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New festival to bring together communities in east London


Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is to jointly host a two-week festival which will celebrate and bring together communities in the East End through a series of events.

The inaugural Festival of Communities, which gets under way on Saturday May 21 with a family fun day in Stepney Green Park from 12pm to 5pm, will be run in close collaboration between QMUL, Tower Hamlets Council and community groups in the borough.

On the opening day visitors will have the chance to see a full-size tyrannosaurus rex skull and speak to experts about it, recreate the universe with Lego physics and have a go at a pedal-powered smoothie bike.

Throughout late May and early June a series of fringe events will also be held including walking tours tracing migrant lives in Whitechapel, a debate on the Olympic legacy in east London, film screenings and music therapy with 16th and 17th Century ballads.

The festival will conclude on Saturday June 4 with an event at QMUL’s Mile End campus, from 12pm to 5pm, showcasing the best of the university’s research including naked mole rat street art, science workshops by the team at Centre of the Cell and a circus-themed carnival of lost emotions.

Sarah Gifford, Community Engagement Officer at QMUL, said: “We are really excited about the first Festival of Communities and the range of activities and events taking place over the two weeks. There really is something for everyone to get involved with and there will be lots to explore so hopefully it will give people a chance to get hands on learning about the university and their local community and inspire them to take their interests further.”

Festival of Communities will have a focus on ‘life’ and throughout the two weeks will explore the themes of lifelong learning and community togetherness.

The festival is being run in collaboration with Tower Hamlets Council, the Stifford Centre, Social Action for Health, the Salvation Army, Stepney Foundation, Tower Hamlets Homes and Mile End Community Project. The festival is also supported by Canary Wharf Group Plc.