‘We’ve noticed a lot of people don’t really understand what we do here at the arts department’, says Sarah Willemsen, project leader for the festival. ‘They think we sit in dusty rooms writing books, when it’s not like that at all. We want to show people that our research is just as relevant to society as scientific and technological research.’
In addition to celebrating the arts, says Willemsen, the Arts Festival is also meant to protest looming government budget cuts. Arts research will be under threat if the faculty loses funding. ‘People don’t know just how diverse research in the arts really is. We may not always be at the forefront, but we research so many different things.’
The department decided it was high time to showcase the societal relevance and diversity of their work to the public at large. ‘We’ll give tours of the Harmonie building, we’ll have food trucks serving prehistoric food, and people can participate in experiments and attend mini-lectures’, says Willemsen. ‘We decided on an interactive programme to appeal to everyone’s interests. We’d love to draw people who don’t really know much about us.’
Would you like to learn to recognise fake news? To eat what our forefathers ate, out of antique dishes? To know whether an app can recognise your exact northern accent? To learn more about dictators in the Middle East? You can learn all this and more at the Harmonie building in the city centre, between 1 and 5 pm. Entry to the festival is free and the schedule will tell you where everything is taking place.
For more information about the festival, click here.