University of Salford to host activities during We Invited the Weekend 2023

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

We Invented the Weekend, the bold and imaginative free festival for the UK, taking place in 6 weeks’ time on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 June, is today announcing the latest programme additions for the brand-new culture led festival in Salford with the University of Salford playing host to a range of events.

The festival champions differences in how people spend their leisure time, situated where the weekend was originally invented in Greater Manchester, 1843. 

The weekend was invented when Salford Lyceum director and workers’ rights activist Robert Lowes (also Sir Ian McKellen’s Great Great Grandfather) campaigned to win mill workers the right to leisure time on Saturday afternoons. In this triumph, Greater Manchester gave an enormous gift to the world and We Invented the Weekend will honour this, in true style, celebrating leisure time, free time, quality time, and me-time.

The University of Salford's MediaCity campus will be the host of the festival's We Think Big offer, with chairs including Sky News’ Interview Producer Melissa Tutesigensi, CEO of Traid, Maria Chenoweth and BBC Radio Manchester presenter, Karen Gabay. The Saturday and Sunday timetable will be packed with insightful talks from industry leading panelists including journalists, environmentalists and architects across important topics across music, sport and of course the weekend.

The confirmed talks taking place at our MediaCity campus are:

Saturday 3 June

  • The Highs Achieved by Robert Lowes - How one man changed history
  • How what we eat shapes who we are
  • Travelling the world without costing the earth
  • The grass can be greener in Salford - From a model green city to a more equal society
  • Making work work for everyone
  • Short and sweet - The four day working week

Sunday 4 June

  • The devil wears fast fashion
  • Happier Monday - music driving change
  • Let's have a kickabout - how sport brings people together

Beth Hewitt, Director of the University's MediaCity campus said: "We Invented the Weekend is such a fantastic festival to be happening in MediaCity and as one of the major partners involved in this event, we are thrilled to be hosting and producing some exciting festival events. 

"Expanding our contributions over the coming years will provide great opportunities for the University of Salford to further develop collaborations and initiatives with regional, national, and international communities and the creative, media and technology industries.

"We're delighted to be hosting We Think Big, in the University of Salford's MediaCity campus and look forward to welcoming panel guests and hosts from across the UK, who will be discussing a wide range of topics from sustainability and the environment to music, sports, and fashion. We're excited to be producing a series of hands-on and practical animation workshops to compliment the debates of We Think Big, open to all ages and families too! 

"So, please sign up to come along to our fabulous MediaCity campus building and get creative and think big with us for the weekend!"

Other key announcements for the programme include:

  • In a first for the UK, We Invented the Weekend will see the North’s first Charity Super.Mkt pop-up, which will grant festival goers access to a curated collection of fashion, accessories and homewares from a dozen of the UK’s best local and national charity retailers. The sole purpose of the pop-up is to make a positive contribution to society and the world with every pound being spent donated to help environmental causes and social good.
  • One of the world’s most diverse dance companies, Rambert, will also be participating in community activity at the festival, transforming the everyday spaces in Salford and MediaCity into awe-inspiring, adventurous, and dynamic pockets of fleeting moments in celebration of the weekend. Rambert will also wow the crowds in a spectacular performance – one of the many happening at this year’s We Invented the Weekend.
  • Sunday 4th June will also see BBC radio legend and DJ-star Craig Charles spurring the crowd on whilst dropping feel good anthems during the Free Time Parade, which will invite everybody to take part in an exciting one-off, mass participation parade through the festival, directed by local movement director Ruth Jones. The moment will give all a chance to hold placards up with pride and in unison with others to celebrate free time. Free Time paraders will be invited to shout about what the weekend means to them and end at the main stage for a powerful finale moment.
  • New to the over 100 ‘We Get Creative’ workshops will be a collaborative dance piece with Manchester’s Factory International, an unrivalled opportunity for weekenders to experience what is to come from Factory International when it officially opens later in June with a taster wellbeing workshop which will encourage people to connect with their bodies, gain awareness of how they might be holding onto stress and, through movement, find ways that encourages their body to feel better.
  • For the first time in history, it’s an all-Manchester FA Cup final on Saturday 3 June and in true 'We Invented the Weekend' style, this will be reflected across the festival…a place to join in the footie fun, or totally avoid it. Footie themed craft activities, mini tournaments and themed music will ensure the buzz for the sporting event is seen throughout the festival. As part of the Try Outs in the Weekend Arena, U-Swim will also host free open water swimming session for those looking to try out a new pastime. 
  • ‘We Get Green’ workshops include activities from RHS Bridgewater such as a plant swap, touring theatre performances with a gardening twist, as well as workshops from Lee Burkhill aka Garden Ninja, the award-winning blogger and presenter of BBC Garden Rescue; and Jason Williams, aka the Cloud Gardener, an RHS award-winning garden designer who will be sharing tips on greening up small spaces. BUPA are the lead event partner for We Get Green and will be inviting festivalgoers to join in craft and planting activities in the MediaCity community garden over the weekend, boasting family and solo activity fun with focus on gardening and sustainability. The latest addition today includes Manchester Sewing Social who will host a beginner and more experienced sewists to get their weekend stitched up.
  • Across the two-day weekender CBeebies Bedtime Stories LIVE will descend onto MediaCity and delight children of all ages, with festival guests and celebrities reading stories including fashion designer Patrick Grant and poet Mike Garry. Plus keep your eyes peeled for CBBC’s Hacker T Dog who will be popping up around the festival site.
  • We Invented the Weekend will also be hosting Art Battle I: The Next Generation, where young artists will compete in live painting competitions to be named champion. In a world-first, the event will take place at The Lowry, which sits in the heart of Salford Quays, named after the early 20th century-painter L.S. Lowry. Young artists will take part in the Junior Art Battle Manchester in the Compass Room, which sits adjacent to the historic L.S. Lowry collection.
  • Community Clothing, an ethical clothing brand based in the North, will be leading a pop-up and swap shop over the two day weekend allowing festivalgoers to trade in and exchange their Community Clothing pieces, whilst their founder and judge on BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, Patrick Grant will join Wayne Hemingway MBE to discuss sustainable fashion and the history of the local textile industry, paying tribute to the Greater Manchester workers who fought for our right to have Saturday’s off.
  • At The Lowry, a key partner of We Invented the Weekend, there will be a whole host of activities as part of the ‘We Get Creative’ workshops organised by the festival, including Lowry by The Lowry, which will allow people to learn how to paint in the style of one of Salford's most famous sons, LS Lowry, under the expert guidance of artist and Local Goggleboxer, Helena Worthington.
  • From a musical perspective, the powerhouse of North West talent and fronted by Pops Robert, Lovescene will be making an appearance as part of the ‘We Play’ performances as well as an unmissable Unity Radio Mainstage takeover including BBC Radio 1xtra heroes Luke Nelson, Nakia Oliver, Black Betty and Prido.
  • SFTOQuays brought to the festival by local heroes Sounds From The Other City and Get Your Docks Off musical themed boat trips on the ship canal. ‘Playhouse Project’ are also set to get the whole family going with soulful house, rare funk and broken beats on the MediaCity weekend stage, amongst a plethora of other DJ sets across the site

We Invented the Weekend will take place 3rd – 4th June in MediaCity and Salford Quays and is expected to attract more than 150,000 people to the area. More information and the festival programme can be found here.

Free tickets are available to reserve across the 200+ activities with bookings opening in early May.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.