Skip to main content

Transforming Education

Bringing Learning Back: The Festival of Discovery

Our Festival of Discovery is shaped around students and informed by our ethos of enabling a more interactive experience while empowering students to take control of their learning journey. The Festival offered students a holistic opportunity to take part in experiential learning, hear from inspirational speakers, enhance employability, find out about careers, learn more about health and wellbeing, listen to live music, try new food, be entertained, compete in sporting events, join a society or simply try something new...

The inaugural Festival of Discovery featured more than 400 events on-campus over two weeks, all designed to bring the university community closer through a range of on-campus and online activities.

It’s been a difficult year for many students and colleagues, with few opportunities to see each other face to face or to take part in club, sports and leisure activities. The University and its two student bodies were keen to take advantage of easing COVID-19 restrictions by creating opportunities for returning students to take part in activities after the examination period.

The events took place across three campuses and attracted more than 6,000 student bookings. Many activities were offered for free by the Students’ Guild and the Students’ Union in conjunction with societies and sports teams.

“We used the festival to reintroduce the Student Union, especially to first years who hadn’t had much chance to get involved with us. We asked every student group if they wanted to run an event: some ran events especially for the festival, such as the English society who did a picnic, and some promoted their usual sessions.

“We offered funding (which we secured from the University) to groups so that any events they ran could be free to encourage students to get involved. We also had free mini golf set up outside the SU for people to come and play.

“We also ran our first in-person SU indoor event of 2021 – our union awards night – which was supported by our facilities partner FXPlus. Fifty students who had been nominated by their peers attended the event, which was amazing.”

Amelia, former Student Union President for Student Experience

The Festival team have received incredible feedback and are working with the Senior Education team to consider how and when some of the key components of the festival may be incorporated into the university calendar.

“Some of our student attendees were able to attend their very first live in-lecture academic activities of the whole year; for other students it was their first opportunity of the year to socialise and interact live with their classmates.”

Professor Vukusic