Many of our most local communities are socially fragmented, experience high levels of poor health and inequality, and are among those most heavily affected by the current and future impacts of the cost-of-living crisis. 11,000 children live in poverty within a two-mile radius of Manchester Museum. Our ongoing work to embed social justice in our practices responds to this.
We launched a pilot programme for the cultural sector, Local Matters, in 2021 which advocates for a different response to addressing the needs of children and families living in poverty. Led by Dr Carl Emery and Louisa Dawes from the University of Manchester, the programme addresses how poverty and disadvantage are understood and responded to within the museum and through its relationships and activities.
The University of Manchester has held a commitment to social responsibility as one if its core aims for over a decade and our pro-active approach to social justice and anti-poverty work is understood and supported as an integral part of what it means to be a socially responsible museum and university.
In 2023 we received significant philanthropic support to create a new Social Justice Manager role and drive forward our work on family poverty, inclusion and social mobility over the next four years. They will develop strategic partnerships with organisations, artists and others, and work creatively to deliver and evaluate new programmes that will make a difference to our communities.