Shropshire Star

Community gets a glimpse of the future at university festival

Members of the public were invited to have a look at tomorrow's world in Newport at the weekend, when Harper Adams hosted its Future Fest community engagement festival.


Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

The highlight of the event were artist Michael Pinsky’s Pollution Pods installation, which have been seen across the globe, from London to New York and from Melbourne to Madrid but are now in Shropshire for the first time.

In the two weeks preceding Future Fest, a packed schools programme has brought more than 350 children from across the West Midlands to experience the Pods for themselves.

Pollution Pods by Michael Pinsky

Widening participation officer Rachel Brookes said: “The Pods are a simple way of conveying a much larger idea. Each is a geodesic dome, linked to the next, and each contains a micro-environment which replicates the pollution in a particular environment – from the Norwegian fjords to New Delhi.

John McKerrell, seven, Jude, three, and Jacob Moore, six

“They’re proved a real hit with the pupils who have already visited us – and have inspired songs, poems, creative writing, art and much more. We’re hoping to share some of this with our Future Fest visitors – and it is fantastic watching the pupils see the challenges of pollution and sustainability brought to life in such a thought-provoking manner.”

The Pods were opened to the general public during Future Fest on Saturday,. Alongside the pods, stages were filled with entertainment and music, alongside a farmers’ market and street food stalls.

Connor Maughan gives a cooking demo

Elsewhere, the Future Food stage, presented in association with Harper Adams University and University College Birmingham, hosted live cooking demonstrations and expert talks, and there was the chance to experience the Future ED Zone – which was packed with education exhibits tailored for younger festivalgoers.

Connor Maughan gives a cooking demo

In collaboration with LEAF’s Open Farm Sunday, the Harper Adams Future Farm also opened its doors – letting visitors experience its animals, machinery on self-guided tours – as well as a host of games, activities and fun.

Julie Crook-Owen from Edgmond

The event coincided with an open day at the university.

Ralph Quiney-Parkes, 10, with a horse's jawbone

Harper Adams head of student recruitment, Carl Mansell-Griffiths, said: “Future Fest is all about welcoming people onto the Harper Adams campus and letting them see some of the great work we do – while also making sure they have a great day out.

Martin Moyden of Moydens Cheese chats to Ella and Clare Farrell

“As a specialist University, tackling some of the biggest challenges about how we feed our planet’s growing population, while protecting and improving our environment, there is so much to talk about.”