A festival of a new kind hits Lancaster


The ‘New Ideas Festival’, a week- long project displaying the ideas and research of PhD students from the universities of Lancaster and Leeds, will be commencing on November 21st.

This Graduate College scheme, which has been funded by the Alumni Development fund, aims to remove the mystique  of the ‘university on the hill’ by allowing PhD students to showcase their work to local and public schools  in order to exhibit the kinds of research that occurs at universities.

Organiser James Tomasson said that “the festival is about trying to bring the work of a leading research university to schools and local people, rather than simply presenting work to an academic audience.”

The general public will also be able to engage with doctoral candidates on Saturday November 26th at Market Square in town, where a poster exhibition will be on display between 10am and 2pm.

In an attempt to attract more members of the public, PhD students will present their ideas in an innovative ‘pecha kucha’ method which Cliff Laine says “involves snappy, sub-seven minute presentations with plenty of visual material.” This will be hosted by the Storey Institute from 4-6pm and will include topics of current research on subjects such as geography, music and sociology.

This festival continues later on that day at 7pm where talks will be help by lecturers from Lancaster, headed by Geraint Johnes of the Management School, on the much discussed and debated topic of unemployment.

“So much of the work that goes on in universities is directly aimed at making the world a better place,” Johnes commented, going on to explain that “we tend to forget to tell people about the improvements we have made to their lives. That is changing, thank goodness, and events like the New Ideas Festival are helping bring about that change.”

A wine reception is to accompany this festival to allow informal conversations and to continue the discussions. All are welcome to this free event, and support is encouraged. For further information you can search for the Facebook group ‘New Ideas Festival’ or alternatively email Anna Tarrant at a.tarrant@lancaster.ac.uk.

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