The Imperial Festival is changing for 2019, becoming even more ambitious and taking in all the Exhibition Road institutions.

The Great Exhibition Road Festival will include much that we know and love from our own event, integrated with new elements from 20 or so partners including the V&A, Royal Albert Hall, Natural History Museum, and Science Museum. We plan to close most of Exhibition Road for the weekend.

Please take a look at the FAQs below for more information about the festival, getting involved, changes to College dates and Move Out. 

About the festival

What has inspired the changes to the Festival?

The Great Exhibition Road Festival will be a unique opportunity to connect some of the world’s most iconic institutions in an inspirational fusion of the arts and sciences. It will deliver a dynamic range of participatory visitor experiences that generate curiosity and a pioneering spirit among our audiences and among our institutions. 

It offers exciting possibilities for Imperial to reach new audiences and create a unique weekend of discovery for our visiting public.

About twenty museums and cultural institutions in ‘Albertopolis’ are collaborating to mark the bicentenary of both Queen Victoria’s and Prince Albert’s birth and reinvigorate Albert’s original vision for Albertopolis – the world’s first planned cultural quarter for research, learning and creativity, which Albert established following the Great Exhibition in 1851.

Why is the Imperial Festival date changing?

Due to the diverse nature of the cultural partners involved, finding a date that worked for everyone in 2019 was very challenging.  The date of 29-30 June 2019 was the only date that all partners could manage and this has now been approved by senior leadership from all those involved.

After 2019, will the Festival remain at the end of June?

It is likely that 2020 will revert back to the Imperial Festival and take place either late April or early May (depending on the early May Bank Holiday dates as usual).

There is potential for another joint Festival in future years but this depends on how 2019 goes and so we need to evaluate that first before deciding anything further, including dates.

Who are the Great Exhibition Road Festival partners?

Imperial College London, the Royal Albert Hall, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, V&A, Royal College of Music, Royal College of Art, Royal Geographical Society, Royal Society of Sculptors, Goethe Institution, Kensington Palace, Ismaili Centre, RBKC Art Weekend, Institut Francais and Japan House.

Some partners are more involved than others due to their scale.

We are also working with Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.  

What will the Great Exhibition Road Festival look like?

The Festival will take place on and around Exhibition Road. The plan is for most of Exhibition Road to close for both Saturday and Sunday of the Festival.

The South Kensington campus will be a major component of the Festival.  However, our Festival footprint will extend out onto Exhibition Road. There will be also changes to how some of our spaces on campus are used.

We aim to accommodate the same number of research teams as in 2018. But the zone themes will be different.

In addition, all partners would like to ‘take over’ spaces in other venues. This means that we may host content from other partners and we may deliver talks, workshops and zones in other partners’ spaces too. This exciting exchange of programming will ensure a more collaborative Festival and introduce Imperial to new audiences.

Getting involved

Why should I take part?

  • Raise the profile of your work among a new audience
  • Have fun
  • Develop engagement and communication skills
  • Collaborate with people from different disciplines and world-leading institutions
  • Gain new perspectives on your work and research
  • Help raise aspirations of [young] people
  • Help local people to feel more confident around STEM
  • Be part of a unique and memorable event

Many more!

How can I get involved in the Great Exhibition Road Festival?

The introduction of a collaborative Festival for 2019 offers exciting possibilities of reaching new audiences and creating a truly unique weekend of discovery for our visiting public.

We aim to accommodate the same number of research teams as in 2018.

We are seeking proposals for the Festival programme and welcome ideas from staff and students for research demonstrations, talks, workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, music and dance performances, and any other ideas you have for activities to entertain and inspire the public. The proposals process opens on 1 October 2018, a full guidance document will be available then.

The deadline for ideas is 12 noon, Friday 9 November 2018. We aim to reply to all proposals in January 2019.

Finally, if you’ve got an idea for the Great Exhibition Road Festival but are not sure if it will work or how to make it happen, or if you just have some questions about taking part, we are hosting two Festival Proposals Clinics in lecture theatre G34 in Sir Alexander Fleming with the organising team on:

Is there training available for developing engagement ideas for the Festival?

Yes we have the following opportunities and will introduce more if required:

  1. Festival proposals clinic – everyone is welcome.  We’ll be talking all about what makes good engagement and also the team will be there to discuss individual ideas with attendees.

 We are hosting two Festival Proposals clinics in lecture theatre G34 in Sir Alexander Fleming with the organising team:

2. Engagement Academy 

3. Engagement Masterclasses

Sign up to the Societal Engagement Newsletter for regular information on engagement training.

Is there any funding for developing engagement ideas?

There may be small amount of funding available to develop engagement ideas. Please state the need for this as part of the proposals process.

Please also see details of the Societal Engagement Seed Fund and external funding opportunities.

