“Recognise your potential, become who you are. The acorn is happy to become the oak”- Vivienne Westwood
Manchester is undoubtedly a hotbed of intellectual prowess – from alumni such as Alan Turing, Alfred Waterhouse and Martin Amis to being the location of feats such as the first splitting of the atom and the discovery of graphene – Manchester is clearly the place where great minds come together and achieve amazing things.
And speaking of great minds, Manchester was lucky enough to welcome fashion designer, political activist and environmental advocate Vivienne Westwood to the University to ignite Climate Revolution’s (of which she is the founder) new campaign, Intellectuals Unite. The talk was held at University Place, and the lecture theatre was jam-packed full of students, eager to listen to what Westwood had to say.
Westwood was in Manchester to open the new Climate Control exhibition at Manchester Museum, however she specifically asked to be able to speak to the university’s students while she was in Manchester, to pass on her message about self-education, public responsibility and the importance of protest.
The talk started fashionably late (Vivienne of course had to undergo an outfit change) however it wasn’t long before Westwood waltzed in, donned in an exquisite shimmering sequined-blue number and the talk began. Westwood was a fantastic speaker and I felt myself hanging onto every word of what she was saying – I learned so much not only about environmental issues, but also about our current neo-liberal economic system and the influence that propaganda has on all of our lives. Westwood advocated the importance of thinking for yourself in a world that projects information on you using mainstream media, fighting against climate change by going on protests, and self-educating by reading books, visiting art galleries and surrounding yourself with nature.
There were also plenty of anecdotes and interesting stories and left us students with the encouragement to ‘get a life’ and follow the values purported by Intellectuals Unite, to
lead the chain of gradual change to make a difference to our environment and the greater world around us.
The Intellectuals Unite talk is just one example of what is on offer to students at the University of Manchester – there are so many opportunities to see and do things you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do. Tickets to the event were absolutely free and the event was part of the University’s promise to its students to deliver exciting, engaging and intellectually stimulating extra curricular activities that compliment your
studies and broaden your horizons.