Looking back at Birkbeck’s first One World Festival

The Festival was designed to celebrate Birkbeck’s positive contribution to the local and global societies, its exceptional international reach, and its rich and diverse cultures.

Last week Birkbeck celebrated its first One World Festival, with hundreds of students and members of the local community joining the events taking place throughout the week.

The attendees came from over 68 countries for over a dozen events, including a potluck picnic, with food and games on Gordon Square in which students were encouraged to bring a dish from their home country; a tea party in the Library; a sold-out performance from feminist Greek chorus cabaret, “Myth Independent” by the Constellations Theatre Company and “Around the World in 45 Minutes” by the Dionysus Ensemble; a number of academic lectures, public awareness workshops and discussions; and a historic walk around Bloomsbury, led by Birkbeck historian Mike Berlin.

The Students’ Union also relaunched their magazine, the Lamp & Owl, at a drinks reception. The new edition of the magazine focused on the rich internationalism of Birkbeck, and included a welcome message from Professor David Latchman, Master of Birkbeck.

Dr Sanjib Bhakta, Assistant Dean (International and Partnership), School of Science and Chair of the One World Festival Planning Committee said: “It was fantastic to bring so many students and members of the local community together to celebrate Birkbeck’s international culture and to start the new academic year with such a special festival of food, music and academic discussion. We hope this One World Festival was the first of many to come.”

Fraser Keir, Academic Registrar at the College said: “Birkbeck is home to students from over 120 countries worldwide, and we are proud to celebrate our diverse international community with our first One World Festival, as well as our own contributions to local and global societies. Many thanks to the staff and students who gave up their time to organise the events and made it such a success.”

New and returning international students at Birkbeck are now invited for a morning tea with Professor Latchman on 16 October 2018 at the Keynes Library, School of Arts.

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Newham Young People’s Careers Fair

Hester Gartrell, Outreach and Widening Access Senior Officer at Birkbeck, discusses the recent careers fair at our Stratford campus for Newham residents aged 16-24.

On Wednesday 29 August, Birkbeck’s Stratford campus hosted Newham Young People’s Careers Fair. The fair which was delivered in partnership with Workplace, Newham’s job brokerage, provided support, advice and guidance about education, employment and training for young people aged 16-24.

The event is the result of an ongoing partnership between Birkbeck Access and Engagement and Workplace and was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our campus to Newham residents. A key part of our access work is to demonstrate to potential students that Birkbeck is a welcoming place which will support them throughout their studies. Opening up our doors to what can seem a daunting and gated space is essential to this.

The fair also gave us the chance to speak to local residents about Birkbeck and its flexible study options right in the heart of Newham as well as being a culmination to the work that we’ve been doing throughout the borough this summer. This has included joining Workplace on their roadshow across Newham, holding regular information and advice drop-ins at local libraries and attending community festivals.

In addition to hosting 179 Newham residents, we also had 30 organisations exhibit at the fair from sectors as varied as construction, television and further education. Not only did the event allow us to build links with these businesses, it again allowed us to show others our campus where they may want to host their own events or where they or their colleagues may want to consider studying.

We’re looking forward to hosting more Access and Engagement events and activities on campus in autumn and beyond with plans for our own events and further partnership working.

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Celebrating Birkbeck the One World way

Dr Sanjib Bhakta, Assistant Dean (International and Partnership), School of Science & Chair of the One World Festival Planning Committee, writes on what to expect from the College’s first One World Festival. Booking information for each event is available here.

Globalisation does not mean to forget where you are originally from. London, one of the great global cities of the world, is a melting pot of different cultures, ethnicities, languages and socio-economic backgrounds.

In order to celebrate Birkbeck’s positive contribution to the local and global societies, its exceptional international reach, and its rich and diverse cultures, we will be holding our first One World Festival. This will feature public lectures, workshops, film screenings, global art, international food and music, pot-luck picnic, historic walking tours and more, offering the participants – particularly international students – the opportunity to meet, interact, and learn about other cultures.

Birkbeck One World Festival will run from 24-29 September 2018, ending with the College Orientation activities at the Student Central, the University of London’s Student Union building, and a performance from a string quartet entitled Around the World in 45 Minutes. A special international edition of The Lamp and Owl, the Birkbeck Student newspaper, will be published to mark the festival, along with a supplementary international cookbook. Birkbeck’s international students will later have an opportunity to meet with the Master of Birkbeck, Professor David Latchman, on 16 October 2018, at the Keynes Library.

The key objectives of this event are:

  • To celebrate Birkbeck’s multicultural community of staff and students from all over the world.
  • To increase involvement and solidarity in the celebration of the multicultural community, and to educate others about varied cultures, values and aspirations which are different from their own.

The One World Festival will enable outreach at a community level to work beyond any boundary such as culture, ethnicity, gender and creed, and recognise that Birkbeck is part of only one world in combating inequality and discrimination. Hopefully, this event will motivate activities which would nurture values of unity in diversity and lead to learning, understanding and action for global justice. Finally, this multicultural event week would nourish and replenish the social positivity, enrich culture and help people to combat against any social odds. I would like to thank volunteers from different departments in the College, External Relations, International Office, Birkbeck Student Union, various Birkbeck International Societies to formulate a One World Festival organising committee and meet regularly to plan and launch the event with excitement, fun and colour, and to engage the whole of the College family.

Please join us in celebrating the first ever One World Festival at Birkbeck!

Booking information for each event is available here.

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