Photographs of the event are available on the social responsibility Facebook page.

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