It’s exactly 50 days until we mark the 50th anniversary of UEA with the Anniversary Festival. Hooray! We’ve got an amazing programme developing for Saturday 28 September – we hope there really will be something for everyone. The full programme will be released on the UEA 50th website really soon, but for now we can tell you that there will be plenty of laughs and drama in the Fringe Festival; food for thought in the Inspiring Ideas series; an opportunity to take part in fun and educational hands on activities; with food and entertainment on offer all day.
And then of course, there will be the Norfolk Firework Volcano. You may be wondering why we are choosing to erupt a volcano as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. The idea might seem a little odd given Norfolk’s relatively placid geology. Why a volcano? BJ’s previous blog about the marriage of science and literature gives us a clue.
When UEA was founded in 1963, the people in charge had a vision for a new way of learning. Rather than studying each academic subject in isolation, they saw the benefits of interdisciplinary teaching and learning. Sir Solly Zuckerman was a major figure in the foundation of UEA and a scientist of great note and influence. He was determined that UEA’s approach to teaching science should be broad and interdisciplinary. He encouraged UEA to develop a school of Environmental Sciences – with meteorology, oceanology, geology and conservation (and now a whole range of other disciplines) all being taught in the same department. This way they would ensure that science would never be taught in a ‘narrow’ way. He envisaged that this broad approach would also lead to connections with the social sciences. It did. And in fact there are academics at UEA taking this idea even further by collaborating with colleagues from across all four of our faculties.
UEA’s volcanologists are no exception. They study the science behind volcanoes, but they are also interested in finding out about how volcanoes affect people – the way they live and the stories they tell. That’s why we’re going to be using the Norfolk Firework Volcano not only to demonstrate the science behind volcanic activity, but also to look at the way volcanoes affect communities and shape cultures. The study of volcanoes can bring together experts from a range of disciplines and given UEA’s interdisciplinary ethos, this is what makes it such an appropriate thing to have at the 50th Anniversary Festival. And then of course there’s the fact that it’s going to be really, really fun!
This blog post was written by Holly Leonard, the 50th Anniversary Events Manager.