Manchester Access Programme – closing on Monday

The Manchester Access Programme (MAP) closes for applications at 5pm on Monday, 17 December!

MAP, The University of Manchester’s flagship widening participation scheme for local Year 12 students, aims to help Year 12 students who live or study in Greater Manchester and meet specific criteria, to secure a place at The University of Manchester, or another research-intensive university.

MAP participants complete a portfolio of work that demonstrates specific knowledge and skills. Tasks include completing an academic assignment (with the full support of a University staff member), attending a two-day University Life Residential and participating in a number of workshops based on individual interests.

If you successfully complete MAP, there are lots of benefits:

  • Receive advice and guidance for your UCAS application and personal statement.
  • Receive an early decision on your UCAS application (if you decide to apply to The University of Manchester).
  • Be awarded the Undergraduate Access Scholarship (currently £1000), if you start an undergraduate course at The University of Manchester.
  • Receive a reduced offer of up to two A-Level grades (or equivalent) below the standard entry offer at The University of Manchester.
  • Enhance your skills, such as your time management and team-working skills.
    Prepare for different types of teaching and learning at university.
  • Gain information about the different types of university courses available and what it’s like to be a university student.

Application Instructions
MAP will close for applications at 5pm on Monday, 17 December. You can find the application form and further information on the MAP website.

If you have any queries, please get in touch with the MAP team at or 0161 306 6505.

Jenny Sloan | Widening Access Project Lead | Student Recruitment and Widening Participation

Call for UoM Community Festival 2019

Would you like to be part of the next University-wide Community Festival being held on Saturday 15 June 2019?

Manchester University Community Festival.
Pictured Manchester place

As part of our commitment to enhancing our relationship with members of our local communities, we will be holding our annual University-wide Community Festival on 15 June 2019 from 11.00am-4.00pm.

Last year over 2,000 people, many from our local neighbourhoods enjoyed the day with many speaking of seeing lots of friendly smiley faces having fun and enjoying themselves. Find out more about the 2018 event here.

Next year’s Festival will be centred round Manchester Museum, University Place and Brunswick Park. Building on the success of the last two years, we would like to offer our local neighbours the opportunity to discover the wide variety of things we do, to meet us and to find out what opportunities are available for them.

If you are interested in taking part, then please register your interest by completing the attached form: Community Festival Expression Interest Form 2019[1] (doc) by 19 January 2018 and return it to

We look forward to seeing you at the Festival next June.

Communicating physics and astronomy to a visually impaired audience – Manchester, 15 Jan 2019

The University of Manchester is hosting a meeting on “Communicating physics and astronomy to a visually impaired audience” on 15th January 2019, from 10am.

Full details and registration at:

“Physics and astronomy can be extremely difficult to access for people with visual impairments (VI). A reliance on images, diagrams, graphs, and other visual representations of data means that people with VI can easily feel excluded from these subjects. However, there are several initiatives and projects in the UK that are working to make topics within physics and astronomy more accessible for this audience. This meeting will showcase these projects, allowing participants to share best practice and explore future collaborations and other opportunities.”

If you want to present or show something, please drop<> an email – schedule TBC.

Please forward this email to any interested people! Lunch will be provided.

Posted on behalf of: Dr Emma Nichols l Public engagement manager l School of Physics and Astronomy l The University of Manchester (email: emma.nichols@MANCHESTER.AC.UK)

A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers

We have produced a new handbook during our NIHR funded research programme, EQUIP (enhancing service user and carer involvement in mental health care planning). The book was developed from a research methods course originally designed for mental health service users and carers getting involved in patient and public involvement on the project, with the intention of enabling them to be better involved in the programme by having a greater understanding and awareness of the research process.

We have written the book in collaboration with service user and carer researchers, and have made it available open access. We really just want to let as many people know about it, because we think it can add real value, and work as a useful tool not only for PPI contributors but also for research teams, PPI/engagement professionals, third sector organisations, even students.

It is also available in hard copy form which can be purchased, but I have a free supply of books at the moment which I would be delighted to send out to people who might think they could use it in their work.

If you would like a copy, the only thing I ask is if you could let us know how you use the book so that we can keep a record of how it is being used. I would be delighted if anyone wants to get in touch and request one:

Posted on behalf of Dr Kelly Rushton. Research Associate, Division of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, The University of Manchester

Engagement Matters: Telling true, personal stories about science

In this Engagement Matters post, Sheena Cruickshank shares her experience of attending a storytelling workshop and reflects on her own role in communicating science.

As a public engagement practitioner, I passionately believe that the use of storytelling and narrative techniques is an important skill for researchers to develop and use. It helps us more effectively communicate our science and engage with both academic and non-specialist audiences. However, I didn’t fully appreciate how powerful stories could be or how best to craft meaningful stories about science until I had the opportunity to take part in a storytelling workshop held at The University of Manchester Friday 26th October. The workshop was delivered by Liz Neeley (Executive Director) and Erin Barker (Artistic Director) from The Story Collider. Based in the States, this nonprofit organisation have been working with storytellers from both inside and outside science since 2010 to develop true, personal stories about science and share them through a weekly podcast and live shows around the world.

Prof Sheena Cruickshank and Liz Neeley,  Executive Director of The Story Collider

In the workshop we learnt how to build a narrative arc, to bring to life the characters who play key roles within our story, to place the audience in the thick of the action, and to explore those emotions that are shape our science story. It might also seem obvious but we also came to realise the importance of ensuring our stories had a considered beginning, middle and end.

What surprised me was the depth of research evidence presented that highlights how storytelling can connect audiences – not just to you as the storyteller but also to the science you love. We learnt the importance of empathy and how critical that is to help audiences trust you and your science. By listening to examples from The Story Collider podcast ( we experienced this in action, which helped to reinforce our learning.

The workshop showed us that the journey is as important as the destination – if not more so. I appreciated that too often we rush to the destination – or story end without considering all the fascinating steps that lead us there. Using reflective and practical exercises throughout the day, we drafted our own short personal stories of science, and performed these to each other in small groups, which offered opportunities for rich personalised feedback, refinements, clarifications and improvement.

The workshop genuinely opened my eyes to finding your own stories and I can now see how I will use storytelling to enhance my science communication practice. I have realised that I hide behind the comfort of talking about my science and feel safer discussing parasites in public than I do me. I now appreciate that if I also introduce my personal stories of science, that the audience will be more open to engaging with my science and in turn me. Stories help connect people to subject matter that may at first seem abstract or irrelevant. Stories help to create meaning, context and shared experience – which is the ethos of high quality public engagement. Even where I may not use a personal story to illustrate science, the tools the workshop provided will enable me to be much more mindful of the narrative arc in my writing (whether grants or papers or blogs) and teaching.

I am delighted that The Story Collider ( is partnering with The University of Manchester to hold a live storytelling show at The Birdcage on 6th December 2018. Please do come along to hear true, personal stories about our science in Manchester.

Tickets are available here:

Posted on behalf of Professor Sheena Cruickshank, Academic Lead for Public Engagement, The University of Manchester

Twitter: #EngageMatters | @UoMEngage | @sheencr