Tag Archives: University of Manchester

Poster day

Tuesday 14th December 2021, 10.10am (day 3,764)

The last taught class of the first semester, and of 2021. The students show off the ideas they’ve been working on in groups over the last few weeks — including, here, 3-D printing being used to create replicas of famous artworks that people can then touch and interact with, which seems a reasonable idea to me. It was an engaging, interesting class, and one that if I had listened to my paranoid employer, I should have hoiked online at 12 hours’ notice. But I didn’t listen, and the life of everyone involved was all the better for it.

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A break between classes

Friday 10th December 2021, 11.15am (day 3,760)

University Place, 10/12/21

At times in a British December it’s hard to believe there is such a thing as sunlight, so this was a welcome burst on an otherwise grey day, illuminating those of us taking a break in University Place. For once, on this shot, I don’t mind the appearance of litter bins.

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Chinese pronunciation class

Wednesday 8th December 2021, 1.25pm (day 3,758)

I have to stand up in front of a full room next week and intone the names of at least a hundred Chinese people (amongst others); so this was a professional development opportunity that was worth the time. If the recording of this session ever gets out, however, I suspect we will go viral and be a source of hilarity on Chinese social media. A dozen or so middle-aged white academics being tutored by the very patient Luxi (pictured, as she encouraged us to place our lips correctly for the first syllable of ‘Yuxuan’), mangling tones and generally embarrassing ourselves. But at least it was only a rehearsal.

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Royce Building, early

Tuesday 7th December 2021, 8.05am (day 3,757)

Royce building, early, 7/12/21

Sometimes at this point in the year you wouldn’t even know there was such a thing as sunlight. All the way into campus by 8am and it’s only just getting light, making this a study in blue. While I was away this space at the front of the new Royce building has emerged from under the perpetual building site to acquire seats and tables, but I doubt anyone will be using them for a while.

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Air Liquide

Friday 22nd October 2021, 8.40am (day 3,711)

Air Liquide, 22/10/21

This container of (presumably) liquid nitrogen, behind a protective fence that allows (like this) only glimpses of the whole, is depicted not just for itself, but because now I walk past it every time I go into uni it reminds me of the 90s German electronic band Air Liquide. Listen to their album Nephology — and particularly the track “The Clouds Have Eyes” — preferably while dosed up with something strong, and have your head completely melted. Marvel at the fact I used to listen to this kind of stuff for pleasure. And still do, in fact I’m listening to it right now.

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The new students get thinking

Friday 1st October 2021, 12.10pm (day 3,690)

Masked students, 1/10/21

I regret the fact that they all still feel the need to wear a mask. I regret that so many of them have not yet been able to arrive, thanks largely to airlines ripping them off and governments (worldwide) still using Covid as an excuse to be mean to foreigners. But I’m still glad they’re here. This is only the second day in more than 18 months — the first being 4th December 2020 — in which I’ve been able to hold a face-to-face class. There seemed to be some work going on at this point.

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Free beer and haircut

Tuesday 21st September 2021, 11.45am (day 3,680)

Free beer and haircut, 21/9/21

In some years the return of the students to campus is not always exactly a welcome event — it marks the end of summer, it presages a lot of work for the weeks ahead, etc. But in 2021 it would be impossible not to celebrate it. And anyone who thinks that some kind of future lockdown is an inevitability, please leave the room now, I will have nothing to do with that viewpoint. The only way I will be incarcerated in the future is by being arrested.

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Not a wedding photograph

Monday 19th July 2021, 2.05pm (day 3,616)

Not a wedding photo, 19/7/21

Photographer and bride… but there was no groom in sight, so either these two were preparing some photos for a wedding at a later date, or this was a fashion shoot of some kind. The lump of rock behind is the big glacial boulder that stands in the Old Quadrangle of the University of Manchester.

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Campus bee

Wednesday 7th July 2021, 5.10pm (day 3,604)

Campus bee, 7/7/21

The bee is the symbol of the city of Manchester (something to do with ‘industry’), so it seems appropriate that this guy and his colleagues were busying themselves on campus this afternoon — certainly they are showing more industry than the human inhabitants are at the moment.

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Still pondering the future

Wednesday 30th June 2021, 9.35am (day 3,597)

Gilbert learning commons, 30/6/21

One year ago today, 30th June 2020, I was ‘allowed’ back on to campus for the first time since all the shit started, and took the picture linked here, of a student sat among the lush June foliage, alone, wondering where his future had gone.

One year on, this photo is taken from more-or-less the same point, and little has changed, has it? The huge Manchester campus still just sits there, mostly unused. Maybe my managers, our ‘leaders’, would like to ask, what am I complaining about? These people are still going to get their degrees are they not? They’ve got what they paid for? Yeah, well, if you reduce the experience of getting an education to a pure cash transaction then yes, they have indeed. But what a wasted year it has been, and I mean that also in the sense of wasting away, eroding, no longer vital and healthy. This is not because of some virus, but because of fear and paranoia, a desperate urge not to do anything that could see fingers pointed.

But I say this again, sorry to be repetitive but it deserves repeating. There were more than 40,000 people in Wembley stadium yesterday afternoon. This proves that if the will is there, this ridiculous fear can end. Is it so impossible to accept that once you are vaccinated, and the guy next to you is vaccinated, and the people who can’t get vaccinated (like those under 18) brush off this thing as if it were water in the vast majority of cases — then there is no longer any need to live life in this state? The most worrying thing for me is that such views now seem to be considered subversive. There are groups out there who are quite happy for most people to be frightened of shadows, and they’ve won.

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