University of Salford shortlisted for two prestigious sustainability awards

The Green Gown Awards are the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector. Established in 2004, the aim of the Awards is to showcase exceptional sustainability initiatives undertaken within the education sector, and to highlight the role of universities and colleges in educating the next generations about sustainable and conscious solutions to the current challenges. We’re delighted to announce that two University of Salford applications are finalists in this year’s Awards!

Category: Digital Futures

Virtual Peel Park (VPP): using digital tools to create inclusive natural environments or outdoor spaces i.e., replace natural environments?

This category recognises the digital transformation of education and research to create more immersive student experiences, improve the campus environment and enrich the teaching practices.

The COVID pandemic and lockdowns led to increased engagement with outdoor spaces and a digital revolution with novel technologies, such as Virtual Reality (VR), used more widely by the public. This has allowed educators to provide richer and more inclusive learning experiences to all students. The Virtual Peel Park (VPP) project, led by Dr Simon Hutchinson from the School of Science, Engineering and Environment and Jessica Britch, Peel Park Ranger, involves co-creating a digital version of the park. It harnesses these opportunities to enable Salford students and the local community to get to know and meaningfully engage with our local environment. For students, the project also provides opportunities to gain news skills and boost their employability. If you’d like to find out more and/or get involved in helping create Virtual Peel Park, please email Simon at

Students creating Virtual Peel Park
during a co-creation event in 2022.
Drone photo taken as part of
the Virtual Peel Park project.

Category: Sustainability Champion of the Year – Staff

Gwen Riley Jones – Socially Engaged Photographer-in-Residence with the Salford Art Collection (2021/22)

This category recognises people who went above and beyond to implement a sustainability initiative (or several) and made a positive impact on their peers, their institution, their students, their local community, or their local workforce.

While working as a Socially Engaged Photographer in Residence with the University of Salford Art Collection Team, Gwen ran a four-day workshop for young people from the Action for Conservation group, exploring ways to creatively express new and engaging ways of communicating ideas and concepts surrounding the climate emergency and creating calls to actions. The project also focused on exploring key learning from the IGNITION project, an innovative Greater Manchester wide exploring Nature Based Solutions (NBS) for climate change adaptation. During the workshop, she created and facilitated a range of practical photographic activities, including nature and plant-based methods of imaging making (anthotypes). The workshops resulted in an exhibition – “Planting for the Planet” – displayed at RHS Bridgewater May-August 2022. The project involved and reached a significant number of people, with 23 people directly involved, 7 collaborating partners, and an estimated 50-60k people visiting the subsequent exhibition. You can find out more about the project on Gwen’s website.

“Planting for the Planet”:
anthotype artwork displayed at RHS Bridgewater.
Gwen and the young people from Action for Conservation
at RHS Bridgewater.

The winners will be announced at the Green Gown Awards Ceremony in November 2023.

Congratulations and good luck to the finalists!

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