Exhibition Road art and science festival opens call for Imperial proposals

The Great Exhibition Road Festival returns in 2020, and Imperial staff and students can contribute to a weekend of curiosity and discovery.

Over the summer, Imperial partnered with 20 neighbours across Exhibition Road and South Kensington, including some of the world’s most iconic museums, to create a unique new festival. Over 60,000 people attended the first ever Great Exhibition Road Festival at the end of June to enjoy a mixture of art and science, culture and local history, technology and curiosity.

Relive the hi-lights of the Great Exhibition Road Festival 2019

After a successful first year, it has been confirmed that the Festival will become an annual event. It will return in 2020 across the 3th –5th of July 2020 with opportunities for Imperial teams to get involved across the weekend.

Interested Imperial staff and students can submit their proposals for Festival contributions via the official proposal form.

“With Imperial coordinating this major event once again, we are able to maintain our commitment to an annual summer Festival that gives Imperial staff and students a platform to engage directly with the public,” says Great Exhibition Road Festival Director, Vicky Brightman. “We hope the possibilities of this unique art and science festival inspire our community to come up with a range of creative and innovative ideas to engage and entertain visitors next year.”

In anticipation, the Public Engagement team is seeking proposals from staff and students. The open call, launched today, allows for a wide range of submissions, including for research demonstrations, live experiments, talks and debates, creative workshops, art installations, behind-the-scenes tours, and music and dance performances.

This second iteration of the Great Exhibition Road Festival will also include for the first time a central theme that will unite a selection of content across the Festival programme. This theme will see Imperial and the other Festival partners telling stories of ‘trailblazers’; those individuals, groups, communities, from Imperial and beyond, who have creatively solved problems, shaped perspectives and challenged society to do more and be better.

“This theme will sit under the more general Festival concept of celebrating Albertopolis as a pioneering centre for the collective impact of the arts and science. As a result we are not obligating all contributions to fit within it, says Brightman. “However, we would encourage those who can, to think about how their ideas can be positioned to take advantage of this focus”.

    The trailblazing theme is explained in more detail in a festival proposals guidance document, which also highlights other types of content and approaches to engaging the public that the team would like to see from Imperial teams in 2020. These recommendations are based on an extensive evaluation of the Festival experience from both exhibitors and visitors perspectives, and includes:

    • Interactive fun on Exhibition Road – the Festival provides a unique opportunity to close the iconic Exhibition Road. For 2020, the Festival team are asking research teams to make the most of this unique space by developing hands-on workshops and creating areas that can engage large crowds with a fun activities for all the family.
    • Science and art collaborations – In the surveys of 2019 Festival attendees, visitors loved the mixture of science and arts-based content. However, a common comment in the feedback was a request for greater interaction between those two disciplines.
    • Adult specific content – evaluation shows visitors would like adult-focused zones with opportunities for adults to also get hands-on and be creative during their time at the Festival

    You can download the Guidance document for the 2020 Great Exhibition Road Festival proposals process here.

    The deadline for proposals to be submitted is 12 Noon, Tuesday 26th November 2019.

    If you want to take part in next year’s Festival but are not sure what to do. Or if you have an initial idea but not sure if it will work or how to make it happen, the Public Engagement team have a few options to help.

    Two Festival Proposals Clinic will be held at the start of November to discuss your interest in the Festival and any initial ideas you might have. You can register for these clinics by clicking on the following links:

    If any Imperial academics or students are particularly interested in collaborations with Festival partners there will be a Great Exhibition Road Festival Art and Science Matchmaking Session. This session aims to generate unique Festival contributions that represent a creative or artistic approach to engaging the public around an area of College research. To add your name to the guest list please email the team at [email protected]

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