Celebration of marine expertise and heritage at Big Festival Weekend

Plymouth’s proud and historic links to the oceans are to be celebrated during two days of festivities on the Plymouth University campus.

The University’s world-leading marine and maritime research facilities are to be showcased to the public as part of the first ever Big Festival Weekend.

And the 2015 Plymouth Respect Festival, taking place as part of the weekend’s event, will feature the colourful maritime creations of city schools.

Being held on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June, the weekend aims to give visitors a flavour of life at the University and the role it is playing in transforming lives locally and globally.

Professor Martin Attrill, Director of the Marine Institute at Plymouth University, said:

“As a celebration of both University and city life, it is appropriate that our marine and maritime expertise and heritage plays a central role in the Big Festival Weekend. For centuries, Plymouth has been a gateway to the seas and is renowned across the world as a hub of discovery and innovation. The University is leading efforts to enhance that reputation, through first class courses and academic research, and the world-class facilities of our Marine Building and new Marine Station.”

Ahead of the weekend’s events, children from across Plymouth have been inspired by its marine heritage, taking part in activities and workshops on the topic of Sailing with Respect – the theme of this year’s Plymouth Respect Festival.

They have built ships and marine creatures, all of which will be paraded through the city centre to the University campus on the first morning of the festival.

On campus, there will be a host of activities related to the seas, with visitors able to tour the Marine Building and see its cutting edge wave tanks and navigation simulator as well as the chance to view live footage from an underwater camera in Plymouth Sound.

They will also be able to talk to leading researchers in fields such as marine conservation and renewable energy, showing the expertise which saw the University awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2012 in recognition of its marine and maritime research and teaching.

And there will be maritime, discovery and travel stories for children on both days in Drake’s Place Gardens, as part of a range of family activities.

The Big Festival Weekend will also include showcases of prominent partnerships, while university graduates are being invited to return for a ‘Back to Plymouth’ alumni events programme. Innovative artwork will be showcased at HOT’15 – an exhibition of works by final-year students across a range of art and design disciplines – while events will also be staged in Drake’s Place Gardens and Reservoir, and there will be a host of family activities, such as campus trails and treasure hunts, a fun park, craft fairs and performances.