All entries for September 2015

September 18, 2015

Countdown to the Festival of the Imagination

Emily DunfordEnglish and Theatre Studies finalist Emily Dunford is currently working with the Festival of the Imagination team in External Affairs, focusing on volunteer recruitment. With less than a month to go until the Festival, Emily tells us what we can look forward to and how you can get involved.

How did you become involved with the Festival of the Imagination?

The opportunity to join the team was advertised on Unitemps. After an interview I started work at the end of July, and I’ll be here until the end of October, alongside my studies. Last year I was the WSAF (Warwick Student Arts Festival) 2015 Coordinator, which I think helped my application for this role.

What is your role for the Festival?

My role has the relatively vague title of Project Officer, so I’ll explain a little bit about what I’m doing. I dabble in everything – logistics, festival content – but my main focus is on volunteer recruitment. Festival volunteers will be reporting to me and I’ll be working out the logistics of the volunteer team on the day.

I have experience in several festival environments already, but this is dissimilar to what I’ve done in the past. The scale is larger – including stallholders and PGCE students we’re looking at over 400 volunteers – and there’s a huge team behind the scenes. As there’s greater call for consultation the progression rate is different, but I’m learning a lot about the way the University is structured.

What’s on offer at the Festival?

I could list the programme of events but it would take too long! There’s such a variety on offer, with speakers from most disciplines as well as performers and celebrity chefs. A lot of events are interdisciplinary, which is something I’m really keen on. The Festival’s focus is always academic but also a lot of fun.

Aside from talks and debates, which you can find listed on the Festival of the Imagination website, we’ll have a Discovery Zone in Butterworth Hall, and Discovery Zone Fringe in the Helen Martin Studio. This is going to be bursting with stalls from various departments offering curiosities to spark the imagination. I’m especially excited about seeing the Studio filled with robots for the occasion.

Outside, people can grab a bite to eat from the food market and watch student performers and live music in our Performance Marquee, or chat to Polar Explorer Mark Wood and his Huskies in a yurt on Senate House Lawn. Oh, and on the Arts Centre Public Space, Motionhouse will be performing their show Captive, which is just brilliant.

What are you most looking forward to at the Festival?

In terms of specific events, I’m looking forward to a panel discussion about the future relevance of the Bard, Shakespeare: 50 Years Hence. It’s being chaired by Professor Carol Rutter, who happens to be my personal tutor, along with an excellent panel, so I suppose my English student bias is showing here!

What I’m looking forward to in terms of the event as a whole though is seeing how visitors interact with the Festival. With a mix of students, members of staff and the general public, there will be a diverse range of ideas and opinions brought to the discussion. The Festival of the Imagination is about imagining the future, and that’s exactly what I’m hoping people will do! Even if visitors don’t fancy engaging with debates, people will be brought together in dancing to live music or enjoying street food.


How can people get involved with the festival? What volunteering roles are available?

As I said earlier, we need around 400 volunteers to ensure this Festival is a success, including a massive team of Festival Marshals. We’re looking for volunteers to work a 3.5 hour shift as a Festival Marshal, Venue Marshal or member of the Information Service, on the Friday afternoon or Saturday.

The roles are all different: Festival Marshals are the type of volunteers you see at music festivals, answering questions and helping people; Venue Marshals will be based in a specific area and the Information Service are based on our information points. This is a chance to mingle with the local community and contribute to the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

In return you’ll be given a snazzy, limited edition Festival of the Imagination T-shirt and lanyard, and light refreshments will be provided. Your time at the Festival will also count towards a Warwick Volunteers certificate and will appear on undergraduates’ HEAR reports. You’ll have somewhere to leave your belongings so when your shift is over you can go back to enjoying the Festival.

You can apply via the Festival of the Imagination website. The roles and responsibilities are listed in more detail there, so take a look.

Find out more about the Festival >>
Find out more about volunteering at the Festival >>

September 11, 2015

The importance of storytelling

How can storytelling help us to communicate complex information? Are there some cases where storytelling could, in fact, have a negative impact? Could we use stories to greater effect in the future?

Kevin Morrell, Associate Professor of Governance at Warwick Business School, shares his research on this topic in the video below.

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