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Campus News

In its seventh year, IdeaFest goes well beyond being a UVic TED Talk

An idea a day keeps the doctor away – drop by one of UVic’s 40 free Ideafest events March 5–10. Photo by Belle White, Photo Editor

Ideafest is UVic’s annual, free, public research festival designed to showcase world-class scholastic research in ways that are fun and accessible. For the festival’s sixth year, over 40 events will be held on campus and in surrounding areas from March 5–10.

In describing the festival, Strategic Research Initiatives Officer and Ideafest coordinator Tara Todesco says, “What excites me about Ideafest is that it really is a creative venture where the campus imagines new ways of talking about their research with the community in mind.”

And UVic students and faculty certainly have been up to some incredible research. With just under half of the events including student research, topics in this year’s events cover the environment, history, reconciliation, mental health, creative writing, music, education, and everything in between.  

Although Ideafest may sound like a UVic-style TED talk, with inspired topics discussed by educated individuals communicating to the general public, Todesco sees the distinction in how accessible and creative the formats are for Ideafest events.

“We really don’t want to have a bunch of single lectures,” Todesco explains. “Those are really awesome and important, don’t get me wrong, but this festival is really trying to move beyond that type of format.”  

Ideafest boasts all kinds of ways of communicating research including performance, panel, discussions, exhibits, and experiential learning.

“Every once in a while you’ll see a single person talking at Ideafest,” says Todesco, but “it’s very rare.”

As well as creative formats and trans-disciplinary events, Todesco points out a noticeable uptick last year in critical conversations held at Ideafest. “[People are] hungry to actually dig in and really converse on (a) subject and have it be coming from scholarship and people who are really looking deeply into those issues.”

If you are hungry for for accessible, serious conversations about scholastic research, go check out some Ideafest events and support local and student-led research. There are so many interesting topics to choose from, but here are a few suggestions:

Islands fed by the sea

Presentation – BWC A104 – Monday, March 5 – 4–5:30 p.m.

Students from UVic and SFU partnered with the Hakai institute to perform biodiversity surveys on 100 islands, testing whether nutrients from the ocean are feeding and influencing the ecology on the small islands that surround the Great Bear Rainforest. This is the only event in Ideafest that is entirely conceived of and presented by students, so definitely check it out!

Express your thesis

Performance – SUB Cinecenta – Tuesday, March 6 – 2:30–4 p.m.

A multidisciplinary talent show! Students will present their thesis in a completely new format, so be ready for comedy, music, spoken word, and dance, all to present ideas on chemistry, math, anthropology, and much more! You can expect to be highly entertained.

Fortune tellers, story tellers and researchers: Can we predict education’s future?

Panel – CLE A127 – Wednesday, March 7 – 6:30–8 p.m.

Feeling frustrated with school? Of course you are! Bring your ideas on how to improve education systems to a dynamic discussion on the future of education that will consider technology, personalized learning, and multiculturalism. Using social media to engage with questions, the panel will address some of education’s most pressing issues as we look towards the future.

Food for thought: People, place, protein, and pronunciation

Presentation – FPH Ceremonial Hall – Thursday, March 8 – 6:30–8:30 p.m.

There will be samples of traditional Indigenous seafood, a presentation on the links between seafood and the Nuu-chah-nuith language, and interactive games to discuss biodiversity and food security! This presentation is an excellent opportunity to have fun and learn all at once.

Fake News, spin, and revolution: 17th-century Britain and the wars of truth

Panel – DTB A104 – Friday, March 9 – 2–4 p.m.

Truth and power are highly contentious issues at the moment, but this can be traced back far into history. The panel examines newsprint culture, propaganda, censorship, and conspiracy theories, come ready to ask questions and discover how issues in history provide context for today.

And that’s not all! There will be many more wonderful events on Saturday, March 10 — including some suitable for kids! Go check out for the full schedule and event summaries.