Free family fun on campus - and you might learn something too

02 May 2012 16:25:44.110

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It’s usually students happily milling around The University of Nottingham’s campus – but not on Saturday 19 May.

The University will once again welcome families and friends to University Park for a day of free hands-on fun at May Fest 2012, its 4th annual community open day.

More than 4,000 people enjoyed a day of interactive activities, scientific displays, crafts, topical debates and more at last year’s event.

Whether you’d like a tour of the University’s award-winning campus, want to find out how long you’d have to row to burn off a Kit Kat, want to try your hand at origami or fancy deciding someone’s fate at the Old Bailey, there’s something for everyone at May Fest 2012.

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And as one of the region’s biggest and most diverse employers, advisers will be on hand to discuss career and study options.

Engaging with the community

“It’s a real chance for visitors to learn more about some of the great pioneering work and leading research undertaken here at the University, and for us to demonstrate how we work alongside the local community,” said Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor. “We also hope its interactive and entertaining approach means you’ll have lots of fun on the day too!”

What to do

Students — past, present and prospective, will join staff, families and friends of the University to enjoy some amazing things, including:

• All rise… Two famous 18th-century Old Bailey trials are to be re-enacted — using the actual trial records — and the public invited to pass judgement.

• Playworks, Nottingham’s children’s play resource centre, will be giving away free art materials from its mobile Scrapstore — and offering a year’s family membership for just £5.

• Flash, bang, wallop, what a fixture: Scientists will create thunder and lightning on demand — including bangs and smoke — in a one-hour spectacular! That’s why it is unsuitable for under-6s and those with heart conditions, but everyone else should come along.

• The University’s New Theatre — the only 100 per cent student-run theatre company in the country — will be performing snippets from their forthcoming production of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys.

• Join the Friends of University Park group for a free guided tour of the University’s landscaped gardens, including the Millennium and walled gardens, the restored Jekyll Garden Terrace and the huge Lenton Firs rock garden.

• Lots of even-more child-friendly events will be staged at Lakeside Arts Centre, home to the University’s museum and the Djanogly Art Gallery — hosting the first exhibition of Edward Burra in 25 years — and near the revamped children’s play area at Highfields.

Bigger and better

Sharon Clancy, Head of Community Partnerships at The University of Nottingham, played a key role in establishing the event.

She said: “The idea of a community open day was conceived of in 2009 as a day aimed at attracting members of the public who might not have any relationship with the University. We particularly wanted to target those from different backgrounds in terms of education, diversity and equality — the aim being to demystify and also enrich people’s lives through a chance to explore the University’s research, resources and intellectual richness.

Something for everyone

“There’s something for everyone — a day for all members of the family and for all ages. May Fest has enabled us to build ongoing relationships across the communities of Nottinghamshire and is a very important and significant demonstration of the University’s commitment to public engagement and social responsibility.

“It has been a huge success and people are fascinated and excited by what the University does and also its relevance to their own lives. We have built up an audience who return year on year and also attract many new people.”

May Fest runs from 11am – 5.30pm on Saturday 19 May. There are a range of activities, workshops and debates across University Park. For more information, visit the May Fest website to view this year’s full programme and follow us on Twitter @UniofNottingham and look out for #mayfest.

Ends — 

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is also the most popular university in the UK by 2012 application numbers, and ‘the world’s greenest university’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Fraser Wilson, Communications Officer, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 846 6691,

Fraser Wilson - Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 6691 Location: University Park

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