Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, is taking over from Professor Kevin Shakesheff as UEB lead for Civic and Regional matters. Jeremy announces the launch of the Civic Strategic Delivery Plan, and reflects on what the university’s Civic and Regional role means to him.
The University Strategy highlights the importance of civic and regional activities and builds on the university’s foundation motto that ‘A city is built on wisdom’. Specifically, we state that we are committed ‘to making a difference in our cities and regions’, that we will solve problems and improve lives ‘through application to local and global challenges’, and embed collaboration in all that we do by ‘reaching out to our… civic partners’.
I am delighted to be taking over from Kevin and look forward to chairing the university’s Civic and Regional Committee. When I joined the University in September 2015 I was immediately struck by the breadth of our civic and regional involvement. From the start, I was ex officio chair of the Management Committee of the AHRC Midlands3 (now4) Cities Doctoral Training Partnership which is built on highly successful collaboration between universities in the wider region, and in December 2015 it was announced that Nottingham had been successful in being awarded the title of UNESCO City of Literature.
Colleagues had been involved in writing the bid and I represent the university on the City of Literature’s Board of Trustees. Since then, I have been particularly involved with Nottingham’s cultural and creative organisations (and was part of a team leading our bid to become European Capital of Culture before being thwarted by Brexit!). I was involved in early discussions about ‘Universities for Nottingham’, and now represent the university on the Nottingham Board for Culture & Creativity and on the Greater Broad Marsh Advisory Group, advising on what is apparently currently the largest inner-city regeneration project in Europe.
All this has impressed on me the vital importance of working together with the City and County councils, the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, other civic and regional bodies and organizations, and local businesses to ensure that the university is an ‘anchor institution’ for the locality.
As Kevin said to me before he left, the university’s Civic and Regional agenda is fascinating but it’s also huge since in many ways all members of our community (both staff and students) have some involvement in it because we all work, study, and live in the city and region. While not wanting to limit any of our current civic and regional engagement, the Strategic Delivery Plan will help us sharpen our focus and energies over the coming years. The Plan highlights six priorities: Universities for Nottingham; Digital Nottingham; Supporting the East Midlands Development Corporation; Student Projects; local educational opportunity; and local place-marketing, business and cultural life.
Thank you to Kevin for leading on the production of this Strategic Delivery Plan and to Alex Favier, Ben Sumner, and Eleonora Pezzoli for their expertise and input. I would also like to acknowledge the support and commitment of members of the Civic and Regional Committee in helping to create this plan. Next steps will be to develop an action plan for the delivery of the six priorities and to decide on how we will measure success. It’s also important to note the collaborative and interdependent relationships with other strategic delivery plans.
I look forward to working with you all on this central aspect of our University Strategy. While the Strategic Delivery Plan focuses on the UK, the Civic and Regional Committee will meet annually with the Provosts of UNM and UNNC to explore the potential for tri-campus sharing of best practice.
Monday 19 April 2021