Festival Fever – Inspiration for your Festival of Learning 2015 event!

Stuck for event ideas for the Festival of learning in 2015!?

Well don’t worry! In this blog post Festival Fever will take over and show you events which have worked well in the past and possibly a few stand-out ideas you may wish to build upon for this year.

Let us take you through a countdown of ‘Hit’ topics and stand out events of last year’s festival as well as eye catching events at the British Science Festival and stand out events you could run in the future!

Hits at last year’s Festival of Learning

5. Marketing and business skills

Have you thought of creating a business event which focuses on marketing? Well if last year’s attendance at this event is anything to go by you will attract a very strong turnout. This event was fully booked last year and is a safe bet to draw in business professionals and members of the public alike! If you can use group discussions in your event this will also enhance the experience for individuals who are attending.

4. Gaming, computers and coding

These topics proved highly popular throughout the festival. Key examples of this success were ‘Is gaming the new reading?’ and ‘Hour of code.’ It really does seem that computers are becoming vital organs in modern life; this means the potential to interest large numbers will always be there when choosing an event of this genre.

3. Everyday professional skills

Teamwork,time management, or the magic of mailbox management.  Is there an event you could run that would tap into helping people develop these skills? If you have a clever way to engage the audience in a workshop that can enrich their professional development your event will be in high demand as well as an interesting way to give back to the community.

2. Health and fitness

Health related topics have shown to be popular both in the past at the festival, but also at other UK science festivals. Fitness is something that is at the forefront of many of our minds and if you’ve got an interesting take on this you’ll be sure to get the public onside.

1. Topics involving real-world current issues

Tying your event into current issues can help inspire debate in panel sessions, as well as draw in big audiences.  They are also more likely to be picked up for press coverage and could help to boost your event numbers even further.


Eye catching events at the British Science Festival

As you may have seen in an earlier series of blog posts, we recently attended the British Science Festival to get some inspiration on what to include in our own Festival of Learning.  You can read the full post of hot events from the festival here, but these were two of our favorites:

-The Huxley debate (As seen at the British Science Festival)

A debate which puts the spotlight on the security flaws of companies such as Facebook and Google can really entice a large number of people, “why is this?” you may ask, the reason is that the companies Facebook and Google touch the lives of the majority of us. This in the media spotlight with recent scandals SnapChat and Icloud storage!

-Your Astonishing Liver/ Health related topics

A further hit from the British Science Festival was ‘Your Astonishing Liver’ this proved to have a very strong turnout, with an audience of varying demographics. The clear strength of all health related topics is their ability to create very strong debates with the audience. In “Your astonishing liver” the panel facilitated a health debate around the right for non-registered organ donors to receive donated organs through the use of electronic voting. By using the response pads and looking at the results on a screen this is an engaging way of illustrating the discussion and capturing data from your event.

Other ideas to set your event apart from the crowd


Take your event offsite to a unique venue – what about approaching the aquarium to find out if you could run your event there?

Run your activity as part of the Festival of Learning On Tour so people get a taster for it in advance?

In more general terms, what can really add to the experience for the general public are events that are uniquely wacky and involve free samples as well as hands on activity. By having a strong blend of these ideas in your event, you can really stand out from the crowd and get your event noticed.


For help and support in developing your event email Naomi Kay, Public Engagement Officer in R&KEO.