I already have a partnership/relationship with one of the organisations taking part – what options do we have?

That’s great news, we are hoping for many collaborations.

  • Firstly, get in touch with and let us know about your partnership.
  • Secondly, approach your partner and make sure they know about the Festival and find out internally who they should speak to about it.

College date changes

What are the changes to term dates?

The end of term for all first years will be Wednesday 26 June 2019 (inclusive).

To avoid a logistical conflict between the Halls of Residence move out date (usually the last Saturday of term) and the Festival, the College has taken the decision to bring the Halls of Residence move out date forward to 10am Thursday 27 June 2019. This applies across all the nine Halls due to the nature of the Residential contracts. 

All first years allocated to Halls of Residence have had their contract amended and as such and have been notified.

The Open Days will take place on Tuesday 25 June and Wednesday 26 June in 2019.

Term dates for all other students will remain the same (end of term Friday 28 June 2019).

What about the small number of students living in Halls of Residence that are not first years?

These students are being identified and we are ensuring there is no conflict between their move out day and their teaching time or exams.

Will exam dates be affected?

First year undergraduate exams will have finished by the end of term on Wednesday 26 June 2019.

We usually have activities scheduled for first year undergraduates up until the end of the last week of term, how will the changes impact us?

The end of term for first year undergraduates will move to Wednesday 26 June 2019, as they will need to move out of Halls by 10am on Thursday 27 June. The timetables developed will need to accommodate this.

Will the summer schools be affected by the Festival date change?

Summer schools will continue as normal with no impact on their experiences or accommodation.

Why are the Open Days moving?

The Open Days are moving forward by one day to Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 June to avoid having an Open Day when all first year undergraduate students are moving out of halls on Thursday 27 June. Many teams that support Open Days also support ‘move out’. In addition, we would like to be able to show prospective students their potential residences, which would not be possible if students were moving out during the Open Day.

Will College support teams be overstretched?

The annual College calendar often has times of high pressure. Key teams have been involved in the planning and are preparing to allocate resources accordingly. 

Will there be additional pressure on Academic Departments contributing to the Open Days and the Festival?

The Festival proposals process has been moved forward to allow departments more time to prepare for their involvement in the Festival. The call for proposals is open from 1 October 2018 and will close on Friday 9 November 2018. There will be an accompanying guidance document which will help departments begin to think about the festival.

As the joint Festival will provide new opportunities, we will provide more time and support for departments planning their activities. The first of these will be two sessions in which departments can join the Public Engagement team to discuss any initial ideas. These will take place in G34, Sir Alexander Fleming Building:

Move Out

Who will be affected by changes to Move Out day?

First year undergraduates are affected by the changes to the term dates and Move Out.

Move Out will operate in the same way as it has done in previous years.

Have students starting in September 2018 been informed?

Yes. The contracts for their accommodation have been amended and this has been published.

Upon receipt of their offer of accommodation, students have been asked to sign to say that they have read the amendment. They will not be able to move into their halls of residence unless they have done so.

Will first year students be charged for the full term despite being asked to move out early?

No, they will only pay for the time they are able to stay in their halls of residence.

Students are invoiced in three segments throughout the year. The reduction in cost, based on number of days they will stay in halls in the Summer Term, will be reflected in the third invoice segment.

Can first year undergraduates’ claim money back if they leave earlier than the move out date?

No. Payment is made for the duration of their accommodation contract as with previous years.

What if first year students are moving into Summer Accommodation?

First year students can, as usual, apply for Summer Accommodation at the College if they wish. They will still be required to vacate their halls of residence by 10am on Thursday 27 June, but will move to the Hall of Residence they have been allocated to for the summer.

What if first year students are unable to access transport on the move out day?

If students are unable to use this option, they will need to consider moving the majority of their possessions the weekend prior to move out.

Are students staying in Summer Accommodation affected?

As in any other year, those students would need to move out of their term time accommodation at the end of term. Summer accommodation will be available from Thursday 27 June. This will be coordinated by the Student Hub.

Students on Tier 4 visas are required to be at College until the end of term, how can they do this if we are asking them to move out of halls early?

As the end of term for first year undergraduates will now end on Wednesday 26 June, students on Tier 4 Visas will therefore still fulfil their requirement to stay at the College until the end of term, even if they are moving out on Thursday 27 June instead of Saturday 29 June.

If you are also setting up for the Festival during move out, will there be anywhere for students and parents to congregate?

Yes. Details will be confirmed closer to the time.

Will the halls open for commercial summer bookings?

Yes, they will open for commercial bookings Saturday 29 June instead of the usual Monday (1 July).

Contact us

If you would like to discuss anything raised in these FAQs or if you have any questions, please contact: 

Student/Move Out related

Sue Mannion, Student Hub Manager 7594 9649

All other queries

Vicky Brightman, Head of Public Engagement 7594 3759