Imperial College London

Festival talk series to tackle big green questions


A mound of clothes in a landfill site

The Dressing Green panel event will take place on Sunday 10 October

Science experts and inspirational artists will come together in a series of fascinating talks to discuss how we can move to a more sustainable world.

The Great Exhibition Road Festival’s talks series will see panelists from Imperial and its neighbouring institutions across South Kensington and beyond take part in more than 30 live panel events.

The 2021 Festival runs from 9 to 15 October.

A greener world

A sunny meadowSome of the talks in the series will explore the Festival’s ‘One World’ theme, including the following events which will be held at the Royal Geographical Society and simultaneously livestreamed online:

  • Human Health and Planetary Health (13.00-14.00, Sat 9 Oct) – How changing our diet could not only improve our health, but also tackle climate change, address biodiversity loss and stave off the next global pandemic.
  • Eco-anxiety: Climate change’s toll on our mental health (14.30-15.30, Sat 9 Oct) – How the fight to save our planet could also improve our individual and collective wellbeing in this session exploring our emotional response to the climate crisis.
  • Who's leading the climate conversation? (13.00-14.00, Sun 10 Oct) – How science, governments, fossil fuel lobbyists and environmental campaigners have changed how we talk about climate.

Take a look through the 30+ events in the talks series, plus this collection of events for adults.

Fast fashion in focus

One of the talks series events will explore a more sustainable model for the fashion industry, and how technologies, eco-business and better regulatory oversight might end the wasteful practices of fast fashion.

The ‘Dressing Green’ talk will be held at the Royal Geographical Society and simultaneously broadcast live online at 11.30 on Sunday 10 October. It will feature a panel of experts from Imperial, the Royal College of Art and the V&A.

Nadine Moustafa
PhD researcher Nadine Moustafa will be on the panel of the Dressing Green event

Among them will be Nadine Moustafa, a PhD researcher in Imperial’s Department of Chemical Engineering. Sustainability in fashion has interested Nadine for some time, both in relation to her research into the environmental footprint of industries, as well as her concerns as a consumer.

“The numbers related to the damage of fast fashion are staggering,” she says. “The industry accounts for approximately 10% of global CO2 emission and 31% of the overall plastic pollution in the ocean. It is the second-largest consumer of water worldwide as well as the world’s second largest polluter of water through textile dyeing. Finally, 85% of all textiles are dumped each year where 95% of those clothes can be recycled or reused.”

Despite these worrying statistics, Nadine believes there is a lot of good we can do as individuals to help the situation – a message she aims to bring to the panel event:

“The best thing we can do as consumers is to be more aware. Ask questions. Be inquisitive.  Have difficult conversations. Search for other solutions. Even if it is miniscule, power is in numbers.

“The fashion industry is one of the industries where we can make a direct impact. Increasing the life cycle of products by as little as nine months can decrease various environmental footprints by around 20-30% each. So hold on to your clothes longer, recycle, resell, swap with friends, and buy pre-loved items wherever possible. Support small sustainable brands, buy less, and invest in better quality clothes.”

Poetry, soundscapes and quizzes

Environmental poet Martin Kiszko
Environmental poet Martin Kiszko

The Great Exhibition Road Festival’s programme is packed with more than 60 free events and experiences. This includes a host of performance-based experiences to enjoy, such as:

  • Green Poems for a Blue Planet (10.30-11.30 / 13.00-14.00, Sat 9 Oct, Royal Albert Hall) – A humorous, theatrical and challenging eco-comedy stand-up poetry performance suitable for the whole family.
  • Family Festival Quiz (17.30-18.15, Fri 15 Oct, online) – Filled with games and curious questions, this quiz brings together people working across Exhibition Road. Perfect for children aged 5-11 years.
  • Treephonia: Reimagining our planet through sound (11.45-12.45, Sun 10 Oct, Imperial) – Royal College of Music composers discuss Treephonia, a unique project that soundtracked 190 trees in nearby Kensington Gardens.
  • Meet the UK’s Green Poet (14.45-15.45, Sat 9 Oct, Imperial) – Join environmental poet Martin Kiszko as he performs excerpts from his playful green poems.  


The Great Exhibition Road Festival returns from 9-15 October 2021 in venues around South Kensington and online.

All events are free, but booking is required for many. Book your free tickets now at the Great Exhibition Road Festival website.


Andrew Youngson

Andrew Youngson
Communications Division


Climate-change, Great-Exhibition-Road-Festival, Sustainability, Comms-strategy-Wider-society, Public-engagement
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