Exciting, inspiring, symbolic: My take on the FAB (Faculty of Arts Building) Festival!
My primary and secondary school years were always packed with some celebratory event or another. Non Uniform Day, Bad Hair Day, Funky Socks Day, Red Nose Day, World Cup Day…and so on. But something we never celebrated was the commemoration of a building. That’s why at first, when I heard about the FAB fest- a day designed to celebrate the Faculty of Arts Building at Warwick- I was a little sceptical. Aside from resembling Hogwarts, having more stairs than the Eiffel Tower (don’t quote me on this), and a pair of notoriously creaky revolving doors that never fail to make for an embarrassing moment when you get stuck with some strangers, what was so special about this building? However, after attending the event, I can now see the value of the building – the FAB has meant that for the first time at Warwick, all the Arts Departments can be united in one building: and that’s something definitely worth celebrating.
Throughout the day, the activities on offer gave an insight into the vast range of artistic opportunities provided at Warwick. For example, I loved the opportunity to attend one of the Language taster sessions (Japanese) that gave a flavour of the rich variety of languages that are offered to all students and staff by Warwick Language Centre. Even in such a short time I was able to learn how to order food in a restaurant and about the different Japanese writing systems! I also enjoyed taking part in a Ukulele workshop where we had a go at playing some classics such as Riptide and Over the Rainbow, and I love the fact that if I want to take this instrument further, Warwick provides opportunities to learn an instrument from scratch, or to get involved with one of the numerous orchestras and small groups. Moreover, I was thoroughly entertained every time I walked by the AGORA/ Senate House Lawn where Warwick’s various musical societies took turns to perform nonstop showcases, from Music Theatre Warwick to Warwick Comedy, to the Big Band! The music was buzzing, the crowds were cheering, and the atmosphere was fantastic!
Live music by Warwick Big Band, and complementary free scones!
Trying the ukulele!
Aside from performances, on every floor you could find a myriad of stalls and exhibitions. Right at the start I visited the Warwick Engagement stall, where I learnt about the different kinds of engagement projects that the team has come up with, and a bit about an exciting interdisciplinary Public Engagement module available to all undergraduate students in Year 2 and above, which I think I’ll apply for in my final year! There were also Calligraphy, Linocutting and Ceramic workshops which gave a taste of how every Wednesday in the Arts Centre, free craft workshops are held to encourage students to relax and try a new skill. Equally wonderful to see was the packed schedule of film showings in the Cinema room, that represented how every day in Term time, Warwick Cinema society organises showings of classic and new releases alike (often accompanied by free popcorn!). Perhaps one of the most unusual, but very admirable, exhibitions was the Giant Homeless Monopoly game, that was designed in collaboration with a homeless charity and Coventry University, as an innovative way to raise awareness among young people about the problems of homelessness, which is often a taboo subject in schools. Warwick’s commitment to helping the wider society, from volunteering, fundraising, the Widening Participation team (of which I am a part as an Academic Support Mentor), or opportunities to involve the public in research, has always impressed me. I would thoroughly recommend getting involved with any of these opportunities as they are so rewarding for both you and the people you help!
The Giant Homeless Monopoly Game
Although I’m sure that the FAB festival’s schedule could have been filled solely by Warwick’s own students and staff, I can’t forget to mention my enjoyment of the many workshops held by external groups, that demonstrate how Warwick is always using its enviable range of external connections to provide exciting and current opportunities for students. After a lot of persuasion on my part, my friend and I attended the Bridgerton dance workshop held by the series’ own choreographer Heidi Ashton. Despite his initial hesitation, in the end we both had a lot of fun trying out the various Regency dances, learning about curtsy etiquette, and getting told exclusive cinematic gossip, such as when Heidi taught us a dance move which was apparently Daniel Radcliffe’s ‘nemesis’ move, and when she talked about the secret ear wigs worn by the Bridgerton cast as the actual dances are filmed in silence. Later, we perused the Roman cookery workshop, and were brave enough to try some of the dubious creations such as Melon with Fish Sauce, and sweet Athenian cabbage! While it’s safe to say I’m not going to be adding any Roman recipes to my weekly meal plan (I would be concerned if Tesco even sells lamb brains, to be honest), I know that I’d never have got the chance to learn about these foods had it not been for this workshop. There was even an Aerial Hoop workshop run by the Earlsdon Aerial school Rebel Manifesto Aerial: while I didn’t have the confidence to get up in the air myself, it was still incredible to watch the professionals!
Dancing like Daphne!
Experimenting with Roman cuisine!
The Amazing Aerial performers!
The last activity I’d like to mention is the Pop-Up Escape Room. Over the years, I’ve attended quite a few Escape Rooms and one aspect they all had in common was a scary theme- whether this was in the form of zombies, ghosts, or a murder mystery – so when I heard about the theme of this escape room (a world without arts) I was wondering how this could possibly be a scary experience! However, after how much I’ve enjoyed and learnt in just one day at this Arts festival, I now definitely see why a ‘world without arts’ would be a frightening prospect!
The FAB fest has made me realise how interesting and unique each of the Arts at Warwick are. The opening ceremony speech was concluded with the words ‘Let legendary begin’, but the truth is, legendary events in the domain of Arts at Warwick are already happening, and this festival has been the perfect occasion to make everyone see this! Far from just being a host of lecture and seminar rooms, the FAB is a symbol of the diversity of opportunities, both academic and extra curricular, that a degree at Warwick has to offer. It’s a symbol of resistance against the lack of funds and scorn that is often prejudicially, and totally unfairly, attributed to degrees in the Arts. It’s a symbol of creativity, passion, excitement, and talent. And a building that symbolises all that: now that certainly deserves its own festival!😊
Thanks for reading: feel free to comment below or you can message me!
Such a great writer, I loved this review!
Thank you so much!😊