Bookings now open for University of Hertfordshire’s FREE Festival of Ideas

 7 March 2024 6 March 2024
7 March 2024

Bookings officially opened today (Thursday, 7 March) for the University of Hertfordshire’s Festival of Ideas, where you’ll be able to meet robots, visit virtual worlds, learn how to use magic to boost happiness, hear about what life is really like on the set of Hollywood blockbusters – and so much more!

The University’s largest ever event, over 6,000 people have already registered their interest for the free, two-day, family-friendly festival on 17 and 18 May. It will feature over 50 sessions showcasing the very best of the University’s research, enterprise and partnerships through workshops, talks, performances, exhibitions, immersive experiences and more.

Web booking for the Festival of Ideas went live today, with those interested in attending now able to secure their festival ticket, plus book onto exclusive sessions available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, said:

“Herts is a dynamic and innovative university with a long history of driving ambition and enterprise across the region. Through our education, research, future skills development and innovation, we are powering tomorrow for the sake of everyone’s future – which is exactly what the Festival of Ideas will celebrate.

“Our biggest ever public event, we are really looking forward to welcoming all members of our community to our campus so they can see first-hand the incredible range of work that happens here at Herts, as well as experience for themselves some of the incredible opportunities and state-of-the-art equipment we’re fortunate to be able to offer.

“The Festival of Ideas has a diverse and exciting programme over the two days, featuring all kinds of different activities suitable for all kinds of interests. We hope everyone leaves having learnt something new, feeling inspired and being more aware of what we are doing at Herts to help sustain and improve tomorrow’s world. Most importantly though, we hope everyone has a fantastic, memorable day out!”

As well as food stalls, live music and performances, walk-through exhibitions and a family zone, other activity taking place includes:

The Future Tech Zone
From cutting-edge VR experiences, AI gaming, and the chance to test racing skills in a realistic driving simulator, to the opportunity to meet and learn about the role of some of the institute’s resident robots – the Future Tech Zone provides an interactive experience of some of the tech helping us to develop a better tomorrow.

Hollywood in Hertfordshire
With the county’s booming film and TV sector making it the “Hollywood of the UK” in recent years, our panel of film and TV execs will discuss how to access job opportunities behind the screen and what it takes to create blockbusters like Barbie and Wonka to TV favourites Eastenders and The Voice.

Mind Magic
Join renowned psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, host and creator of the successful On Your Mind podcast, best-selling author and member of the Inner Magic Circle, to discover how to use magic to improve your wellbeing. Based on his new book, Magic Your Mind Happy, the family-friendly talk will not only reveal how magic can help you grow confidence, feel happier and boost brain power – but also teach some nifty new magic tricks to show off to friends.

Walk This Play
This exciting, new audio play - created by award-winning theatre company ThickSkin – will take audiences on a captivating journey around the University to experience original music and narrative cleverly blended to the sights they come across.

Stars, Planets & Constellations: A Guided Tour of the Universe
Enjoy on an awe-inspiring planetarium show, led by one of the University’s expert astronomers, in our incredible Cosmodrome - the UK’s largest inflatable planetarium.

Real-world simulations
Go from watching a frontline hero – our paramedics, nurses and midwives performing their important work – to a cameraman working a live film set, to deciding the fate of a defendant being tried for murder in court, with Herts’ lifelike simulation equipment and settings.

A full list of events is available via the free booking link for the Festival of Ideas. Further headline acts and activities are due to be announced soon.

How to book your Festival of Ideas sessions:


Press Office +44 (0)1707 285 770