Great Exchanges with Portobello Radio


Portobello Radio presenter interviewing two guests

Delve deeper into subjects covered at the Great Exhibition Road Festival 2023.

Local communities and organisations play a huge part in bringing the Great Exhibition Road Festival to life, which draws thousands of visitors to South Kensington every year to explore the wonders of science and art through hundreds of events.

In the lead up to this year’s festival, which took place on 17-18 June, Imperial collaborated with local station Portobello Radio to produce Great Exchanges: a three-part podcast series covering subjects that would be explored at the festival, bringing Imperial scientists together with community experts. 

“Portobello Radio provides a platform for the local West London community to discuss issues that are important to them. Many of which, we noticed, overlapped with topics that Imperial researchers were planning to explore at this year’s Great Exhibition Road Festival,”

said James Romero, Public Engagement Programme Manager at Imperial.

“Working with the radio team, we wanted to bring this local and academic expertise together, providing insight from these complimentary but unique perspectives. The resulting conversations are really rich and engaging, covering topics like eating healthily, preserving green spaces and urban air pollution – we hope you enjoy listening to them.”

EPISODE ONE: Feeding the community

Great Exchanges episode 1 posterWhat barriers do we face in eating nutritious meals? Should we listen to fad diets? How can we interpret ‘best before’ dates and store food smarter to reduce food waste?

Host Piers Thompson was joined by Dr Zeinab Mulla from Imperial’s School of Public Health and Ffion Hayward, manager of St Ann’s Road’s Nourish Hub, to explore the important role food plays in our lives as well as the challenges people face in preparing healthy meals… looking at why unhealthy food is so available, and addictive, and how to help people eat better.


EPISODE TWO: Valuing our green space

Great Exchanges episode 2 posterWhat benefits do inner city parks and urban scrublands provide? How can science help communities articulate these to protect their local green spaces?

Sara Lauchlan, Chair of Friends of Little Wormwood Scrubs (a community group dedicated to looking after the interests of their local park) and Dr Tilly Collins, from Imperial’s Centre for Environmental Policy, joined host Piers Thompson to explore what communities want from local green spaces, and the benefits they offer that we might not even be aware of: from flood prevention and air pollution reduction to bee superhighways!


EPISODE THREE: The air we breathe

Great Exchanges episode 1 posterHow much does air pollution from the Westway concern local residents? Can we shut out those concerns by simply closing windows?

This episode explored how new research into air pollution can help us make informed decisions about avoiding dirty air – with Munira Elmi, from Imperial College London's School of Public Health, and Mounie Igheldane, a local single mother who got involved in Munira’s Wellhome project to investigate domestic air pollution. Together they discussed the sources and dangers of air pollution, and their mutual passion for addressing it through participatory community science.



Nisha Emich

Nisha Emich
Office of the Provost


Public-engagement, Podcast, Societal-engagement
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