Thousands enjoyed IdeaFest 2013

- Melanie Tromp Hoover

This year’s IdeaFest, the University of Victoria’s second festival celebrating some of UVic’s brightest research, brought more than 5,000 people out to explore and debate all things world-changing and creative on campus—a level of public engagement that guarantees IdeaFest will indeed be an annual spring event in Victoria.

“This year’s festival was far better than anything I could have imagined,” says Howard Brunt, vice-president research at UVic. “Many participants were taking in multiple events each, and more than half of the festival’s participants were community members—which is exactly what we were hoping for.”

Running from March 4–15, this second incarnation of the popular festival followed through on its “bigger and better” 50th anniversary mandate: IdeaFest 2013 doubled the 2012 pilot in both length and material, featuring more than 50 free events, from every faculty on campus, and more than half of UVic’s interdisciplinary research centres.

Events like “Deep Impact: How Physics and Astronomy Shape Culture” and “Games Without Frontiers: The Social Power of Gaming” drew crowds of more than 350 people each; nearly 250 came out for the premiere of Groundswell, a documentary looking at the crisis facing British Columbia’s coastline told through the lens of surfing; and hot topic panels on creativity, health care and BC’s resource economy started conversations with more than 100 engaged audience members each night (just to name a handful).

“We see IdeaFest as a dynamic platform for community members, faculty, staff and students to celebrate and explore the kinds of ideas that really speak to our time,” says Brunt. The festival’s full roster of diverse public events included panel discussions, debates, guided tours, exhibits, film screenings, PechaKucha-style presentations, workshops and lectures.

“I’d like to thank the dozens of people—including more than 100 faculty members—who contributed their time, creativity and energy towards bringing each of these 50 events to life,” he says.

Plans for IdeaFest 2014 include a week-long format, focusing even more on interactive presentation models and targeting some events specifically to elementary and high school student audiences.

Other IdeaFest 2013 stories:

Students creating knowledge

The social power of gaming


 

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