The annual award-winning UCD Festival brings together the global UCD community of staff, students, alumni, future students and the wider general public for an inspiring showcase of over 100 events that celebrate UCD. For the second year running, the UCD Festival took place entirely online from May 27-29 – renamed UCD Festival@home – and succeeded in delivering all the inspiring, fun and informative activities of the regular festival. There was something for everyone in the family to enjoy, including workshops, demonstrations, workouts, performances and more.
Some of the highlights of the many UCD Festival@home events that took place over the weekend in May include: Masterclasses in Minutes on the theme of Innovation & Discovery were diverse and insightful. Attendees tuned in to subjects as varied as The Business of Baking and Creating Music with Sound to Experimental Archaelogy, Making the Piano Sing and Roller Skating. There was a lot to learn from interactive Zooms on The Life of Plastics and The Life of Food, both of which came with a free Zoo Pass. There was also an opportunity to take a look at some of the research projects being carried out at UCD’s three world-class research centres on campus. The UCD Festival Science Programme also presented interactive science fun for a new generation of scientists with Potions & Explosions sessions with Scientific Sue, quizzes and a STEM-themed masterclass Little Big Questions from UCD Explore, Science Foundation Ireland and Intel. The latter’s Laser Harp featured as did marine robotics, cyborgs and augmented reality. AI demonstrations and experiments and coding challenges kept young attendees on their toes.
In a wide range of stimulating and thought-provoking conversations with well-known UCD alumni like film director Neil Jordan, Leinster rugby coach Leo Cullen and musician JyellowL, a multitude of topics were explored from Poetry in the Free State and Michael Collins – Then and Now to Young, Black, Irish and the bilingual More than Cúpla Focal. Climate action was addressed by Kevin O’Sullivan, Niamh Moore-Cherry and Saoirse McHugh, while emerging writing talents Louise Nealon, Louise Kennedy and John Patrick McHugh showed the strength of UCD’s literary alumni.
A host of music and drama performances featured, including a showcase remote recording by UCD Ad Astra Music Scholars, a range of performances from UCD Societies, a 1980s singalong with UCD Community Choir, and a special recording of “Wild Mountain Thyme” by the Choral Scholars of University College Dublin. Festival health and wellbeing enthusiasts were treated to workshops, classes and tips including sessions by Dr Mark Rowe on the importance of self-care and the significance of expressing gratitude, and a Pilates by the Lake session hosted by alumna Collette O’Flynn who also presented an exercise plan for those working from home. Healthy eating workshops and cookery classes as Gaeilge featured, along with mental health-boosting sessions on Building Resilience with Tips from the Military and Olympians and Managing School Stress.
Attendees were encouraged to explore the amazing digital resouces and archives at UCD, including past Festival recordings and podcasts. As well as a virtual campus tour of the beautiful University campus at Belfield, there were rich archives to be explored, including the National Folklore Collection which is housed at UCD. We are looking forward to gathering on campus for the UCD Festival 2022.
You can watch all of the content from UCD Festival@home 2021 at www.ucd.ie/festival. And keep a lookout on the site for information about gathering on campus for the in-person UCD Festival 2022.