Reclaim the Night 2017

At 7pm on February 23rd, the streets of Manchester were reclaimed by over 2,000 protesters.

Campaigners adorned with signs, chants and colourful clothes lead a procession from Owen’s Park student accommodation in Fallowfield, to the University of Manchester’s Students Union.

The predominantly female march, closed down half of Oxford Road, and then culminated in a rally at the Student Union. With guest speakers, and inspirational messages of hope.

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Photo: Lauren Noble

After a spate of sexual assaults in Fallowfield around four years ago, the event has gained notoriety and popularity with not only the students of Manchester, but the local residents.

While the campaigners were mostly students, the march did not discriminate against men, members of the LGBT community or families.

With an increase in attacks on students in the past few months, this march has become a symbol and a beacon of hope for many. The whole idea behind the Reclaim the Night march is to take back the streets, to feel safe walking home alone, to eradicate victim blaming, and to make people aware of the struggles being faced by many.

Student activism surrounding the topic of sexual violence has soared in the past few years, with the march being one of the safe spaces to share opinions, and to stand together.

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Photo: Lauren Noble

I spoke to one of the event organisers Mia Shepherd from the MMU Feminist Society, about the event and her views on the protest, and what more could be done be the universities and the police to promote safety.

Reclaim the Night begin in 1977, when the Yorkshire Ripper was still active; and as a response to the curfew implemented by the police, which stated that women should not be out at night.

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Photo: Lauren Noble

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TEDxManchester

After a break in 2016, HOME  was once again host to TEDxManchester. This is an independently organised event which aims to promote a TED-like experience.

Organised by the team at HOME, Herb Kim and the thinking digital team, this year’s event was a huge success. The speakers were exciting and innovative, obviously chosen for their varied interests and talks.

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Photo: Lauren Noble

The events popularity was immediately evident when the tickets went on-sale, as they sold out within two hours.

The event as a whole was highly intellectual (with the exception of Fool Jonathan Kay), with talks covering a range of topics, including; artificial intelligence, our addition to our mobile phones, ukuleles, offensive postcards and entrepreneurship.

Some of the stand-out talks of the day were; Professor Sophie Scott who gave a fascinating talk about the human voice, and how beat-boxers might hold the key to unlocking the extent of human communication. Mr Bingo was also a firm crowd favorite, with nobody knowing why he was speaking at the event prior to him getting up on the stage. The unveiling of his crude and highly offensive postcards delighted the crowd.

There were also a wealth of other fabulous talks, including, Volker Hirsch, Squirrel Nation and Tash Willcocks.