On the last weekend in May the University of Aberdeen is usually awash with visitors enjoying one of the region's cultural highlights, May Fest.
Covid-19 restrictions mean that, as with all large gatherings, it can no longer take place but members of the public will still have an opportunity to hear from many of the authors, filmmakers, musicians and researchers who usually fill the auditoriums of the King’s campus.
On Friday May 29, on what would have been the opening day of the Festival, the University of Aberdeen will launch PodFest 2020 – a series of podcasts featuring some of the standout names due to appear at the festival.
These include Chris Young, producer of The Inbetweeners movie who runs an innovative film centre from his home on Skye, Henry McLeish a previous First Minister and former Leeds United and East Fife player, and Jane Alexander author of the 2020 dystopian thriller A User’s Guide to Make-Believe.
The podcasts, which will be released over the course of the week, will also feature royal composer Paul Mealor and poet Grahame Davies who will discuss a new project using music to highlight the need for greater protection of our oceans and a student who has helped drive a campaign to improve access to sanitary products for girls in Zimbabwe.
In addition innovative new research will be highlighted ranging from a look at ‘neologisms’ – new words that enter our vocabulary such as Brexit to Veganuary, to how we can make healthy store cupboard meals with the Rowett Institute, how the north-east’s spectacular coastlines inspire new forms of music and poetry and how NHS Grampian has transformed over its 70 year history to meet the demands of today’s healthcare.
Angela Michael, Head of Public Affairs, Stakeholder Engagement and Events at the University of Aberdeen, said the virtual offering would help to create some of the festival atmosphere usually enjoyed.
“What makes May Fest so special is the variety of our events,” she added. “Our audience tell us that they appreciate being able to hear from musicians, authors, scientists, linguists and even former politicians and sportspeople within one festival.
“We have tried to keep that variety within our PodFest 2020 programme – it offers something for every taste and interest.
“We hope that it will allow people to enjoy a taste of May Fest within their own homes whether they are regular attendees or discovering us for the very first time.”
PodFest 2020 will be launched on Friday May 29 with new podcasts released over the following days. They can be accessed at www.abdn.ac.uk/mayfestival