BU hosted a summer of festival fun - with plenty of opportunities for staff, students and the public to get involved.

Thousands of people visited BU this summer to take advantage of free learning opportunities, get business advice from local experts, and see student innovation on display.

With over 150 free events – including two talks by presenter and naturalist Chris Packham – the Festival of Learning was back with a bang, sharing BU’s knowledge and expertise with the public in an engaging and accessible way.

Now in its third year, the festival was attended by more people than ever - with everything from cooking demonstrations to family-friendly workshops and professional development opportunities on offer.

Hot on its heels was the first BU Festival of Enterprise, a free day-long event which connected business owners and 16 - 17 year old students with successful entrepreneurs and practitioners.

Entrepreneurs had the chance to chat to local business leaders and hear about their experiences, while 16 - 17 year old students had the opportunity to create a new business venture. 

Meanwhile, a record-breaking number of visitors attended the Festival of Design and Technology to see creative design ideas produced by final year students.

The festival is a showcase of work created by design and creative technology students and over 700 people – including industry representatives - visited this year to see ideas on display including a bicycle ambulance for remote areas, a self-inflating life vest and a futuristic beach pod.  

But it wasn’t just current students showcasing their skills and expertise. BU alumni joined visual effects names from around the globe for the BFX Festival – a celebration of Bournemouth’s visual effects industry, complete with film screenings, workshops and competitions to share the latest knowledge and inspire the next wave of talent. 

What they said...

Chris Packham 

To be here at a Festival of Learning is really exciting – in fact, I can’t think of anything more exciting than a Festival of Learning, and obviously it’s been really great to attract young people into the learning environment.

I like the idea of young people being comfortable with an environment where science is on the agenda because we constantly need more young scientists coming to places like this.  

I think it’s absolutely essential that universities engage with the communities where they are based, the community that’s supporting them and they are helping to support. It’s got to be a synergistic process on many levels but particularly when it comes to those young people.

Harsha Gilpa, with husband Marco and children Lea, 7 and Amy, 11. 

The kids are thoroughly enjoying doing everything hands-on. We spent the whole day here Saturday and Sunday, and still they wanted more and we were quite surprised at that. I think [the festival] is amazing - I'm amazed that they created so many activities for such a wide range of audiences. 

Rebecca Edwards, Knowledge Exchange and Impact Manager at BU

Never before have we seen such diversity of fantastic events and engagement from our audiences. From the opening day with hundreds of young people getting stuck into science and Chris Packham's amazing talks, through to the huge range of workshops to develop skills and a mind boggling array of sports events, there has been so much to see and enjoy. 

I can only thank everyone who has worked so hard to make it a fabulous festival and our brilliant attendees who bring the events to life. 

Jeremy Austin

Stimulating, rewarding, satisfying, encouraging, illuminating, educational, and free!