TV Stars in UCLan 190th Anniversary Film

5 February 2018

BBC Sport pundit Mark Lawrenson and antiques expert Eric Knowles are working with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to help the institution share the story of its inception in 1828.

The duo, who are both Honorary Fellows of UCLan, appear in a short film written, directed and produced by staff and students to mark the 190th anniversary of the University.

It tells the story of a lecturer from 2018 travelling back in time to the dawn of the ‘Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge’, which was established in Preston by local cheesemonger, philanthropist and founder of the Temperance Movement, Joseph Livesey, and is now the University of Central Lancashire.

In the film, the lecturer meets Joseph as well as Charles Dickens and takes part in a student feedback session, taking a playful look at how education has changed over time.

Both Mark and Eric donned Victorian dress for the film, which is being released today, 5 February, to mark the launch of the National Student Survey (NSS).

Mark Lawrenson said: “UCLan is very much a community based University and this story really reminds us that this has always been the case.  It’s great to play a part in the University’s 190th anniversary celebrations and really show how far UCLan has come since 1828.”

Eric Knowles added: “I am delighted that the University has invited me to take part in this very special film.  It highlights how Joseph Livesey brought people together, believing education could transform lives.”

The Executive Dean of UCLan’s Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries, Dr Andrew Ireland, has written the script to ‘You said, we did (in time)’.  He said: “We wanted to make a light-hearted film that tells the story of the institution since it began in 1828, when it was just a couple of rooms above a shop on Cannon Street. It’s a celebration of how learning and the student experience has evolved. And it gives us a chance to have a bit of fun with history.”

The film was shot on location in Preston on Cannon Street and the team was given access to Lancashire museum collections to allow them to re-create an early 19th Century classroom.  Staff, students and alumni from UCLan’s acting and film production courses helped to bring Dr Ireland’s vision to life while hair and make-up was done by staff and students at UCLan’s partner college, Accrington and Rossendale.

UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas said: “How times have changed.  Over the years the Institution expanded to include classes on a wide range of subjects, and its successors began to offer university-level education to the people of Preston. We’ve had many name changes over the years and since 1828 we’ve been known as the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge, the Harris Institute, Harris College, Preston Polytechnic, Lancashire Polytechnic and now the University of Central Lancashire.”

The film ends with a tribute from the lecturer to Joseph Livesey, saying: “Joseph Livesey! Visionary! A man in a box-room! Some books. Lots of eager brains. Wanting to learn. Wanting knowledge. The ‘diffusion of knowledge’. So thank you. And the greatest feedback, the greatest ‘you said, we did’, is all of this. You said, “let’s create an institute for the diffusion of knowledge.   You said… and together, over the next 190 years, we did.”

Professor Thomas added: “Today we are a thriving community of some 35,000 students and 3,500 staff. Our alumni make up a worldwide family of over 181,000 people. This year we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate our rich history and look towards our exciting future.  This fantastic film really captures the history of the University and highlights the incredible journey it’s been on to take us this point.”

View ‘You said, we did (in time)’ and visit UCLan’s 190th Anniversary website and follow UCLan’s 190th anniversary celebrations on Twitter through #UCLan190

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