Welcome and Introduction

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Welcome to the University of Gloucestershire’s Festival of Learning 2021!

It is hard to believe a year has gone by since our last event, and the uncertainty we faced together then has remained with us rather steadfastly. What we have witnessed over this last academic year, however, has been a movement from nervous reaction to altered circumstances towards more confident proactivity. We have changed and adapted, and perhaps surprised ourselves a little with our resilience and flexibility. We should be proud of how we have supported our students and each other as colleagues.

This context led us to title this year’s Festival: ‘Reimagining Higher Education, Reshaping Futures’, prompting us to come together as a community of teachers, professional staff, researchers and students to reflect upon the ever-changing nature of higher education and our contributions within it. We have been presented with an opportunity to envisage and deliver an improved academic experience for our students, to redefine our graduates and, through their actions and values, to help safeguard the world we live in.

Over the three days of the Festival you will hear the voices of 70 contributors, including well-known external speakers and a wide range of UoG colleagues, sharing excellent and innovative professional practice. The Festival is organised around live synchronous sessions, including external keynote speakers, and Academic Exchanges and Lightning Presentations delivered by colleagues at the University together with our academic partners. As ever, we have our LIFT Lab presentations and PGR/MRes research contributions, as well as a session led by our LGBTQ+ Society, Students’ Union and PRIDE Network.

This year sees a new addition to our Festival programme: two internal keynote presentations, which link academic and professional services staff to share good practice in key areas of our provision: developing professional practitioners and creating an inclusive university. The professional commitment to student learning that our colleagues demonstrate in the internal keynote presentations is what makes this University such a great place for our students to study and reach their full potential.

You are able to build a personal programme of Festival activities to fit around your interests and commitments so please take the opportunity to slow down, listen, ask questions, reflect and learn from one another. It is time to turn on your microphones and cameras, share your experiences, and, we trust, emerge from the Festival feeling reinvigorated.

Professor Jenny Hill, Head of Learning and Teaching Innovation

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