How do you celebrate a milestone like a 50th anniversary? Reunions? Parties? Tree planting? Or something more creative? As a Warwick graduate you’ll know we never do the obvious or the straightforward. That’s why when we began planning our 50th anniversary celebrations, we decided to take things in a different direction. An innovative direction.
At the start of the year we announced that we would invite alumni, students and the local community onto campus to attend a music festival in May and a Festival of the Imagination in October.
Created in the spirit that Warwick has embodied for the past 50 years, the Festival of the Imagination was a showcase for our most forwardthinking academic research and debate. The centrepiece of our anniversary celebrations, it took place in and around Warwick Arts Centre, featuring a diverse, creative and attractive programme of events, talks, shows, interactive food demonstrations and discussions, alongside a food festival and street entertainment.
We used the event to encourage alumni and the local community to come onto campus to see how Warwick is going to change the future. Visitors were able to take part in an interactive Discovery Zone, stimulating talks and debates, and cookery masterclasses with a healthy twist. They also enjoyed a feast of international street food, and entertainment from some of our talented student societies as well as family-friendly activities and opportunities to take taster classes.
Visitors to the Festival were encouraged to join discussions on topics as diverse as a robot apocalypse, how Two Tone sparked the countdown to a new Britain, and how we measure happiness. They were also able to eat, drink and be entertained in our new pedestrian-friendly public areas.
This included our new plaza, which featured international street food, specialist world coffees and our own specially brewed anniversary beer, The Hopping Grad.
As part of our anniversary activities, we entered into a unique partnership with Cheltenham Festivals, which saw them programming high-profile events over our Festival’s two days and promoting it to their audiences. This was all part of an exciting programme of events which saw Warwick involved with all four of Cheltenham’s Festivals during 2015. The aims of the Cheltenham Festivals complemented the objectives of the Festival of the Imagination so we worked with their organisers to disseminate new learning and to raise awareness of the exciting work we’re doing at Warwick.
The partnership with Cheltenham culminated with October’s Literature Festival, which took place a week before our own Festival of the Imagination. The
Literature Festival saw Warwick’s name on one of the key festival venues and a number of our academics speaking. We also used the Festival to announce
the shortlist for the 2015 Warwick Prize for Writing.
Outside the UK we ran an exciting programme of research-led events as part of our anniversary celebrations. Taking place in Brussels, Hong Kong, Singapore and Venice, these events focused on Warwick’s multidisciplinary research excellence and expertise within each of our Global Research Priorities around a central theme of Sustainable Futures. The events covered topics ranging from 21st century technologies for health to green design, food and global governance. They were also an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with the University, meet academics and socialise with other graduates in their area.
Connecting alumni was the focus of many of our other activities this year and we didn’t want to neglect our overseas community. One third of our graduates live outside the UK, so we set aside a week in April 2015 as International Alumni Week. This was a chance for our international graduates to get together to celebrate Warwick’s anniversary. What these celebrations entailed was up to alumni in each country but we hoped that local organisers would see this as a great opportunity to galvanize the Warwick community and to build relationships that will last long after 2015. We were delighted with the response from the alumni community and with events organised from Baghdad to San Francisco. You can see photos from some of these events at warwick.ac.uk/internationalalumniweek.
Throughout our anniversary year we encouraged alumni to get involved with the celebrations and to connect with what the University is planning to do in the future. The Festival of the Imagination was the culmination of a year that saw alumni enjoy social events, workshops and reunions in countries ranging from Austria to the United Arab Emirates. Even if you weren’t able to attend any of the celebrations this year, we hope that an event like the Festival of the Imagination helps you remember why you decided to come to Warwick and what makes this University stand out from our competitors.
|You can find out more about our anniversary celebrations by visiting warwick.ac.uk/imagination|