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UCEN Manchester commissions mural of hope for post-Covid-19 recovery

Work on a new nine-metre high mural to recognise the resilience shown by students through the pandemic and inspire hope for an aspirational post-pandemic future has been commissioned at UCEN Manchester’s Openshaw campus.

The intention is that the mural will create a visual time capsule that reflects the feelings, fears and hopes of students and colleagues, and represent the exciting opportunities young people across the city will have to create a brighter future as the region embarks on its post-pandemic recovery.

The mural has also been shaped by UCEN Manchester’s Visual Arts students, who were involved in creating the design brief for the mural and supported the artist selection panel in their important decision. 

The mural is being designed by artist Zoë Power, a multi-disciplinary artist, working in the fields of illustration, print and typography. With a love of craft and typography, Zoë has also studied traditional sign writing.  Currently Zoë is extensively involved in several community arts projects across the UK, working with local residents and organisations to bring art to the wider community.

Zoe commented:

I was thrilled to hear that I would be a part of this project.

"Key themes of the brief were growth and overcoming adversity, which echo with many of the concepts that I enjoy working with, so the commission felt like the right match for me. I'm really excited to get started.”

Lisa O'Loughlin, Principal of UCEN Manchester, commented: “I am delighted that we are working with such a talented artist for this exciting project. Our students and colleagues have faced a lot of challenges over the last 18 months due to the pandemic, yet they have not faltered from working to achieve their aspirational goals.  We are extremely proud of what they have been able to achieve and this mural will serve as a reminder of the value of resilience and what can be accomplished in the face of adversity when we work together.


The mural marks such a huge milestone for us all in both in terms of what we have achieved and the opportunities that lie ahead as the whole of Manchester recovers following the pandemic.

"I am very excited for the unveiling at the new Openshaw campus, which I hope will be the start of a new chapter for our students who can continue their journey to becoming the next generation of industry excellence."

The mural is to be painted outside the main entrance of Whitworth House and will be unveiled at an exciting time for UCEN Manchester, in line with the opening of brand new, state-of-the-art facilities at the Openshaw campus in September 2021.

It’s just a matter of weeks until the first students walk through the doors of the £25m development, which will truly enhance the overall learning experience, providing a brighter future for the next generation of students in the city of Manchester.

In addition, in 2022, UCEN Manchester students will benefit from a new four-story campus right in the heart of Manchester, which will hold state-of-the-art-facilities and resemble a real working environment. The facilities will include; two industry-standard theatres and nine rehearsal rooms for students at The Arden School of Theatre; a fully-equipped film and TV studio for students at The Manchester Film School; a 3D Games Development studio for Creative & Digital Media students and much, much more.

For more information, visit our dedicated campus page.

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