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Living Well in the 21st Century


Manchester has been a crucible of political, economic and technological progress for the past 200 years. BAP’s 2017 conference will channel the spirit of radical thinking in Britain’s second city to examine a range of ideas to help humanity live well the 21st Century.

Based in the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel in the historic heart of the city, BAP’s Manchester Conference will have three compelling strands:


The modern world is increasingly made up of giant conurbations. How do we make our cities more prosperous, more hospitable, cleaner, safer, culturally richer and more fun? How can government, business and philanthropy work better together to improve urban housing, transport and schools?


New technologies and advances in bioscience have the potential to make our lives easier and longer. But in a galaxy of new gadgets and treatments, which are the most important? How can universities and business work better together to develop them? And how do we ensure that advancing science leaves no-one behind?


The world of work — and its rewards — is rapidly changing. Automation threatens manual jobs. Migration suppresses wage rates. The sharing economy creates millions of self-employed small entrepreneurs. Wealth inequality and financial insecurity grow apace. How does society ensure fairness without restricting opportunity and growth?


Manchester has a good claim to be the birthplace of western free-market capitalism — and some of its alternatives.

The city’s wealth, size and influence exploded with the development of the textile industry from the late 18th century, which made it a global hub for trade and new political ideas. Such rapid economic transformation led to stability and unrest, from the ‘Peterloo Massacre’ of 1819 when protestors demanding reform were killed by a government militia. Observation of conditions in the cotton mills also fuelled the Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who first met in Manchester in 1845. At the same time, Manchester politician Richard Cobden emerged as a leader of the ‘free trade’ movement. The ‘Manchester School’ also called for anti-slavery and pacifism and gave birth to the Guardian newspaper.

In the second half of the 19th Century Manchester was a city of broader commerce and manufacture tempered by philanthropy and progressive local government — but still a hotbed of new thinking, including suffragism and the birth of the Co-operative (mutual business ownership) movement.

20th Century Manchester was in the forefront of computer design, and became a model for post-industrial self-reinvention —boosted in the 1980s by the emergence of the UK’s most radical music scene with world famous bands from the Stone Roses to New Order and Oasis. The city’s self-confident swagger, and smart networking between business and local government, have made it the prime target for government efforts to encourage the emergence of the UK’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

Manchester’s industrial cityscape was once made famous by the paintings of L.S. Lowry, but today’s city is being transformed again. In 1996, the city centre was devastated by an IRA bomb — which became the catalyst for a new wave of regeneration. The Manchester of today is a multicultural metropolis, a hub of higher education, science and media industries, including BBC and ITV studios.

Manchester is also the home of Graphene — the ultra-thin material that may be the most important invention of the modern era — as well as three of Britain’s finest symphony orchestras, the world’s longest-running soap opera Coronation Street, and the world’s most famous sports brand in Manchester United football club.

Finally, Manchester offers great nightlife, global cuisine and a globally-connected airport. In short, it’s an ideal and inspirational venue for a great BAP conference.



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Manchester, England