Last year’s Wonder Festival was very successful. We had 7,280 visitors to campus on the day.
We surveyed 3.4% of the visitors to the event. Of those surveyed, 91% were from local postcodes (NG, DE, LW) and the number of families attending through partnerships with schools in less advantaged areas increased. 65% of parents surveyed said they want their child to attend university, and 77% of attendees said they would recommend Wonder as an event to others.
Following the last MayFest in 2015, preparations for Wonder in June 2017 began 18 months prior to the event, and so we will look to 2019 to hold our next festival so that we can secure the scale, quality and impact it deserves.
We received a lot of helpful and constructive feedback from those who worked with us to develop the event. Valid questions included whether Wonder should do more to go into those communities across Nottingham that the University doesn’t normally reach – or even have a presence in the city centre. There is also more the University can do to improve the event to make it more efficient, bring in more sponsorship and in-kind support from local partners and businesses – and enhance the experience for those attending on the day.
As part of its new Research Strategy, the University is in the process of refreshing the approach it takes to supporting, coordinating and promoting the public engagement activity taking place across the institution. With the new Nottingham Public Engagement Network now at over 300 members, the appointment of Faculty Public Engagement Leads and a University-wide Steering Group has been established. A Head of Public Engagement will also be appointed to support this activity. We hope that, through these groups and others such as the Outreach Network and the Practitioners of Outreach Operations Group, we can have an open conversation about what the University does next to build on Wonder for 2019…
There is a huge amount of public and community festival engagement taking place over the next year. For example, the University will be providing some support for the Festival of Science and Curiosity, which takes place across the city centre and some of Nottingham’s most deprived networks. Our Faculties, Schools and Academics will also be heavily involved in the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, the Being Human Festival, Pint of Science 2018, Malaysia Fest 2018 and the East Midlands Big Bang Festival. We will seek to pass on the learning and experience of Wonder 2017 to the organisers of these initiatives and many more.
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