May Fest
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Cultural Classics

May Fest was a great time to discover new things: visitors were able to learn about archaeology, wield Viking weapons and experience the lives of the ancient Romans. Our Philosophers were there to debate the big issues of life, and members of the community were invited to take a behind-the-scenes tour of our student-run theatre.

What's On

Cultural classics

Skull and skeletal skills

Visitors were encouraged to come and have a go at making their own skull for display in our museum, using the skulls in our Zoology collection for inspiration.

Frugal findings!

There was the chance to experience what it’s like to be part of an experiment in economic decision-making and find out what your choices say about your personality. Sweet-toothed visitors were happy to find that there was chocolate involved…

The scary history of ‘welfare’ since the Middle Ages

Visitors were welcome to join us on a journey through the history of ‘welfare’ – from the horrors of the stocks and the House of Correction to the post-war welfare state, through films, talks and interactive activities.


Othello at the casino

There was the chance to try your luck at the roulette table (no real money involved!) and learn aspects of the strategy for the board game Othello. There were also fascinating mathematical exhibits, games and puzzles for visitors to try whilst chatting to staff and students.

Apprentice or tycoon?

Budding entrepreneurs were able to learn all about business in our interactive games room. There was the opportunity to enter our ‘design a logo’ competition to win a fantastic family board game.

Greek and Roman antiquity in Nottinghamshire - interactive lecture

Nottingham’s historic links to the ancient Greeks and Romans were explained in an interactive lecture, including the Worksop relief from the famous Pergamon Altar, and the collection from the Sanctuary of Diana in the Nottingham Castle Museum and Galleries.


Archaeology for everyone

At May Fest there was the chance to have a go at some real archaeology –visitors were able to find out about excavation and what we can learn about our ancestors from the things they left behind.

So you think you know America?

There was the chance to test your knowledge of the music, film and television, novels, historical events, famous faces and buildings of America in our interactive game. We were on hand to answer your questions and help put America in perspective.

Always look on the right side of life!

What are human rights? Why are they important? The Human Rights Law Centre were at May Fest to answer these questions and explain how they are helping to promote human rights across the globe.


China corner

The Nottingham Confucius Institute hosted an introduction to Chinese culture, including calligraphy, origami, and Tai Chi demonstrations. There was also the opportunity to win prizes!

Little linguists

Visitors could channel their inner linguist at May Fest, with fun, half-hour foreign language taster sessions, including French, Spanish, Italian and Greek.

The life of the ancient Romans

The times of the ancient Romans were relived at May Fest, with hairdressing, reading the future, and storytelling. Visitors could also pay a visit to the Digital Humanities Centre for a spot of digital time travel.


The life of a leaf

Our manuscripts and special collections centre holds over 3 million manuscripts – visitors were able to learn about the ‘life’ of a new acquisition, from conservation to exhibition, and have a go at using a quill.

Thinking with philosophers

Nottingham’s philosophers were on hand to discuss life’s big moral questions and tax your logic with puzzles.

Exploring English

The School of the English was at May Fest with a range of language, literature and performance activities.  


Real working lives: the Boots D10 oral history project

What was it like working in Boots’ famous D10 factory in the 1940s and 1950s? Visitors were invited to learn about the project and create their own mini oral history.

Hands-on history

At May Fest there was the chance to visit the University’s Museum of Archaeology and get actively involved in finding out about everyday life in the past through a number of drop-in activities.

The Prediction Machine

May Fest’s prediction machine is an interactive artwork based on old fortune-telling machines, using live and projected data from a weather station on the University’s Jubilee Campus. Visitors could power the machine by hand to receive personalised climate predictions for 30 years’ time.


Nottingham New Theatre tours

Visitors could go backstage with members of the Nottingham New Theatre as they prepared for a performance and discover what it’s like to work in the only student-run theatre in England.



The University of Nottingham

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Nottingham, NG7 2QL

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