Imperial College London

Great Exhibition Road Festival returns with love letter to the world

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A woman and a girl lean into a collection of plants

From DIY soap to weaving waste, a week of free events for all ages will explore how science and the arts can inspire a greener future.

Collaboration is at the heart of the Festival. Professor Alice Gast President, Imperial College London

The Great Exhibition Road Festival returns from 9 to 15 October 2021, with museums, research and culture organisations based in and around Exhibition Road joining to create a packed programme of more than 60 free workshops, speaker events and immersive experiences - both in-person and online.

One world

A woman with a tour guide hat holding a lobster stuffed toy
The Ocean Show at NHM will explore the importance of this amazing habitat

Created under the central theme, ‘One world’, the 2021 Festival programme offers members of the public the chance to meet the scientists, artists, designers and innovators at the front line of the fight against climate change, from community projects to global action. 

Highlights include:

  • DIY Soap Making: Create your own uniquely scented and sustainably packaged soap bars in this workshop, exploring ways to reduce the plastics in our ocean  (Venue: Imperial College London)
  • Weaving waste: In this online workshop, get creative with the contents of your recycling bin and discover some of the surprising ways new life is brought to waste materials by artists and engineers (Venue: online)
  • Oceans show: Delve into the depths of this immersive show and explore the importance of this amazing habitat (Venue: Natural History Museum)
  • Drawn to sustainability: Design your own environmentally friendly building. (Venue: V&A)
  • Eco-anxiety: Find out how the fight to save our planet could also improve our individual and collective wellbeing (Venue: Royal Geographical Society (with IBG))
  • The hidden life of trees: This multifaceted portrait of bestselling author Peter Wohlleben offers insights into the intelligent fabric of our forests (Goethe-Institut)
  • Drawing from Music: Enjoy a celebration of our planet with this chamber concert reflecting the environment we live in, accompanied by students from the Royal College of Art who will be creating illustrations and paintings live on stage. (Venue: Royal College of Music)

"Imagine the road to a better future"

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, said: “It’s fantastic to be welcoming members of the public to the Festival once again, both in-person and online, to what is set to be a fascinating and richly diverse programme. Collaboration is at the heart of the Festival, with the programme drawing on the combined imagination and expertise of our wonderful neighbouring institutions – resulting in an event that truly offers something for audiences of all ages and interests.

"We can’t wait to see everyone engaging with the ‘one world’ theme. The timing has never been more relevant. It’s a critical moment, with plans on how to protect people and the planet from the climate emergency set to be explored at the COP 26 climate summit hosted by the UK. As such this year’s Festival represents an opportunity for everyone to engage with these vital themes, and to imagine the road to a better future.”

"The spirit of innovation has shaped the cultural district of South Kensington since the Great Exhibition of 1851" – Craig Hassall, CEO, Royal Albert Hall

The Festival's partner institutions are also excited for the festival's arrival.  Craig Hassall, Chief Executive of the Royal Albert Hall, said: "After such a long period of separation and as we start the long road to recovery for the cultural and educational institutions of Exhibition Road, it is such a thrill for the Royal Albert Hall to be a part of the Great Exhibition Road Festival once more. The spirit of innovation has shaped the cultural district of South Kensington since the Great Exhibition of 1851, and it is in this spirit that the festival once again brings together people of all ages and interests to be inspired."

A collaborative festival

A boy and girl taking part in a workshopLaunched in 2019 and reimagined for a pandemic world in 2020, the Great Exhibition Road Festival is an annual celebration of curiosity and discovery, combining the imagination and world-leading expertise of iconic culture and research organisations in and around South Kensington.

The Great Exhibition Road Festival’s partners include: Discover South Kensington, Goethe-Institut London, Imperial College London, Kensington+Chelsea Art Week, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Royal Society of Sculptors, Science Museum, the Royal Parks, the V&A and Westminster City Council.

Book your free events now! 

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.

Reporter

Andrew Youngson

Andrew Youngson
Communications and Public Affairs

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