Edinburgh has plenty of festivals with “International” in the title, but few where “internationalism” is at the heart of everything the festival does. One such is the Gather Festival, established by the University’s International Office and taking place across campus and beyond in February. We put some questions to Lorna Bruce of the Festival to find out more…
What’s the history of Gather?
Since 2008, the International Office and EUSA have hosted a festival to celebrate the international student community at the University of Edinburgh. Our understanding of the global community on campus evolved, and in 2013 it was time to refresh and rebrand how we celebrated culture. Through workshops and collaboration across the University and student community the vision was developed and the first Gather festival took place in the spring of 2014.
What makes Gather special?
It’s special because it celebrates our diversity on campus and in our communities, broadens experiences and provides a space to share our own stories and passions. The events are independently organised by passionate individuals and groups, with collaborations and crossovers actively encouraged. What’s great is that there is so much enthusiasm and knowledge already out there and Gather provides a platform for it to be shared. We aim to bridge the gap between students, staff, disciplines, campuses, and the city by gathering people in innovative ways for a wider and deeper understanding of different aspects of life at the University of Edinburgh – academia, societies and the arts.
What sort of events can people expect?
There’s a great range of events; we aim to capture a cross-section of cultural interests. Edinburgh Soup (at the Grassmarket Community Project on Thu 25 Feb) will be a top option! There’s also a Highland Games themed-event (thankfully tailored for indoors), a series of free film screenings in the Gather Film Festival, a combined photo exhibition and storytelling workshops, as well as events centred on language, sport, music, food, comedy, dance and more. The full programme will be live on the website in February!
Is it just for students?
Not exclusively. Events are aimed at our campus communities; that could be students, staff, societies, local people. There’s something for everyone!
How can people get involved with Gather?
We’ve actually just closed our volunteer applications – we’re going to have a great team of people helping out in the run-up and during the festival. The Gather team works all year round so if anyone want to get involved (organising team, internships, ambassadors and volunteers) the best way to find out about future opportunities is to join our mailing list.
What would you like people to be saying about it?
We’d love for people to feel like they have the opportunity to do something outside their “normal” sphere – sample something new, discover a passion, create, expand their knowledge and experience and just have fun.
And how are you feeling about it?
We’re looking forward to Gather events kicking off. There’s lots going on behind the scenes right now, it’s all coming together and the excitement is building. We can’t wait for it to happen! It’s time to GATHER!
Follow Gather on Twitter @GatherFestival
Keep an eye out for The Wee Review coverage