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Public Engagement

Join in at the Tower Hamlets Festival of Communities


Written by Daniel Taylor, Assistant Public Engagement Officer at the Centre for Public Engagement

From our foundation as the People's Palace philanthropic centre in 1887, Queen Mary University of London has consistently showed a strong commitment to the local community in Tower Hamlets, and to the people of east London.

This commitment is as evident now as it ever was, with this month’s lunch of the Tower Hamlets Festival of Communities, a two-week event that will bring the university and local communities together to celebrate ‘Life’, exploring living and learning in Tower Hamlets.

Taking place between Saturday 21 May and Saturday 4 June, the festival will feature a wide range of activities from fun-days to interactive demonstrations, hands-on activities to walking tours and panel debates, which will take place on campus and in the local area.

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 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.

The programme has been developed in partnership between QMUL, Tower Hamlets Council and local community groups including the Stifford Centre, Social Action for Health, The Salvation Army, the Stepney Foundation and Mile End Community Project to showcase the very best of health, science, engineering, humanities and social science projects from QMUL and local organisations and services.

This close collaboration allows the festival to represent a borad range of groups, interests and services across the borough and places QMUL at the heart of a joint venture that we hope will create new relationships and connections across the borough, reinforcing productive collaborations and building strong friendships.

The Festival of Communities website is now live, you can find more information on the festival and the full (but always growing) events listings at, or follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

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.
Sarah Gifford, QMUL Community Engagement Officer

Tower Hamlets Festival of Communities is also supported by Canary Wharf Group Plc.

Written by Daniel Taylor
Assistant Public Engagement Officer 
Centre for Public Engagement



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