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Bookable Saturday University of Salford We Think Big

Making Work Work for Everyone

When we invented the weekend, not everyone was on board straight away. Now after the pandemic, the shape of our working week and the ways we work are rapidly changing once again. Whilst some may welcome these changes, for others they bring concerns. Hyper digitalisation, globalisation and shifting working patterns may be advantageous for some businesses, but could they cause instability, increased inequality or even exploitation for some workers? How can we make work, work for everyone?

The weekend was invented in Greater Manchester 1843, when the successful Early Closing Campaign, led by Salford Lyceum director and workers’ rights activist Robert Lowes (also Sir Ian McKellen’s Great Grandfather) won workers the right to leisure time on Saturday afternoons. In this triumph, Greater Manchester gave an enormous gift to the world.

University of Salford – Lecture Theatre

Saturday, 11:45am – 12:30pm

Suitable for, All ages, step-free



Melissa Tutesigensi
Interviews Producer, Sky News
Melissa is an Interviews Producer at Sky News. She has previously worked for Channel 4 News, Times Radio and the BBC. Her work has featured at Durham Book Festival, in Refinery29 and as part of the award-winning Anthems podcast series by Broccoli Productions.


Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
Labour MP for Salford and Eccles
Rebecca is a British politician and former solicitor serving as Member of Parliament (MP) for Salford and Eccles since 2015. A member of the Labour Party, Long-Bailey served in the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2016 to 2017, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from 2017 to 2020 and Shadow Secretary of State for Education in 2020.

Molly Costello
Employment Law Business Partner, Peninsula UK
Peninsula is the UK’s leading provider of human resources, employment law and health & safety advice to small and medium businesses. Molly provides specialist employee relations support and training to Peninsula’s corporate and high profile clients including market leaders in funeral care, food retail, logistics and education sector.

Dr Nela Smolović Jones
Director of Gendered Organisational Practice, The Open University
Nela Smolović Jones is the director of the Gendered Organisational Practice research cluster at the Open University, where she is also a Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies, and is Associate Editor of the journal Gender, Work and Organisation. Her research focuses on advancing gender equality within organisations and society. She studies how feminist solidarity and democratic forms of organising are achieved in practice, particularly against corruption. She is also interested in the experiences of women in precarious work, how their gender is exploited for more profit and how they organise against this. Her work has been published in journals such as Work, Employment & Society, Organization Studies, Organization, Gender, Work & Organization and Management Learning. Her second-biggest ambition is to stop working on weekends.

Dr Jill Ebrey
Tutor in Sociology, Manchester University
Dr Jill Ebrey has worked as a lecturer in Higher Education for a number of years. Since 2012, she has worked at the University of Manchester in both a teaching and research role. For three years she was attached to CRESC (a research centre at Manchester) as an Honorary Research Fellow. Whilst there, she developed her work on the interface between work and leisure and has co-edited a special edition of Leisure Studies on ‘the weekend’ published in April 2014. This followed the completion of her PhD thesis, The Weekend: Time, Space and Everyday Life in Manchester and Salford. Involvement in recent research projects based at the university have included Understanding Everyday Participation (PI-Professor Andrew Miles) (2014-18) which involved mixed method qualitative research including an ethnographic study of a village on the edge of Aberdeen. Her most recent work has been on a project which investigates the low uptake of Pension Credit (PI-Dr Kingsley Purdam).

If you would like to find out more on this particular subject or another weekend topic, follow this link to the Open University’s dedicated We Invented the Weekend Open Learn page – We invented the weekend! – OpenLearn – Open University

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