University celebrates new £43m building with free community events

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Staffordshire University is throwing open its doors for a week-long celebration to launch new flagship building The Catalyst.

Staff, students, businesses and the public are invited to celebrate this milestone on campus with a packed programme of free events running from Monday 28 February 2022 and culminating with a Community Spectacular on Saturday 5 March 2022.

The University has teamed up with Appetite to offer exciting performances and activities for all ages, ranging from robot selfies and poetry workshops, to dance performances and puppetry!

The Catalyst is a £43 million building located on Leek Road at the heart of the University’s Stoke-on-Trent campus. This 8,800 sqm four-storey building brings together the delivery of apprenticeships and digital skills, to meet and stimulate employer demand, in flexible, high-quality, digitally enabled spaces.

Professor Martin Jones, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive said: “A university hub providing world-class services and settings to support students through their education and towards their employment, this building also welcomes current and future students, staff and employers. In addition, it lays down a marker for our future campus transformation projects.

“The Catalyst isn’t just a building for the University – it’s a building for the community too. From hosting events and conferences to inviting the community in to eat at our café, deli and bistro, The Catalyst has a key role to play in further bringing our University to you. Whether you’re a regular to our campus or you’ve never set foot in any of our buildings before, you are more than welcome to come along and get involved with our University!”

Throughout the week, The Catalyst will host public talks from inspiring guest speakers such as James Routledge who will reveal how he turned his mental health struggles into his most recent business, Sanctus, which generated a £4.25 million investment and works with big names such as Joe Wicks’ company The Body Coach.  

Staffordshire University Honorary Doctors will also share insights into their careers, with co-owner and Chair of Port Vale FC Carol Shanahan OBE discussing how to run a successful football club and Danny Flynn, CEO of YMCA North Staffordshire, giving a talk around asset-based community development.

The week concludes with a Community Spectacular for all the family on Saturday 5 March, from 10.30am to 4pm, including free entry and parking. The day will feature performances from giant puppets, the chance to get personal poems on demand from The Poetry Takeaway, plus plenty of opportunities to get hands of with painting, crafts and making seed bombs.

Guests can have their selfie drawn onto a huge canvas by a wall-drawing robot – submit your selfie here for a chance to be included! Visitors can also hop over to the Science Centre to learn about insects and how we can help them at the Staffordshire Invertebrate Science Fair.

Gemma Thomas, Appetite Director, said: “We’re really excited to be partnering with Staffordshire University to celebrate the opening of this fantastic community and education centre on their campus. We’ve created a bespoke event to celebrate the opening with world class arts and culture – right on our doorsteps.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for people of the area to see the investment in people by the University and experience something different suitable for all the family. We hope they will leave feeling inspired both by the performances and The Catalyst itself!”

For a full list of The Catalyst launch events and booking information, please visit or contact

Amy Platts

Media Communications Officer

t: 01782 292702

07799 341911


Staffordshire University is a Civic University which plays a leading role in improving the regional economy and enhancing quality of life in local communities. We pride ourselves on being connected to the needs of students, academic partners, business and society.

We ranked 6th for social inclusion in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 and were in the top 15 for Student Satisfaction in the Complete University Guide 2022.

Our main city campus in Stoke-on-Trent features excellent learning and teaching facilities and good transport links. We have a Centre for Health Innovation in Stafford and our Staffordshire University London campus is committed to preparing students for careers in new and emerging tech industries.