Fully-booked event at the 2011 Festival of Ideas

The University of Cambridge’s Festival of Ideas bows out this weekend with a host of family friendly and thought-provoking events.

We have been absolutely delighted by the record-breaking number of people who have attended the Festival of Ideas.

Sophie Smith

The Festival, which celebrates the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, attracted a record attendance of 12,000 people this year, up more than 3,000 on last year.

Most of the 188 events held over 12 days are free and are designed to appeal to all ages.

Many of the debates and talks, which covered topics ranging from the Arab Spring and Internet freedom to the history of intoxication, were fully booked and Family Day on 22 October saw hundreds of children taking part in interactive events such as a workshop with illustrator Nick Sharratt and Prehistory Day, where they got to cook like a caveman and throw spears.

Festival and outreach coordinator Sophie Smith said: “We have been absolutely delighted by the record-breaking number of people who have attended the Festival of Ideas. I was particularly pleased by the number of people who came to the main day of the Festival on Saturday 22 October to see talks by Richard Dawkins, Charlie Higson and Holly Walsh or to take part in circus skills, drawing and dancing workshops.

“The Festival is an incredible opportunity for members of the general public to take part in a huge diversity of events held in unique University and College venues for free.”

This weekend's closing highlights include:

Friday 28 October

Personality expression in everyday life: Dr Jason Rentfrow will discuss findings from his research on how our personalities are expressed in our daily lives, from the music we listen to and the films we watch, to the careers we pursue and the places we live and how impressions of others are formed on the basis of such information. Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, 5:30pm-6:30pm

Saturday 29 October

Children's heraldic workshop : Create a coat of arms for your family with the Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society. Clare College Ante Chapel, 10am-3pm

New Cambridge writers – readings from new works of poetry, prison and drama by new Cambridge writers. Faculty of English, 7pm-9pm.

Sunday 30 October

Transforming gender? Each summer the mass media present the results of GCSEs and A Levels where girls are supposedly out-performing ‘laggard’ boys. But is there really a gender gap and how do ideas of masculinity and femininity affect educational attainment? Find out from the experts. Madingley Hall, 10:30am-11:30am.

This year's Festival of Ideas has been made possible thanks to the generous support of various organisations and companies, including Barclays Corporate, Research Councils UK, Cambridge University Press, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), RAND Europe, the Irwin & Joan Jacobs Foundation and Anglia Ruskin University.

For venue details, maps and more events, go to www.cam.ac.uk/festivalofideas

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