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Festival of the Imagination

The full programme for the Festival of the Imagination on 16-17 October 2015 will be confirmed shortly, but in the meantime, here’s a taster of the events and activities we’ve got planned for you.


The Butterworth Hall will be transformed into an interactive Discovery Zone, where you and your family can get hands-on with some of the University's ground-breaking research and teaching, and take part in exciting interactive activities.

Outside in the Plaza you’ll be able to feast on international street food, whilst enjoying entertainment and performances from some of our talented student societies. You can meet a polar explorer and learn out about his experiences, or enjoy a pit-lane experience with our chocolate-powered F3 racing car. Perhaps you’d like to try a new sport, learn key phrases in Chinese or Russian, or take a spices master-class with top chef Vivek Singh? We’ve got all this and more planned for the Festival of the Imagination.

The Festival will also play host to a series of talks, debates and interviews with the theme 'Imagining the Future'. A diverse range of topics will be sure to cause discussion and dispute as we provide a platform for healthy discussion and share Warwick’s knowledge and 'thought leading' approach to tackling some of the world’s biggest ‘What if’ questions.

You can join leading Warwick academics and Warwick alumni in lively discussions, such as

How should we measure social progress and human happiness in a country like the UK?

Andrew Oswald and Gus O'Donnell, internationally known experts in this field, will describe how the Office of National Statistics now measures the genuine happiness and well-being of the United Kingdom, what the latest numbers show, and why we should use this kind of information to replace old-fashioned ideas that traditionally focussed simply on GDP and economic growth. There will be a plenty of time for questions and debate from the audience.


Will there still be a BBC? What will the TV set look like? How else will we receive information and entertainment? And will there be any newspapers left?

‘Creative connections in the digital age'. Britain is a world leader in media, creativity and the arts - and many Warwick graduates are leaders in these fields. With a panel of distinguished alumni, former BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas explores where we'll be going in the next 50 years.

Our 50th anniversary partnership with Cheltenham Festivals will come to the fore, as the Festival of the Imagination plays host to “Cheltenham @ Warwick” with a selection of events designed to entertain and provoke, including:

Over-schooled and under-educated

When teenagers can look everything up online, what should they have to learn? What is education for? What kind of people does society need? Have we become over-schooled and under-educated?
Tony Little, Head Master of Eton and a panel of experts will discuss this controversial topic.


The problem is not simply that the rich are getting richer – it’s that we’re also failing to tackle poverty, and the economy is rapidly changing to leave the majority of people behind. To reduce inequality, we have to go beyond placing new taxes on the wealthy to fund existing programs – and resist the common arguments and excuses for inaction: that intervention will shrink the economy, that globalization makes action impossible, and that new policies cannot be afforded. We’ll hear proposals from a panel of experts on how this complex problem could be tackled.

50 years in 50 minutes

For one night only – we present a whistle stop tour of the last 50 years, on campus and in the wider world – what were the stand out moments in the arts, the most extraordinary news stories, the most surprising scientific discoveries and the biggest social changes of the era? What were we reading, watching, dancing to? Specially written and presented by The Times columnist and former Downing Street insider Phil Collins and featuring surprise walk-on appearances from Warwick University alumni, sound clips, rarely seen images from the Warwick archive and a host of one off “happenings” this is a not-to-be-missed celebration of a very special anniversary.

Life is best when you improvise

A fascinating insight into the world of improvisation within two of our most beloved arts forms music and comedy. Join master of improvised comedy and now critically acclaimed actor John Sessions and one of Britain's finest Jazz musicians Guy Barker as they explore the art of improvising and the amusing journeys this has taken them on. Warning this event will be improvised!

Booking information

This is just a glimpse of the events and activities we’ve got planned for this 50th anniversary spectacular event. Warwick alumni will have exclusive access to priority booking for the Festival. We’ll be in touch with you when the programme is announced with full details of how you can book your tickets. In the meantime, alumni can book accommodation for the Festival weekend at Radcliffe House at a reduced rate.