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Manchester innovations live forever on film

Learnings seek to help inform city-scale tech strategy in Manchester and beyond

The star of CityVerve's Manchester: City of Firsts film is the city
The star of CityVerve's Manchester: City of Firsts film is the city

CityVerve, the UK’s smart city demonstrator in Manchester, has released a film that aims to shine a light on the city’s innovative achievements through the ages.


To ensure Manchester continues to be a city of firsts, CityVerve has also launched the CityVerve Academy ( to provide Manchester citizens with the necessary skills to evolve with the digital technologies that are transforming the places they live, work and play.


The short film, called Manchester: City of Firsts, celebrates the “world changing innovations” that have been pioneered in the city “past, present and future”. This includes the first public library, passenger railway, football league and first life through in vitro fertilisation (IVF).


The City of Firsts film is not only a reminder of what Manchester has given – and continues to give – to the world, but the city’s great spirit of collaboration which has made these things possible,” said Rowena Burns, chair of Manchester Science Partnerships.


“This is incredibly important when we’re talking about building future cities that work for everyone, and that has been at the heart of the CityVerve project.”


She added: “Our demonstrator [CityVerve] has helped us explore new avenues, from connecting buildings to healthcare, and these learnings can help inform city-scale tech strategy in Manchester and beyond.”


The film, directed by writer and filmmaker, David Petch features more than one dozen Mancunians, and its cast includes: Helen Pankhurst, great granddaughter of suffragette movement leader Emmeline Pankhurst; University of Manchester engineering students Alex Agboola-Dobson and Sebastian Preston-Jensen; and seven times gold medal winning paralympian Jody Cundy.


“The star of this film is the city, and what better way to bring it to life than with the residents and people who have a strong affinity to it,” added Petch.


“The film is a celebration of Manchester, of all it has and continues to achieve. Be it engineers, athletes or political activists, this city relentlessly challenges the status quo, innovates and changes our world for the better.”


A full version of the Manchester: City of Firsts film can be viewed on CityVerve’s website where further information on the inspirational characters in the film and their connection to the project can be found.


The release of the film follows the recent launch of an augmented reality walking tour by CityVerve offering the chance to find out more about Manchester’s innovations, by encouraging visitors to explore in and around the Oxford Road Corridor, the city’s innovation district.


Courses available at the CityVerve Academy will include: an introduction to cyber-security; cyber-security essentials; an introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT); an introduction to packet tracer, designed for beginners with no prior networking knowledge; and entrepreneurship which will explore interactive, online case studies to show how to apply network technology skills to start a business or advance careers.


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