What's On

University of Manchester to host FREE festival with 150+ ‘immersive’ events to celebrate its 200th year

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 30th January 2024

A festival with more than 150 “immersive” events is happening this summer to mark 200 years since Manchester’s oldest university opened.

Can you believe the University of Manchester (UoM) is celebrating its bicentenary this year?

The city‘s leading higher education institution, and currently the third-largest university by student number in the UK, was founded at its original Oxford Road campus base all the way back in 1824, which means that 2024 marks 200 years since it officially opened its doors to the public – and what a 200 years it’s been, too.

So, in a bid to properly celebrate 200 years of educating some of the country’s brightest young talents, UoM has just announced that it will be hosting a brand-new festival this summer, called Universally Manchester.

The four-day event will be filled with all sorts of activities, and it’s set to welcome up to 60,000 people to campus in early June.


Taking place from Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 June 2024, festivalgoers will be able to curate their very-own varied programme of activities, with everything from behind-the-scenes tours, and salon discussions, to music, medicine, theatre, comedy, art, poetry, creative writing, wellbeing, computing, and so much featuring on the jam-packed lineup.

With more than 150 “imaginative and immersive” events set to take place in what are being described as “unexpected” places across campus, it really does sound like there’ll be something on offer for all ages and interests to get stuck into.


The festival will have a different focus each day, and events will be popping up everywhere.

Labs, concert theatres, outdoor spaces, and the University’s award-winning culture hotspots like the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum, are set to be some of the hives of activity.

UoM first opened its doors all the way back in 1824 / Credit: Supplied

And the best bit? It’s absolutely FREE to everyone to head on down to.


If all of that wasn’t exciting enough as it is, a handful of famous figures from the University’s past, present, and future will be attending the festival.

World-renowned physicist, award-winning podcaster, and (most importantly) proud Mancunian, Professor Brian Cox, is one of the first well-known names to be announced as attending, and he’ll be appearing alongside BAFTA-winning broadcaster, writer, and historian Professor David Olusoga.

Some of the events planned over the four-day event include the return of the popular ‘Community Festival’ with “insightful” live performances and lots of engaging family-friendly fun on the Saturday, and then both ‘The Carinval’ and the ‘Manchester Histories Festival’ on the Sunday.

‘The Carnival’ will be happening down at Whitworth Art Gallery, and will be feature a programme of live art performances, free activities, music, and street food vendors, while festival partners, Manchester Histories Festival, will be hosting a range of exciting events that’ll give people the chance to explore the “richness and diversity” of Manchester‘s heritage. 

Read more:

Full festival listings are set to be announced in due course.


Universally Manchester is to take over UoM’s Oxford Road campus in the heart of the city centre from Thursday 6 – Sunday 9 June 2024, and you can find out more here.

Featured Image – Supplied