Inspiration Ignites at 2024 Great Exhibition Road Festival

Future-focused and packed with inspiration and creativity, this year's festival is a flourishing affair.

Bold ideas and creative thinking about growth and development are the theme for the Great Exhibition Road Festival 2024 as thousands descend on South Kensington to enjoy the annual array of free events and activities celebrating science and the arts.

Imperial College London has partnered with the Science Museum, Natural History Museum, and V&A, as well as the Goethe-Institut, Institut Français, Japan House London, Royal College of Music, Royal College of Art, and Royal Parks to deliver a packed creative programme of events for all ages.

Talks, workshops, performances and activities are inspiring audiences with the latest innovations in robotics, art, medicine, technology, design, psychology, ecology and more, from cutting-edge virtual reality experiences to poetry, silent discos to panel discussions.

As in previous years, the full programme has drawn on the wealth of expertise at Imperial and the museums and cultural institutions who have collaborated for the festival.

Talking About the Future

A series of talks at the festival are exploring the ways in which we might protect our planet, our people and our wellbeing in years to come.

The Flourishing Futures events see astronaut and Imperial's UK Outreach Ambassador Helen Sharman lead a panel exploring 'How Will Humanity Thrive on Other Planets?'. In 'Reclaiming our Rivers: Discuss and Doodle', artists and ecologists are uniting with the audience to draw a better future for our waterways, while neuroscientists are examining the potential of psychedelic drugs to boost our mood, performance and behaviour in 'Can Psychedelic Drugs Help You Flourish?'.

Meanwhile, the Art of Science series sees broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili take to the stage to present a new way of thinking about the passage of time. In 'AI in Pop Culture', author Lauren Beukes joins a panel to discuss the impact of artificial intelligence on fiction, film and media; and in 'Future Sounds: Classical Instruments Meet Digital Tech', the Royal College of Music takes on the challenge of playing instruments augmented by Imperial's design engineers.

Designing for Future Generations

The Young Producers Programme has expanded this year, with activities designed by and for 13–25-year-olds. The Young Producers are a group of 18–24-year-olds from boroughs local to Imperial who work with researchers and external artists to develop activities for Imperial Lates and the Great Exhibition Road Festival.

In the NextGen Zone, they have helped curate events specifically for young people exploring everything from AI-gaming to mosquito tunes, VR for mental health and electric racing - as well as creating an interactive, multi-sensory installation exploring our co-dependent relationship with AI.

Meanwhile, the Family Fun Zone in Prince's Gardens is packed full of adventures, from storytelling to arts and crafts, microscopes, modelling, languages and more. Young visitors have the opportunity to find out what happens to your brain when you sleep; how surgeons use Virtual Reality technology to operate, and what the surface of the sun looks like.

The Great Exhibition Road Festival is a free annual celebration of science and the arts in South Kensington, providing a weekend of free science and arts events for all ages, running every June.

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