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The Programme for UCD Festival 2024 is Announced

Over 130 free events will take place on Saturday, June 8th at the UCD Belfield Campus


Pavel aged 6 and Yuliia aged 8 enjoy a plasma ball at the UCD festival. Over 20,000 people will visit the Belfield campus on Saturday, 8th June for the annual event. Image Marc O'Sullivan

Registration is now open and the programme for the UCD Festival 2024 has just been unveiled. The Belfield campus will burst to life on Saturday, 8 June, hosting a diverse line-up of over 130 free events. This year’s festival promises something for everyone to enjoy with captivating talks, enlightening masterclasses, interactive science exhibitions, inspiring creative sessions, and an abundance of family-friendly activities. As part of this year’s festival, the second annual “Old Man Belfield” run will take place, raising funds for the Michael Byrne Community Fund, which supports students who may not be able to afford accommodation.  


This year’s festival books curator is RTÉ broadcaster Rick O’Shea and among the literary highlights the best selling British-Irish author Kit de Waal, a champion of working class writers, will be in conversation with O’Shea about her career to date. Authors Maggie ArmstrongFerdia LennonRonán Hession and Jan Carson are also on the line-up while Dr Páraic Kerrigan will discuss his book Reeling in the Queers exploring the lesser-known stories behind the fight for LGBTQ rights since 1974.


Speaking at the programme launch, UCD Festival organiser Sheila Morris encouraged visitors to come and be inspired:


“We invite people of all ages to visit the Belfield campus on Saturday 8 June and to explore, discover and be inspired at the UCD Festival. I encourage everyone to come to campus to experience the wonders of a globally renowned university where festival goers can interact with UCD’s research, embrace artistic creativity, and interact with UCD students, researchers, and writers. It is a fantastic free day out which inspires the scientists, engineers and writers of tomorrow and everyone is invited to join the celebrations.”


Festival Zones 

Visit the Intel Science & Innovation Zone where aspiring physicists and rocket scientists will have an opportunity to launch a rocket, discover the world of 3D printing or solve a mystery using forensic science. Future veterinarians can learn how to use a microscope and even try their hand at milking a cow. Keep an eye out for the interactive experiments conducted by stilt-walking circus scientists.


Budding engineers can explore the Medtronic Engineering & Technology Zone, where they can discover how to power a car with hydrogen or learn about the latest advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence. UCD Engineering Students will present a robotics showcase, where new aspects of engineering, programming and mini robots will be on display. There will be demonstrations exploring how digital technologies play a crucial role in food production, highlighting the significance of soil carbon, soil structure, and the use of stereo cameras for tracking crop growth including mushroom cultivation.


New to the festival in 2024 is the Amgen Biotech Zone, where festival goers can witness how UCD researchers and Amgen use biology to develop new products and processes to improve human health and society and find out about how these technologies are used to fight crime at the Amgen DNA Detectives workshop.


At the Discover Zone, visitors will have the chance to explore ancient weaponry and artefacts, participate in Chinese Cultural Workshops or take a guided sensory trail through the UCD Woodlands. A novel event called "Dragons' Den: Families Decide” will see top UCD researchers pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of 'Dragon families'.  This year's festival will unveil the UCD Greenacre Sustainability Hub, described as a 'Living Lab' where visitors can explore, innovate, and develop solutions for sustainability. The hub will feature live demonstrations showcasing how common materials, such as plastics, can be sustainably transformed.


At the Culture Zone, there will be opportunities to explore the acclaimed James Joyce Library or discover the remarkable collection of artefacts at the UCD Classical Museum ranging from Latin gravestones to Greek pottery. Meanwhile, students from UCD's traditional music module will showcase a variety of original music compositions. 


The Family Fun Zone will feature a variety of entertainment, including face painters, magicians, and a family BBQ. Providing the entertainment, leading Italian female clown Fra Martó will be presenting an interactive circus as well as performances from UCD’s Community Choir. The Mind & Body Zone will include virtual reality-based physical activities, as well as tests to assess your fitness levels and health.


Neurodiversity & Inclusivity

At this year’s festival, there are designated sensory-friendly spaces designed to offer a comfortable, low-stimulation area for individuals with diverse neurological needs. Michele Van Valey, a yoga and mindfulness coach, will lead sensory movement sessions tailored for neurodivergent individuals of all ages. Additionally, a Sensory Express Bus will be available on campus for those seeking a respite from the festival's bustling atmosphere.


The UCD Festival 2024 will take place on Saturday, 8 June from 12 until 6 pm. All events are free but some may require advance booking. The UCD Belfield campus is served by the 11, 39a, 46a, 47, 142, 145, 155, S2, 74, L25, S4 and S6 bus routes and is located within walking distance of Sydney Parade Dart station.


For the full festival programme visit: https://festival.ucd.ie


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