Today we are hugely excited to launch Wonkfest. More than twelve months in the making, Wonkfest is not just the biggest event we’ve ever produced, but the start of what we hope will become an annual tradition in the higher education sector: a policy jamboree – two solid days of serious policy debate, endlessly interesting discussion and learning, fun, new ideas and thinking and so much more. A festival in every sense of the word.
Wonkfest will be hosted at Ravensbourne in London – a college in the HE sector delivering cutting-edge design and digital media education. As a venue, it has to be seen to be believed – huge, open bright spaces, flexible workshop rooms, and some seriously wonky designs. We’re really proud to be working with Ravensbourne, and we’re keeping the whole event in the HE sector as far as possible. Ravensbourne students and graduates have been involved in every step of the design and development process and will continue to be involved right through until the day itself.
We’re delighted to be working with HSBC who are supporting Wonkfest and today we announce our new collaboration. We’re also really pleased to be working with The Guardian – our media partner for Wonkfest.
We decided to develop Wonkfest because it was the next step in our mission to open up and improve the higher education debate. We’ve learnt a lot from hosting events in the last year, and it’s become clear to us that the community loves to meet and spend time together. But we wanted to create a completely different sort of space to talk about everything HE and its place in the world. Yes, there are some big names speakers, but don’t mistake this for just another conference. Our different stages will have a wide variety of activities – debates and seminars big and small, Learning to Wonk professional masterclasses, and with sessions running concurrently all day long, you’ll be spoilt for choice for things to see and do.
Wonkfest will help keep HE policy mainstream: we expect colleagues from every one of the sector’s many different professions to come to Wonkfest because the debate belongs to the whole sector. From the hardcore policy wonks and planners, through to comms, marketing and public affairs professionals, academics with an interest in the future (and present) of UK HE, leaders of all stripes, from every UK nation and every corner of HE. Joining the sector colleagues will be politicians, journalists, civil servants, business leaders and others from civil society with a stake in the future of our universities.
Today we launch our initial lineup, but we’ll be announcing tonnes more speakers, activities and events at Wonkfest over the coming weeks and a full programme will follow soon.
We are pleased to offer tickets at discounted rates to our partner organisations and professional networks – all of which should have received a code to use when buying tickets.
We think it’s going to be special and we can’t wait to welcome you all to Ravensbourne in November. Let’s make policy great again.