Book now | Staff Festival workshops

Bookings are now open for this year’s packed programme of wonderful Staff Festival workshops!

Ranging from Bollywood dance and Chinese opera masks to beer and cocktail tasting, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.

Many of the workshops feature multiple sessions to ensure as many colleagues as possible get the chance to try their hand at something new.

Staff Festival Project Manager, Jo Westerman, said: “What an amazing line-up of workshops we have on offer this year – there really is something for everyone.

“Many of the sessions are free and, where there is a charge, we’ve done our best to keep this as low we can in the hope as many colleagues as possible will have the chance to try something new. Thank you to all those who offered to host the workshops – it’s greatly appreciated.”

In an attempt to make the process as fair as possible, a number of places will also be available to book on the day. 

This year’s workshops include:

Biodiversity Crowns, St George’s Field, 4-5pm, free (charity donation optional)

Join the Sustainability Service and Seb Stroud, PhD student in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, for a biodiversity crowns workshop. Inspired by the Swedish tradition of midsummer, where floral crowns are lovingly crafted as part of the celebrations, we’re adding a fun twist with a focus on sustainability and biodiversity. This workshop will give you the opportunity to explore St George’s Field, gathering an array of leaves, flowers and other natural elements to craft your very own biodiversity crown. Meet by the Cemetery Chapel on St George’s Field. Book your place on the biodiversity crown workshop.

Speciality beer tasting with Simon Jenkins, Refectory mezzanine, 3-3.45pm, 4-4.45pm and 5-5.45pm, cost £15

University Communications Officer and renowned beer writer, Simon Jenkins, leads a series of beer tastings during the afternoon. At the workshop, you’ll try five different beers, hear about some of the heritage of brewing and learn about the many different styles of beer, both in Britain and around the world. And there will be lots of chances to win beers too! Book your place on the beer tasting workshop.

Cocktail Making, Refectory, 3.15-4.15pm, 4.30-5.30pm and 5.45-6.45pm, cost £20 

Shake, stir, muddle and slurp! Welcome to the Liquor Lab! Packed with drinks, entertainment and light education … we know how to get your party started! You’ll receive a complimentary glass of bubbly to get things started and make three cocktails. A professional mixologist will be on hand to help, whilst engaging with the crowd and explaining the methods of cocktail making. Book your place on the cocktail making workshop.

Bollywood Workshop, Riley Smith Theatre, 5-6pm, free (charity donation optional)

A fun and vibrant workshop open to all levels, ages and abilities sees the Salsa Twins Abi and Rahul teaching a fun Bollywood choreography you can use on the dancefloor at any party! Wear comfortable shoes and clothing and ensure you bring your water with you and a smile on your face! Book your place on the Bollywood workshop.

Poetry Play, Refectory, 3-4pm and 5.30-6.30pm, free (charity donation optional)

Poetry Play is a creative and fun introduction to writing poems. Run by Kate Bevan, the workshop gives a brief overview of poetry in all its fantastical forms, from Shakespeare’s Sonnets to free-form rap and many variations in between! Discover and explore for yourself the possibilities of writing poetry. Book your place on the poetry play workshop.

Sketching, Refectory, 4.15-5.15pm, free (charity donation optional) 

Never drawn before or not for a while? Then why not join this informal workshop run by Kate Bevan, where you can engage in creative ‘mark-making’? With an array of samples to inspire, using simple techniques you’re each encouraged and guided to form an image of your choice during this immersive hour-long session. Book your place on the sketching workshop.      

Terrarium Workshops, Refectory stage area, 3.15-4.45pm and 5.15-6.45pm, cost £20 

Layla Grainger, from York Terrariums, will give an introduction on the history and science of terrariums, information on the plants and tools provided and a quick demonstration before everyone gets stuck in! Materials supplied include glass vessels, placemats, small terrarium plants, pebbles, compost, charcoal, moss and care guides. Book your place on the terrarium workshop.

Aromatherapy for Stress Relief, Refectory, 4.45-5.30pm and 6-6.45pm, free (charity donation optional)

Join Louise Wheatcroft-Miah for an aromatherapy product-making workshop, looking at stress and the uses of essential oils to help relax and soothe the body and mind. Participants will be able to make their own aromatherapy based bath salts to take home. Book your place on the aromatherapy workshop.

Mask Painting and Calligraphy drop-in sessions, free (charity donation optional)

Join the Business Confucius Institute for China-themed fun! Drop in at their station from 3-5pm, where they will have a range of Chinese opera masks for you to browse, play and pose with. You can also get creative and paint your own designs inspired by the masks. Go home with your choice of mask and your very own Chinese name written in calligraphy. Suitable for all ages; no booking required.

Beth Calverley – aka The Poetry Machine – will also be roaming campus composing perfect prose for the people she meets. Her writing delights in the weird and wonderful things we do when trying to belong. She’s worked with the BBC, ITV, Sky and many more media outlets.

Beth travels across the country to places of work, care, learning and play – from hospitals to festivals, weddings to woodlands, high streets to heritage sites, schools to universities, and office blocks to theatres – performing, facilitating and co-creating poetry. The Poetry Machine will create a free typewritten poem in conversation with you. No booking required.

Wonderful wares

A number of stalls have also been booked in for this year’s event, selling a wide range of wonderful wares. These include:

  • ZACROSSO Prints features the amazing artwork of Zac Rossiter. Zac is a Leeds-based illustrator and artist specialising in travel illustration and custom art commissions.
  • Carter & Francis is a craft stall featuring handmade accessories (bags, purses, headbands etc.), home accessories and girls dresses, all made from upcycled, waste or discarded materials.
  • Sugar Well sells luxury handmade artisan soap, bath and shower treats.

Packed programme

Excitement is building for this year’s Staff Festival, with the entertainment extravaganza taking place on 30 June.

All colleagues, family and friends are invited to join us on campus from 3-7pm for what promises to be a hugely entertaining afternoon of activities and attractions.

A packed programme of events is close to being finalised, with dodgems, face painting, glitter tattoo artists and a caricaturist all making a welcome return. Colleagues can also enjoy an inflatable climbing wall, Didicar racing, a 35ft twin-lane bungee run, bouncy castles, skate and snowboard simulators and giant garden games, to name but a few.

Mouth-watering food and drink stalls will be selling tempting tasty treats, ranging from street food and burgers to artisan marshmallows and ice cream.

And don’t forget the amazing live music taking place on the festival stage, with the full line-up to be announced next week.

The festival will take place in and around the Refectory, University Precinct and University Road. Disabled access will be available throughout the site.

See the Staff Festival SharePoint site for further information.

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