Yesterday’s occupation of the Houses of Parliament by representatives of the city of Nottingham were a lesson in relationship building. The City created a wonderfully diverse programme to showcase the city’s strengths, ideas, talent and assets to policy makers and decision takers – with an emphasis on ‘can do’ and a sense of fun (not least the noble way in which our University’s academics declined to win the University Challenge event Chaired by the Speaker of the House).
It wasn’t just fun though. There were some key messages that are worth repeating here:
a) There is an ever-strengthening role for universities to provide intellectual, asset and cultural offerings to their respective cities. Nottingham showcased it’s contributions in theatre, history, art, sport, science and engineering.
b) The scale of universities means they can be engines of economic success and growth when they work in partnership with their city government and across their wider economic partnership areas, such as D2N2. I blogged on this previously here.
c) Wider city objectives that embrace genuine sustainability and a low carbon future require their largest and most influential organisations to support them and help show them the way. I was impressed by the number of times I heard ‘low carbon’ mentioned. whilst other cities have shied away from this ambition and put it in the ‘too difficult’ box Nottingham’s leaders have made it a priority. They see the opportunity it provides.
The morning after ‘Nottingham in Parliament’ and you could ask, ‘well, what’s changed?’
Without doubt, Parliament knows Nottingham was there. You couldn’t turn a corner without the famous Nottingham Green being there. Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham, school children, gold medallists, sporting heroes, business leaders, Knights of the Realm, academics all contributed to the day. They built new relationships, they showcased what the city has to offer and they made Nottingham feel that bit closer to Parliament than maybe it has in the past.
More coverage in the Nottingham Post; the liveblog of the Day from the BBC, Chris Leslie MP’s video of the day; this video from The University and our FlickR page which has some images of events on the day, the journey down and the Home of Sport activities