The Percival Lecture: Manchester, UNESCO City of Literature: Culture and the Sustainable City

  • DATE

    26 April 2022

  • TIME

    6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

  • AGES

    All ages welcome



Please note that this event is exclusive to Manchester Lit & Phil members and MMU invitees.

In 2017, a joint bid from Manchester City Council, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester was successful in gaining Manchester UNESCO Creative City status as a City of Literature. The case made in the bid was that Manchester deserves recognition not just for its literary heritage, but for the vibrancy of literature in the city in the present day, and for the diversity of its literary cultures, past and present.

In researching the bid, it was discovered that the sheer diversity of literary activity meant that organisations and artists tended to work in isolation from one another. Furthermore, few residents of Manchester could appreciate or benefit from the richness of literary activity all around them.

Since then, the partners have established an independent charitable organisation to lead the engagement of Manchester with the global UNESCO Creative Cities Network: Manchester City of Literature. The charity also co-ordinates the activities of a network of organisations within the city around shared values, goals and projects.

At the end of 2021 Manchester City of Literature submitted its first four-year report to UNESCO summarising its achievements and setting out the road ahead. At this watershed moment for Manchester’s Creative City designation, Professor Jess Edwards’ lecture reflects on the assets that earned Manchester this designation, and on the potential for literature to contribute here and elsewhere to the UNESCO goal of sustainable cities and communities.