This week has been quite an important week for the University, as both a new building and a new school have been created!
Named after the university’s former president and vice-chancellor, the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons is a £30 million building that is to provide a world-class, 21st century learning environment that will offer its consumers a range of facilities that students and staff alike will benefit from.
With more than one thousand flexible learning spaces built specifically with the requirements of students in mind, the building is to cater for both individual as well as group-orientated areas of study. There are a multitude of ‘break-out rooms’ that offer segregated spaces for groups to study without external distractions, which I can already see myself using in the near future!
The Learning Commons have been furnished in a way that upholds the University of Manchester’s ultra-modern reputation; all of the computers that have been installed within the building are top of the range, and the interior decorating supports the idea that the Commons is an area where students can relax, as well as work. Amenities such as a café and vending machines can also be found within the Learning Commons building, offering users even more convenience. It’s also open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I can see the Learning Commons becoming a crucial studying space during the exam period!
Secondly, this week has been the first in an eight-week programme of events that are to celebrate the creation of the innovative School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. The humanity subjects that make up this new school have arranged a number of different free events that are open to anyone who is interested in attending.
Today, I attended an event known as ‘Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange and beyond’. The talk consisted of discussion from the English Literature and American Studies Department’s Dr. Howard Booth, Dr. Kaye Mitchell, and Dr. Andrew Biswell, the Director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and editor of the new edition of A Clockwork Orange, Burgess’s magnum opus that was written in Manchester.
The event consisted of a talk about the characters within the book, and a number of contextual factors that influenced Burgess’s novel. The lecturers explained how certain key landmarks in Manchester influenced the author when he attended our university, helping to further my understanding of the novel. After this talk, a plaque commemorating Burgess was produced honouring his life. A drinks reception followed, where I was able to talk to both my subject lecturers, as well as friends that I had met on my course.