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Bookable Saturday Sunday University of Salford We Think Big

We Think Big talks by the University of Salford

We Think Big – a series of upbeat and topical talks and debates hosted by the University of Salford. This is your chance to hear from local and national industry experts on important subjects of today, with the aim of initiating conversation and driving positive change. Book your free space below!


11.45 – 12.30: 
Making Work Work for everyone 

In the spirit of Greater Manchester’s radical political tradition, this opening talk takes inspiration from the workers’ fight for the right to the weekend, and looks ahead to the future to ask: How can we make work, work for everyone?
Rebecca Long-Bailey MP – Labour MP for Salford and Eccles

Molly Costello – Employment Law Business Partner, Peninsula UK

Dr Nela Smolović Jones – Director of Gendered Organisational Practice, The Open University

Dr Jill Ebrey – Tutor in Sociology, Manchester University


12.45 – 1.30pm: 
How What We Eat Shapes Who We Are
In this discussion, we hear how food shapes the way we see the world, the role it plays in communities and what can be done to create a food system that is sustainable and accessible for all

Pam Warhurst CBE  – Founder, Incredible Edible

Mary-Ellen McTague – Chef, Writer & Co-Founder, Eat Well MCR

Matt Bigland – Founder & CEO Blend Family

1.45 – 2.30pm:
Travelling the World Without Costing the Earth

Humans have always been on the move. Travelling, whether by car, bike, plane, bus, or foot has been an essential part of our development and activity. It is something that most people rely on every day. But with the climate crisis looming, we must ask ourselves, ‘What is the future of travel?’ and how can we get from A to B whilst ensuring the preservation of the planet?

Anna Hughes –
Founder & Director, Flight Free UK

Dr James Warren – Senior Lecturer in Transport & Sustainability, The Open University

Eve Holt – Director, GreaterSport & Strategic Leadership for GM Moving

2.45 – 3.30pm:
The Grass Can be Greener in Salford

Salford has been crowned the most sustainable place to live in England and Wales according to research by the Centre for Thriving Places. It’s an impressive accolade that reflects Salford’s strengths in energy-efficient buildings, access to green spaces and low-carbon emissions. But that doesn’t mean it translates to quality of life, with the area remaining among England’s most deprived. This session zooms in on Salford to ask how a green city can be a more equal city too.

Paul Dennett – City Mayor, Salford

Dr Morag Rose – Walking Artist, Activist and Academic

Kelly-Marie Rodgers – Architect and Strategic Lead, GreaterSport Manchester



11.45 – 12.30:
The Devil Wears Fast Fashion

The fashion industry currently stands as the second most polluting industry globally but we all love to get dressed up, so how can we do so sustainably? 

In this session we talk charity fashion, the rise of thrift and upcycling, and why it’s down to world leaders, corporations and influencers to squash fast fashion and cultivate a sustainable closet.

Maria Chenoweth – CEO, Traid

Jade McSorley –
Co-Founder, LOANHOOD

Kemi Gbadebo – Founder, Gbadebo

Alison Carlin – Co-founder, Manchester Fashion Movement

Charlotte Instone – Founder, Know the Origin & Business Development Manager, The Sustainability Show 

12.45 – 1.30pm:
Happier Mondays – Music Driving Change

Greater Manchester is a place that fizzes with music and unique creativity. In this session we take a look at how music shapes Greater Manchester, the ability it has in bringing people together and the powerful role it can have in changing society.

Chair: Karen Gabay – Producer, Filmmaker & Radio Host, BBC Radio Manchester

Riv Burns – Director, From the Other

Michael Betteridge – Composer, Conductor and Animateur

Rebecca Swarray – DJ, Producer, Curator & Artist  and GMCA Senior Policy Officer – Creative Culture, Policy & NTE

1.45 – 2.30pm

Let’s Have a Kickabout – How Sport Brings us Together

Sport is all around us and is a prism through which millions of people define their lives. It is a powerful force, which has the potential to bring people together, strengthen communities and give people hope. In this session we talk about the role that sport plays in our society today and how it can be a force for good.

Chair: Michael Andrew James Sheridan – Digital Creative, Presenter

Lizzi Doyle –
Producer, BBC 5Live Sport

John Shiels – Chief Executive, Manchester United Foundation

Sophia Sanderson – Founder, Women Of Colour and The Beautiful Game