Festival of Education meets Brunel

A series of free talks and interactive sessions have been organised by the University of Bristol’s Graduate School of Education

The use of magic in science lessons and how to inspire the next generation of Brunels are just two of the topics being discussed at the Festival of Education – a two week series of events which begins on Monday, 9 June.

A series of free twilight talks, interactive sessions, presentations and debates have been organised by the University of Bristol’s Graduate School of Education to look at some of the big issues in education as well as hands-on activities aimed at pupils themselves.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the festival, which culminates in a research showcase on 19 June and covers everything from the new national curriculum and special educational needs to poetry writing and creativity in early years education.

The festival opens with a debate around the hot topic of the new national curriculum for England, which comes into force from September.

Local teachers and education experts will join Tim Oates, who advised the government on the new curriculum, to discuss whether the new curriculum will transform education for all or be a step back in time.

On 16 June, students from Merchants’ Academy, Bedminster Down, Cotham and Redland Green schools will give an animated presentation about their experiences during the first three years of the Future Brunels scheme. The five-year programme, run by the ss Great Britain Trust, is designed to inspire them to become the next generation of world-changing engineers and designers.

The audience will get a visual treat when science meets magic on 18 June. Magician Stuart Nolan will show how magic can be used to create a wow factor in the classroom, prompting a debate about whether illusions are beneficial to learning.

Stuart, the Magician in Residence at Pervasive Media Studio and the University of Bristol, will reveal IdeoBird, a magical, mindreading creature which demonstrates the cognitive science of the ‘ideomotor response’ – a physical gesture that is prompted by a subconscious response to a stimulus.

Doctoral and postdoctoral researchers from the Graduate School of Education will be providing a flavour of their work at a special researchers’ showcase on 19 June.

For the full programme of events and to register in advance, please visit the Festival of Education’s website.

The Festival of Education is being run in collaboration with Universities Week – a national celebration of higher education which aims to make university research relevant to the public in inspiring and accessible ways. It also aims to open up a conversation about the relevance of university-based research and its everyday impact on our lives.

PhD students from the University of Bristol will take part in a special social media campaign on Wednesday 11 June as part of Universities Week, when they will give a unique insight into their day, showcasing their work and showing exactly what life is like for a PhD student. Follow #brisphdlife to keep track of activities and get involved via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Photo credit: Paul Blakemore