I was honoured and very chuffed to have received a personal thank you from the University of Manchester for my support of the University of Manchester Access Programme (MAP) and in addition my student mentoring as part of the Manchester Gold programme in particular the impact on one of their PhD students.
A reception with about 150 people was held on February 27th in the Manchester Art Gallery. What a wonderful welcome with a personalised ‘party bag’ – actually it was very tastefully presented and it included a beautiful limited edition art print of Manchester University on the front of the card. Inside was a handwritten personal letter – what a lovely thoughtful gesture. It will be treasured!
The event was hosted by the university chancellor and poet, Lemm Sissay. Lemm opened the celebrations with a stirring and inspiring rendition of his poem ‘Making a difference’ – now that’s how to connect with an audience (learning point to self here)! A participant in the MAP recounted how the programme had truly ‘made a difference’ to her life and career opportunities.
The guests at the reception were made to feel like special friends. It was great to see some now familiar faces and also to meet new ‘friends’ with diverse talents and careers: people with a common respect and fondness for the University who had contributed their time and ‘given back’ towards the future.
There was much mingling and serious talk; merriment and banter; and opportunities for happy photo shots.
[Note to myself – in 2016, the first time I saw Lemm speaking I think it may have rekindled the embers of my inner poet self – a little part of my soul. Subsequently, after a particularly inspiring science event I briefly dabbled in the art of poetry myself with a short poem. Better stick to the day job me thinks – but I’m happy to be a scientist and science communicator who might occasionally get carried away in the moment and burst into poetry (of a sort) – much to the embarrassment of my family. After all, science can also be ‘sheer poetry’!]
I left the Gallery with a sense of the importance of friendships and giving. I had a lovely evening and I very much appreciated being acknowledged in such a friendly and personal way.
by Dr Julie Charlesworth