Festival of Learning

This takes place in June and provides a platform to communicate and share ideas about pedagogy and good practice.

Festival aims

Since 2019 the Academic Practice Directorate (APD) has built on the success of the UWE Bristol Learning and Teaching Conference and brought you a new style of event, the Festival of Learning.

The Festival of Learning 2022 will take place from 16-24 June 2022, with a mixture of in-person and online delivery. This is a free event and open to everyone.

The Festival will continue to champion inclusivity, provide a platform for those involved in teaching and supporting learning to communicate and share ideas about scholarship and good practice, from undergraduate level to doctoral supervision. 

The Festival of Learning is free to attend.

People writing on a whiteboard during a meeting.

Festival of Learning, 16-24 June 2022

This year we are introducing a two-day sister Symposium. The Festival Symposium is aimed at postgraduate researchers, early career academics, associate lecturers and those who identify themselves as new to teaching in academia. The Symposium is designed to offer a space where early career voices can be heard without prejudice, in a non-judgemental environment. Furthermore, the Symposium will provide an opportunity for attendees to develop their network, serving to further embed a sense of community.

Registration open

We are pleased to open bookings for the hybrid Festival of Learning 2022.

In response to your feedback, we have arranged sessions into blocks, still with the opportunity to build your own programme to fit in with your existing commitments. You can attend as much as you like in this flexible format. We have tried to minimise parallel sessions wherever possible.

There will be various interactive activities in an attempt to reduce the focus on the standard presentation format.

This is a free event and open to everyone.

Download the speaker abstracts (DOC) and timetable (DOC)

Register online

Please read over our permissions and notices (PDF) for more information about our ethos, to view our privacy notice and request to use images. We are committed to creating and maintaining a friendly, safe and inclusive environment, regardless of age, disability, gender, gender identity, language, marriage/civil partnership status, national or social origin, physical appearance, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation.

Themes

Based on the idea of rediscovery and fresh starts following a period of difficult circumstances, we have chosen an overarching Festival theme of “The Joy of Learning and Teaching”. Festival sessions (16-21 June) will address one or more of the following sub-themes:

  • How do I know it’s working? (eg research-informed teaching, evidencing impact)
  • Playfulness and creativity (gamification of learning, practices from outside teaching (eg theatre))
  • Cultivating a community fit for learning (eg wellbeing, inclusivity, community, space, engagement, uncomfortable conversations and safe spaces).

Under the theme of “The Tentative Teacher”, Symposium sessions (23-24 June) will address one or both of the following sub-themes:

  • Comfort in the classroom – creating an atmosphere conducive to learning (eg wellbeing, inclusivity)
  • Notes on Belonging: Welcome to Academia (eg imposter syndrome, transferrable skills).

Our first keynote is Dr Paul Campbell, Director of the Leicester Institute for Inclusivity in Higher Education, who will discuss his work around awarding gaps, including decolonisation of the curriculum and of assessment – and how one might measure and evaluate the impact on the student experience. 

The online keynote is Head of the Research Excellence Training Team at the University of York, Dr Karen Clegg. Using the scholarship into doctoral education and data in the UK Research Supervision Survey, Karen will consider the role of supervision and what it does for the culture of a department and organisation.

Kate Lister will be the inaugural Symposium keynote, exploring the concepts of comfort and joy, how they relate to and affect wellbeing, and how they can be embedded in teaching and learning to the benefit of staff and students.

As well as around 40 contributions from diverse colleagues, providing great variety in the programme, we are offering a more sustainable and inclusive event. For example, we continue with the Participant Commitment introduced to uphold the safe and inclusive environment and encourage all members of staff to get involved, food waste will be minimised, documents will be accessibility-checked, and the use of personal pronouns supported.

Conference structure

All being well, day one and four of the Festival and day one of the Symposium will be in-person events on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus. The remainder will take place online.

Many sessions will be recorded and be available on-demand, asynchronously, to allow for greater accessibility.

If you have any ideas or queries, please email Academic Practice at academicpractice@uwe.ac.uk.

Praise from the 2021 event

Colleagues felt the June 2021 Festival of Learning had an impact on their practice and 97% of respondents said their expectations of the Festival were met or exceeded.

"New research into student values and identity, and around equality and diversity issues, will inform new teaching practices"

"Better awareness of policy environment and strategic direction"

"I feel better prepared talk about trans-inclusive teaching with colleagues"

"What I have learnt will be fed back to colleagues, built into my ways of working and encouragement to explore some of the ideas I was introduced to in more detail"

"I will try more creative online learning. I will change practice to be more gender inclusive"

"The accessibility side of things was great – the Festival of Learning's practice was exemplary"

"Definitely will want to ensure the programme/student experience celebrate diversity, being open and vocal about it in front of colleagues and students"

"A really interesting and engaging session, made me reflect on my practice" 

"You could see collaboration happening before your eyes!"

Attendee, Festival of Learning 2020

Attendee Festival of Learning 2020

Festival of Learning resources

Festival of Learning 2021 resources

Visit the Festival of Learning SharePoint site (staff login required) to view recordings of presentations and download materials from the Festival of Learning which was held between 17 and 22 June 2021. Materials are also available on Blackboard (staff login required) where they can be downloaded in alternative formats, such as audio.

You can view full details of the event on the 2021 Festival programme (PDF) which includes over 50 contributions from diverse colleagues.

Festival of Learning 2020 resources

Visit the Blackboard course to view recordings of presentations and download materials from the Festival of Learning which was held between 18 and 23 June 2020. Please note that you may need a staff login to view these.

You can view full details of the event on the Festival programme which includes over 50 contributions from diverse colleagues.

The event was opened by Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost, Amanda Coffey. Vice Chancellor Steve West introduced our keynote, Nona McDuff – “Reducing the black, Asian and minority ethnic attainment gap – taking it seriously at an institutional level”. Nona is the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Students and Teaching at Solent University. She was awarded an OBE for her services to diversity in higher education and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Our second external speaker was Tony Churchill, Nottingham Trent University, with: “Scaling up Active Collaborative Learning for Student Success”. This workshop considered a successful pedagogic response to the challenge of ensuring that all students succeed, regardless of their background: Student-Centred Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies.

We are committed to creating and maintaining a friendly, safe and inclusive environment. Read over our Permissions and Notices for more information about our ethos, to view our privacy notice and request to use images.

Materials on Blackboard are in accessible formats wherever possible and can be downloaded in alternative formats, such as audio.

If you have any queries, please email the Academic Practice team at academicpractice@uwe.ac.uk.

Festival of Learning 2019 resources

June resources

You can view full details of the event on the conference programme.

Events during the Festival included:

  • keynote by Professor Jane Setter, University of Reading: “A thousand words: black, Asian and minority ethnic student life through a lens”
  • keynote by Professor Osama Khan, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Students and Teaching, Solent University, on digital learning and learner analytics.

Key themes were inclusivity and digital learning. You can catch up on slides and videos, including the very popular session by Professor Osama Khan on Sharepoint (UWE account required).

February resources

You can view full details of the event on the conference programme.

Events during the Festival included keynotes by: Professor David Read (University of Southampton) who argued for and against the use of lectures in modern university teaching; Fabienne Vailes (University of Bristol) about the ‘Flourishing Student', as well as an Enhancement Framework 101; and an update on the Grand Challenge discussion and workshop.

Please note that you may need a staff login to view these: 

If you would like to see the slides from another presentation, please email academicpractice@uwe.ac.uk.

Further workshops

If you want more workshops, take a look at our upcoming events (staff login required).