On Tuesday 25 October I was privileged to participate in Nottingham in Parliament day, a University of Nottingham organised festival in Westminster which saw more than 2,500 participants gather at 45 events across Parliament, celebrating all that is great about Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
The full programme and details show the range of activities across the day which showcased Nottingham business, education, research, culture, sport and global connections, bringing together a broad range of organisations with their roots in the county. Involving large and small companies involved alongside charities, public bodies, arts organisations, sports teams and celebrities, Nottingham in Parliament Day was an unprecedented exercise in co-operation intended to raise Nottingham’s profile in the corridors of power.
Highlights of the day included a live chemistry experiment in Old Palace Yard, with Professor Martyn Poliakoff and Universities Minister Jo Johnson; a high-level debate on Nottingham’s role as a driver of the Midlands Engine; sessions on the future of energy, healthcare, transport and justice; and a campaign that has declared Nottingham a ‘City of Zero Tolerance to FGM’. There was also sport on offer on Speaker’s Green and New Palace Yard which included table tennis, football, archery (with Robin Hood, naturally) and cricket.
A special edition of University Challenge saw a House of Commons team of MPs take on a team of academics and a Registrar from the University of Nottingham. The Speaker, John Bercow, was in the chair, naturally, but the result went entirely the wrong way with the University of Nottingham team getting a bit of a hammering 180-80.
University Challenge outcome aside this was an extraordinary day, the first time any University had attempted anything of this kind, scale and level of ambition. Full credit to all who participated and hosted events but particular plaudits go to Alex Miles, Leonie Mathers and team for actually making it happen.
Universities do the most amazing work and showcasing this in Parliament can only be of benefit.