University of Glasgow: University of Glasgow welcomes city to new building with ARCadia festival


People from across Glasgow and beyond are being welcomed into a brand-new community space at the University of Glasgow with a two-week festival of free events.

The University’s newly-opened Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre, or ARC, will play host next month to the ARCadia Festival of Ideas, featuring brass bands, a retro video game arcade, comedy and drag shows, an outdoor ceilidh, art exhibits, a virtual reality celebration of Robert Burns, and much more.

ARCadia, which runs from Friday 16 September until Friday 30 September, aims to establish the ARC as a significant contributor to everyday life in Glasgow’s west end.

The ground floor of the ARC, which will later this year include a café and restaurant, is open to the general public.

The ARC will play host to more than 65 free, all-ages events during the festival, hosted by students and staff from the University of Glasgow and community partners.

Those events include tours of the ARC during the Glasgow Doors Open weekend on September 17th and 18th, and a family-focused programme the weekend after. Local brass band, Brass, Aye? will perform in the ARC’s beautiful outdoor space on Sunday 18th. Luca Nelli, saxophone player for brass band Brass, Aye? and research associate from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, joins local children Elliot James and Elsie Tyler to celebrate the launch of the ARCadia Festival of Ideas at the Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre

The ARC will host events every evening, including movie screenings, comedy shows and live music for an adult audience. On the opening night, the atrium will be transformed into a cinema for a screening of 90s classic ‘Mars Attacks!’, followed by a discussion with scientists working on Martian research.

Local community groups will contribute to the festival, including childrens’ storytelling sessions curated by The Children’s Wood, hands-on stalls from Partick Community Growing Project and The Annexe Healthy Living Centre. Music collective Hen Hoose will curate an evening of music for the closing night.

Jane Cowie from The Annexe Healthy Living Centre said: “Having something where the University is welcoming the community is absolutely massive. The combination of the community, university and research is wow.”

The ARC will also platform voices from communities , who are underserved or underrepresented in universities, with events involving the Maryhill Integration Network, local charities, and the Africa in Motion Film Festival. There will also be events led by LGBTQ+ and Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater communities.

Many events will connect the public with the University of Glasgow’s world-leading research. The £116m Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre, which sits on the site of the former Western Infirmary, is home to a multidisciplinary group of researchers tackling a whole range of global issues, from climate change to healthcare.

A wide range of research will be on show during the festival, including the University’s response to the pandemic. COVID 19: A Community Conversation’ will create space for the university and local community to share their experiences of the pandemic, from personal stories to the research response. This will include a specially commissioned theatre piece and exhibition

Visitors can also expect to hear more about using quantum technologies to monitor healthcare, ultrasound, social robots, gender inequality in STEM, African film, fake news, blood borne virus research, the art of Whistler, Colombian river stories, dementia, the return of salmon to the river Clyde, healthy ageing, and palliative care.

ARCadia Festival Manager Dr Zara Gladman said: “The ARC is a stunning new building but it’s the people who will bring it to life. ARCadia is an invitation to the whole community to get involved, and this is reflected in our diverse programme. At ARCadia you can meet a cute robot, watch comedy and drag, dip into the latest health research, explore virtual reality and even dance in an outdoor ceilidh.

“Many events are being led in partnership with groups outside of the university, from charities to local businesses and artists. The ARC is a new focal point for Glasgow to come together, share ideas and shape the future of the research happening here. ARCadia is just the beginning – and I hope to see you there!”

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