Next-generation learning, engineering and thinking explored at BU festivals

Members of the public, industry professionals, students and academics visited BU this summer to see the very best in innovation, research and design at two events highlighting the award-winning work of BU students and academics.

The Festival of Learning opened its fourth year with two talks from National Geographic Adventurer, Alastair Humphreys, whose stories of cycling around the world, walking across India, and rowing the Atlantic had both younger and older audiences transfixed. Alastair also discussed his concept of micro adventures – short and simple adventures that take place close to home – and tips for how children could enjoy adventures that were a bit closer to home. 

Over 100 workshops, seminars and interactive sessions also took place across the week, including The Mad Hatter’s Cream Tea, the Ancient Maya, and Comedy Workshops. 

Other events included a multimedia exhibition showcasing the impact of climate change on the New Forest, interactive demonstrations in BU’s cyber security labs, and free advice and testing around vascular health and stroke prevention.

Meanwhile, innovative designs from across Design, Engineering and Creative Technology courses were put on display at BU’s annual Festival of Design & Technology, with students demonstrating a variety of creative inventions and innovative problem-solving solutions. Exhibited designs included an automated sheet music turner for pianists, an automated greenhouse irrigation system, and a hoist for pre-operative canine patients in veterinary practices and surgeries.  

The Festival of Enterprise, which brings together young people, practitioners, academics, and local business leaders, as part of the university’s commitment to engage, support and develop entrepreneurship in the region will also be taking place in July. 

A range of employers from creative design to engineering industries were also present, and praised the ingenuity and creativity of a number of designs at the festival, with students offered placements and internships with a number of companies. This year the Festival of Learning has also gone global, with over 50 staff and students hosting and supporting Festival of Learning China and Festival of Learning Malaysia.  

I’m talking about my adventures large and small and I’m hoping that it will just sow some seeds of adventure in young minds and get people thinking about the possibilities of what they might be able to do. 

“It’s also a chance for people to have a look around the great facilities at Bournemouth University, and it’s brilliant to see that it’s a big community event for families, with young children coming to see some of the exciting and really varied research that is happening at the university.”

Alastair Humphreys, guest speaker

The Festival of Learning is a fantastic celebration of all that we do at Bournemouth University.

“Our research is societally driven so it’s a chance to share our research, and the impact of our research, with the general public through a wide range of really engaging events for all ages.”

Professor John Vinney, BU Vice-Chancellor

The Festival of Learning continues to go from strength to strength as – for the first year ever – festival events took place not only in Bournemouth but also in China and Malaysia, allowing engagement with audiences far and wide! In Bournemouth, we saw fascinating talks from Alastair Humphreys on his worldwide expeditions and adventures, and a host of interactive activities both on and off campus. From exhibitions and debates to comedy workshops and sports sessions, there really was something for everyone.  

“Huge thanks go to everyone from across BU and beyond who continue to work so hard to make the Festival of Learning a reality, and to the thousands of fabulous attendees whose energy and enthusiasm make the festival so memorable.”

Genna West, Festival of Learning Director

I thought it was really good and I liked the fact that he put up pictures. I learnt that there were lovely places and that you can bike the world.” Adam

 I liked that he talked to everybody and tried to answer all of our questions. I learnt that you don’t actually have to take much on a trip at all to go around the whole world.” James

James and Adam Bice, aged 11 and 9, from Parkstone