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Photography by Katie Jones

Luthfur Rahman is the Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council and the first person of Bangladeshi origin to be elected a Councillor on Manchester City Council. In his executive post for skills, culture and leisure, he is recognised as playing a major role in the city’s recent cultural development.

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Luthfur was born in Jagannathpur, Bangladesh in 1976. His father, Surabur Rahman, best known as the president of the Greater Manchester Awami League and former chairman of the Shahjalal Mosque and Islamic Centre in Manchester, migrated to Manchester in 1968 and settled in Longsight. In 1980 at the age of three, Luthfur along with his mother and his siblings joined his father in the UK. 

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Luthfur Rahman photographed in Manchester City Council chamber


He attended local schools St Agnes Primary School and Burnage High School and started his working life in the restaurant trade, working his way up from a waiter to a chef and then manager. Aged 17, he left Stockport College and opened his own restaurant in Wilmslow. Over the next 22 years, he continued working in the catering trade establishing several different successful restaurants and takeaways. He is also a qualified financial adviser.

He was first elected to Manchester City Council as a councillor for Longsight in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 doubling his majority. In 2010 Luthfur was elected by fellow Councillors to be the lead member for the race and equality portfolio at Manchester City Council. Luthfur is Chair of the Young Foundation’s Uprising programme in Greater Manchester which he brought to North West England. He was also the first Councillor on Manchester City Council to call for the introduction of the living wage in Manchester.

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The value of his work is outstanding, from establishing a Local Cultural Education Partnership to helping the city to achieve UNESCO City of Literature status. He truly deserves to be recognised for his dedication to developing the arts in Manchester – Hearts for the Arts Awards, 2020


Growing up in a working-class family in Longsight it’s hard to express what it means to become the first Bangladeshi heritage councillor elected to the role of deputy leader. I want this to be an example to every young person living in this city that no matter your background or where you come from anything is possible - Luthfer Rahman, 2021

In 2011 Luthfur was awarded the Community Champion of the Year at the Local Government Information Unit Councillor Awards, and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to local government.

Luthfur was appointed Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council in 2021, the first ever elected member of Bangladeshi heritage to serve as its deputy leader.

THE SHOOT: Manchester City Council chambers and St Peter's Square

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Student reflection: Katie Jones


We met Luthfur in St Peter’s Square and started the shoot by photographing him in and around the stone arches. The sunshine was very intense and difficult to manage, so Luthfur suggested that we move inside the Town Hall to use some of its grand spaces. As we walked and talked he told us about the many projects and responsibilities he has covered  throughout his years with Manchester City Council. 

I photographed Luthfur inside the Mayor’s reception room, this space was very formal, with wooden panelled walls giving a strong feeling of civic importance. The images of Luthfur sat on the edge of the desk were among my favourites. We then moved into the imposing council chamber trying out a variety of different angles to find the perfect shot. Luthfur was very comfortable in front of the camera and seemed to enjoy himself. To complete the photoshoot, we went back out into St Peter’s Square, this time the sun was less intense and I managed to capture some relaxed portraits. I believe that my final images managed to capture Luthfur’s friendly personality while reflecting the importance of his role within the city.

Working on this Greater Mancunians shoot was another wonderful opportunity to test my camera skills and boost my confidence when working with new people in new situations.

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Katie busy with the camera

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