Tag Archives: University of Manchester

White elephant?

Thursday 19th November 2020, 9.35am (day 3,374)

Oddfellows Hall & MECD, 19/11/20

The vast MECD, or Manchester Engineering Campus Development, is pretty much finished. In embryonic form it was first depicted way back in early January 2018. It now dwarfs the old Oddfellows Hall, which it has part-swallowed, yet what you see rising here is only a small part of the whole.

Thing is — and I am very sure that, having spent hundreds of millions of pounds on this new plaything, the senior management of UoM are keenly aware of this point — is this now the whitest and most mammoth of white elephants? And what of all the blocks of new student accommodation, and hotels, and office blocks, and all the other city-centre property developments that global capital has been poured into over the last decade or so? If you think the economy’s taken a Covid hit thus far, wait for the whole global commercial property market to go tits-up. This piece of economic elastic does not have infinite tolerance. I predict we’ll be coaxed back out into our offices soon enough: if not, they’ll hear the crash on Pluto.

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Halls of (permanent) residence

Tuesday 3rd November 2020, 12.05pm (day 3,358)

The fact that I am still going to campus, and intend to go two or three days a week through November, suggests that ‘lockdown’ as a concept is an even bigger con this time round than it was in March. The students in this hall have paid great sums of money and — in many cases — travelled thousands of miles to be in Manchester, but we can’t even see them from across a twenty-foot room. What do we do about it? I dunno, disobey somehow. At least the leaves are still just about hanging on.

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Bike rack, underused

Tuesday 6th October 2020, 2.10pm (day 3,330)

This idea of ‘underuse’ has been a recurring theme lately — but there are obvious reasons for that, and it is going to become even more the case now that uni have decided that, after all, they would rather not teach face-to-face, ‘at least’ until the end of October. Which is, conveniently, after everyone’s arrived and paid their rent. Don’t blame me — I oppose the decision, and rather vehemently too. But it seems this opinion is now in the minority.

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Autumn comes to campus

Tuesday 29th September 2020, 2.40pm (day 3,323)

Campus tree, 29/9/20

It’s the end of September. The golden foliage is a sign autumn is here.  With it come the students — but this year, instead of being out meeting new people and enjoying themselves, largely they are walled up in high-tech prisons like the George Kenyon hall behind.  Still charged £9K (plus rent) for the privilege.  And the UoM is one of the better ones, presently.

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Going to waste

Wednesday 16th September 2020, 10.50am (day 3,310)

Fallen apples, 16/9/20

This little stand of apple trees outside the Ellen Wilkinson Building on campus sees its crop go mostly to waste even in a normal year. And as it is right now, the whole campus is neglected and starting to rot away. Such a waste.

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On air

Thursday 27th August 2020, 2.20pm (day 3,290)

On air, 27/8/20

Ssshhhh…. I’m recording. It was an excuse to get onto campus, anyway.  This is only the fifth Manchester picture since the 10th March, 170 days ago.

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Waiting

Thursday 13th August 2020, 11.25am (day 3,276)

View from Uni Place, 13/8/20

In the last 145 days, this is only the third picture in Manchester. Which considering I nominally work there, shows the impact of lockdown.  But today I went into campus as is normal and occupied my office and generally hung out in the places I tend to hang out when down there.  The amount of re-motivation this gave me was very noticeable.  Those vested interests who want to keep us locked up, who profit from it, not only don’t need to account for this kind of thing, they strive to actively ignore it.  Always ask — cui bono? Who benefits?

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Pondering the future

Tuesday 30th June 2020, 11.20am (day 3,232)

Pondering, 30/6/20

First trip to campus since March 8th, which as it was a Sunday, already had a desolate, end-of-the-world feel about it that the subsequent closure has cemented in place. On the few days over lockdown that I have visited, all of the city of Manchester has seemed like a coma patient. There is a certain amount of internal activity, things moving around from place to place, but there’s no real life or consciousness to it. This guy looks very much like he’s pondering his future and so should we all. Plants are doing well, though.

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A Sunday on campus

Sunday 8th March 2020, 12.40pm (day 3,118)

Campus on Sunday, 8/3/20

I have tried to stop making a habit of working on Sundays, but there was no avoiding it today — and on campus, too, meaning I drove in to work for only the fourth time in fifteen years. There is something post-apocalyptic about campus on a Sunday — but seeing as we might all be quarantied at some point soon, maybe it’ll look like this from this point on.

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Happy to have made it

Friday 6th March 2020, 7.40pm (day 3,116)

MA ELIP launch party, 6/3/20

I don’t normally depict work colleagues on here but it’s worth making an exception today. For three years at least I’ve been working on getting a new hybrid (mixture of online and on-campus) MA launched (in Educational Leadership), and over this weekend we are finally welcoming our first batch of students. Here are some of them, along with Paul, Bee and Steve, fellow academics, looking happy about this at the meal we organised to mark the occasion. And I am glad too, it’s always a relief to see something come to fruition. There’ll be more of this on Sunday, a working day this weekend (a price to be paid)…

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